Parents! Your Teen May Be Using Drugs To Qualify For An Elite Party School

  Hopped Up On Goofballs!

Is YOUR teen getting enough paranoid media scrutiny?

Another in an apparently never-ending series of special guest bloogs from DoktorZoom.

Hey, Mommy-Blog readers! Just when you thought you’d gotten over that Mother’s Day story about child psychopaths, New York Times reporter Alan Schwarz brings us a new thing for parents to be worried about: drug-addled teenagers! But these are not the hop-headed angel-dusting teenagers of old ABC Afterschool Specials, getting “wasted” on “Alley Juice,” “Mary Jane,” “Special K,” “Donkey Dust,” “Meow-Meow,” “Peruvian Nose Candy,” or “Zumba.” No, the new threat to health and home is posed by high-achieving high-schoolers abusing stimulants intended for treating ADHD, not to get high, but to give them an edge in their academic pursuits:

At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents and doctors. Pills that have been a staple in some college and graduate school circles are going from rare to routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.

But in their zeal to get a head start in the academic rat race, these teens risk running afoul of drug laws, ruining their health, becoming addicted to harder drugs, and maybe even gaining admission to a highly selective university, where they may also read books and be turned against Jesus!

From its catchy, alliterative title — “Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill” — to its ominous closing paragraph about a sophomore at a tony private school musing “I promised myself I wouldn’t take it, but that can easily, easily change. I can be convinced,” this article is a classic of the Youth Panic genre. Young people are Up To Something Bad! And not just any young people — GOOD kids from GOOD homes, attending GOOD schools and getting GOOD grades — in fact, the more of these drugs they do, the better their grades may get! Parents are clueless — or worse, complicit! The integrity of the educational system is being undermined — one student even says, “These are academic steroids. But usually, parents don’t get the steroids for you.” And the authorities have no idea: a girl tells her teacher that she needs a drink of water, goes into the hallway, and pops a “40-milligram Vyvanse capsule”; a superintendent blandly says “We haven’t had word that it’s a widespread issue.” Worse, much worse, the representatives of Big Pharma seem to be in willful denial:

A spokesman for Shire, which manufactures Vyvanse and Adderall’s extended-release capsules, said studies had shown no link between prescribed use of those drugs and later abuse.

Dr. Jeff Jonas, Shire’s senior vice president for research and development, said that the company was greatly concerned about the misuse of its stimulants but that the rate was very small. “I’m not aware of any systematic data that suggests there’s a widespread problem,” he said. “You can always find people who testify that it happens.”

But we know better, because Schwarz peppers the article with the testimony of teenaged drug dealers, who sell their classmates a panoply of pills, obtained by faking ADHD symptoms at doctors’ offices:

“I tell the doctor, ‘I find myself very distracted, and I feel this really deep pain inside, like I’m anxious all the time,’ or something like that.”

He coughed out a chuckle and added proudly, “Generally, if you keep playing the angsty-teen role, you’ll get something good.”

Oh, for the good old days of Rebel Without a Cause, when you could tell that teens were getting into trouble when they started using slang and method acting! Back then, teen angst was a reliable cry for help, not just a cynical ploy to obtain the drugs that will open the gates of a good college!

There’s something deliciously insidious about a story like this. To be fair, which we occasionally do here, Schwarz has done some fairly solid reporting, and there’s every reason to accept that there actually are kids who are abusing stimulants for the sake of boosting their academic performance. How widespread is it? Who knows? The lack of solid data on the scope of the problem leaves us free to assume the worst! Not only does a story like this play out the fine old theme of good kids gone wrong, it also combines classic worries over drug use with the fear that parents and schools have unreasonably high expectations for academic achievement. We’re pushing the poor kids so hard that they’re mainlining amphetamines like long-haul truckers! There’s undoubtedly a Lifetime Original Movie in this, and maybe just enough of a culture-war angle for FoxNews or The Blaze to scry yet another portent of the downfall of America: elitist yuppies’ kids are all strung out on speed, and the halls of academe are full of people who don’t belong there, because drugs.

The money quote in this speedball of parental anxiety comes near the end of the piece: After a kitchen-table discussion with her ninth-grader about how easily he could get stimulants if he wanted to — and his assurances that he’s doing fine in school without them — a mother sighs,

“As a parent you worry about driving, you worry about drinking, you worry about all kinds of health and mental issues, social issues,” she said. “Now I have to worry about this, too? Really?”

Yes, modern parents of today’s modern America! You have to worry more about everything!

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173 comments

  1. nounverb911

    I guess working hard and blowing the admissions dean isn't enough to get into a good school now.

    1. elviouslyqueer

      Perhaps. But I'm sure that blowing coke off an admission dean's dick is still perfectly acceptable practice.

    1. BarackMyWorld

      I can't look at the word "baby" now without thinking of Justin Bieber. Thanks, Wonkette.

    1. OzoneTom

      I saw it on "Saved by the Bell" — