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Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot explores the world of neuro-enhancing drugs.


Margaret Talbot
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Comments [38]

Zorkulon from Manhattan

Kristina's roomate sounds a lot more fun than her

Apr. 23 2009 02:31 PM
Leon Freilich from Park Slope


He was born on April 23rd

And died on April 23rd,

A balance very nearly absurd

Both In number and in word.

Apr. 23 2009 02:12 PM
SG from NYC

Is there any evidence, scientific or empirical as to whether these drugs could be helpful for senior citizens who are experiencing normal decline in concentration and memory?

Apr. 23 2009 11:43 AM
Jeff from Brooklyn

People, please do your own research and consult with your physician to have your questions answered. The above comments I'm reading are far above and beyond the topic this article and it's author discusses -- she is attempting to posit future concerns along with anecdotal evidence regarding her subjective experience with stimulant usage -- poor journalim to be sure, but you get what you pay for these days.

I have used adderall and ritalin as well as street stimulants and have felt all have had a similar effect, with the exception that Ritalin and the street drugs had a more mood-altering effect that for me was very undesireable.

The mental acuity ascribed to stimulants is dreived from the increased blood pressure and faster heart rate, which mimics an adrenal reaction. This allows a patient with diagnosed ADHD to physically be able to limit the thousands of thoughts cycling though the brain in order to focus on the key tasks at hand, a physiological ability those without ADHD possess naturally.

Apr. 23 2009 11:34 AM

This entire conversation is short-changing a very serious subject. Adderall is an amphetemine. Let's call this drug what it is -- it's speed. It may give you increased focus, but it also levels out your emotions, just as one caller stated. Doctors are too eager to prescribe these drugs -- whether for so-called ADD or just at the pleasure of their clients (and they are clients, not patients when they are getting the drug just because they can). The guest on WNYC treated this subject in far too casual a way, and I'm sure -- just like those prescribing physicians -- she has her reasons for doing so.

Apr. 23 2009 11:30 AM
Kristina from Brooklyn

I was at Pratt from 2001-2005 and my heavily medicated roomate used to sell her aderall to my fellow classmates in the Interiors Studio. This has been going on for years in the architecture schools. I have seen disasterous side effects when people have combined energy drinks and aderall. Paranoia, heart palpatations. These people go out and party and then go to studio and pop some pills and stay up for 3 or 4 days to get their work done. It's just one more product of our over-medicated youth.

Apr. 23 2009 11:27 AM
Jennifer from NYC

Makes me want to try them... I could definitely use a little extra smart!

Apr. 23 2009 11:26 AM
Chris from New York

Great show. I've heard a lot about this topic from classmates but never heard a "legit" discussion about it.

Apr. 23 2009 11:25 AM
Kristina from Brooklyn

This is Kristina from Brooklyn. I was at Pratt from 2001-2005 and my heavily medicated roomate used to sell her aderall to my fellow classmates in the Interiors Studio. This has been going on for years in the architecture schools. I have seen disasterous side effects when people have combined energy drinks and aderall. Paranoia, heart palpatations. These people go out and party and then go to studio and pop some pills and stay up for 3 or 4 days to get their work done. It's just one more product of our over-medicated youth.

Apr. 23 2009 11:25 AM
A. S. from Brooklyn

This is substance abuse, and very disturbing. In our universities and some workplaces people are worked practically to death. Now rather than being able to let their bodies rest they feel they have to take drugs (possibly more than one) just to keep up. It's not a mental edge. It's ignoring your body when it's trying to tell you to take it easy. It's just not right. We need to give ourselves a break.

Apr. 23 2009 11:23 AM
anon from manhattan

I've taken Focalin, Concerta, Adddrall and Dexatrine....all the same class of drug. Two drawbacks I can speak of - If you're anxiety prone, these drugs can trigger this aggitation...on a more abstract level - they can undercut your self confidence.

Apr. 23 2009 11:22 AM
Allan from Point Pleasant

Are these drugs being tested with Alzheimers patients?

Apr. 23 2009 11:19 AM
Laurie Friedman from long island

My son takes Concerta for diagnosed ADHD. It works great for him, but soon after he began taking it I took one pill to see what it felt like. The result was one of the most tremendous headaches I've ever experienced. I couldn't wait for the effect to wear off. My son also, accidentally took double his dose one day and felt very sick. I'd warn anyone without ADHD considering taking this for benefit, that it may not be beneficial!

Apr. 23 2009 11:18 AM
Chris from New York

**Is is possible to fake ADD to get Adderall or Ritalin?***

Seriously, does ADD "really" exist? Come on! With all the applications to grad school I too NEED an edge on admission exams! I wish I knew about this while in college.

Apr. 23 2009 11:18 AM
Tyler from Brooklyn

I used Provigil for a couple of days to get through a long, tough period during my graduate studies. It indeed did assist me in staying awake for a couple of days, but I definitely wouldn't recommend long-term usage as during the latter days a certain, strange psychosis developed and then the crash...

Apr. 23 2009 11:17 AM
RJ from queens

I work 20 hours a week, and am enrolled in a Ph.D. program at CUNY. I get some adderall from a family member, and if I didn't use it (3-4 times a month) I do not think I could continue as such.

Apr. 23 2009 11:17 AM
Lauren from Westchester

I took Adderall beginning this semester. I'm a college student in my senior year and for the first time 'recreationally'. I'm working a part time internship and have been working on putting out a senior project in some kind of timely fashion, and Adderall made my senior project possible. I feel guilty about the fact that I needed that kind of energy just to survive, but I wouldn't have made it through without my roommate's prescription.

