One Saturday morning, just two days before spring finals week, Susan, a Western senior, began her morning routine. She took a quick shower, put on her makeup, ate a bowl of Lucky Charms and then took her medication. As she reached for her Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) pills, she realized she had only two pills left. Two weeks had passed since Susan last had her monthly Adderall prescription filled. However, her doctor in Tacoma had no problem satisfying her request two weeks early.
Susan's need for an early prescription that morning wasn't due to her overusing her medication, and the pills weren't spilled or lost in the cushions of her couch. Susan illegally sells her Adderall and Ritalin pills to Western students for studying and recreational purposes.
With the exception of a $10 co-pay, her medical insurance pays for the pills, which she sells for a near 100 percent profit.
She charges $2 per Ritalin pill, $5 for one Adderall pill and $10 for three Adderall to her friends. She said one Adderall is comparable to four Ritalin. Susan has sold Ritalin and Adderall for two years to more than 20 different customers, most of whom are Western students. She said she has six "regulars" who generate $60 to $150 in revenue, depending on the time of the school year. During midterms and finals, demand increases because studying and lack of sleep become more intense. During these times, she raises the Adderall price to $10 a pill.
So what are these drugs that students are so eager to get their hands on? Why are they such a big deal and why are people willing to pay so much money for them? To truly understand the power of drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, etc. one needs to understand the...