Apr. 23 2009 11:17 AM
daniel from nj

I was on ritalin for years and although the initial benefits were obvious, over the years it became a hinderance and counter productive and obsessive to the point I couldn't focus on any one thing at a given time

Apr. 23 2009 11:16 AM
sam from NYC

This is irresponsible reporting. This is the kind of reporting that popularizes misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. BTW, this was covered by NPR in an article about 2-3 weeks ago.

Apr. 23 2009 11:16 AM
courtney from brooklyn

I occasionally use Adderall, and I do use it for economic reasons. I make a (meager) living as a freelance writer, and as I told my doctor, I'm unable to concentrate and therefore unable to complete these assignments -- thus jeopardizing my livelihood.

Also, because it kills my appetite, I save money on food. I'm only half-kidding about that.

Apr. 23 2009 11:15 AM
Frank from Prospect Heights

I took these drugs in very select instances to get through the production phases of projects in architecture school where 60-70 hours of continuous work were required in order to finish on time. I used it basically to pick up where coffee just wasn't enough. Like this study suggests, I got these drugs through friends that had them prescribed for the associated disorders.

Apr. 23 2009 11:15 AM
amy from bergen county

This is just not news to me. I am in my 50s and when I was in school everyone was taking speed for exams and projects. It's been going on for years..........

Apr. 23 2009 11:15 AM
Gavin from Long Valley, NJ

Don't these drugs alter the body's metabolism? If there is a ready external source of some stimulant, won't the body scale back its production? In effect the body builds a dependency and once the user ceases use, won't he/she be in worse shape mthan before?

Apr. 23 2009 11:15 AM
JC from W 14th St

It never enhanced my performance, in fact my performance just kept me awake for days at a time. Wouldnt have graduated without the adderall bender to get through finals

Apr. 23 2009 11:15 AM
Dave from Brooklyn

Do students using these drugs actually perform better?

I'm sure they are more awake but are the more aware?

I would suggest using 5 Hour Energy instead of prescription drugs. Its mostly B12 and it really does what it advertises. I've used ritalin as described by Margaret and it kept me awake but didn't help me work better.

Apr. 23 2009 11:14 AM
mhari from manhattan

I've been on adderol by perscription, I recently lost my health insurance -- but the generic form is running only $10 a month. Is class really a consideration?

Apr. 23 2009 11:14 AM
amy from bergen county

This just isn't news to me. I am in my 50s and when I was in school, everyone was taking speed for exams and projects. It's been going on for years.........

Apr. 23 2009 11:14 AM
Tracy from NYC

Are there safer herbal supplements that are equally effective?

Apr. 23 2009 11:13 AM
Sam from Vermont

The fact of the matter is, these drugs will not make anyone more intelligent than they already are. Their main effect is to provide energy and/or motivation to the person who takes them. In other words, a dim student will only be more motivated to write an uninspired paper.

Apr. 23 2009 11:13 AM
Steven Mark from Manhattan UES

Colegekids have been taking these drrugs for decades. It's called black coffee.

Apr. 23 2009 11:13 AM
Fred Bear from Brooklyn

I went to college in the late 70's and it was hardly unusual to find one of my class mates taking speed to help with concentration and studying. Where is the news with this story? That doctors are prescribing?

Apr. 23 2009 11:13 AM
Edward from NJ

I think I may need these drugs. I can't focus on work because I keep hearing a voice telling me to go to, click on "Brian Lehrer Show" and post.

Apr. 23 2009 11:12 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

I must say that from past experience, if you do not have already have a problem focusing, these drugs really increase your concentration powers.

My question: Have there been studies on the long-term negative health effects of these drugs.

Apr. 23 2009 11:11 AM

I can tell you from personal experience that Ritalin doesn't make you any sharper or smarter, and that in some ways it will have a negative effect on performanmce. it will give you energy and can help with concetration- but you are more likely to make mistakes and it can also affect short term memory. adderral is much stronger and can make you feel very, very high.

Apr. 23 2009 11:10 AM
bk from nyc

as someone who has been taking ritalin for a year & a half I find this discussion upsetting. I am over 50 & do not have ADHD. I take if for FDA approved use for extreme sleepiness due to other necessary medications. ritalin has saved my life. if it is considered an "upper" & focus enhancer by many, for me it it simply allows me to function. it keeps me from easily slipping into depression & allows me to get my work done.

as for people taking is as an "upper" - how is it any different than speed? when I was in school, everyone took speed.

Apr. 23 2009 11:08 AM
Allen from Troy

Stimulants to keep you alert to work better...
... like coffee?
(More broadly - where do we draw the line between what is allowed and what isn't?)

Apr. 23 2009 11:08 AM
Nicole from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I went to a prestigious NE liberal arts school and it was and for many of my classmates taking 'study drugs' as they were called was common practice. I equated doing the drugs to study better with cheating.

I had a friend who put it best when he said: if I do drugs, it won't be to study.

Apr. 23 2009 11:05 AM
JT from Long Island

Obviously this is only available to those that can pay for the drugs out of pocket or have good health insurance. If this becomes more mainstream how will these drugs affect the gap between rich and poor?

I also wonder if people will group this with other performance enhancing drugs and consider it cheating.

Apr. 23 2009 11:00 AM

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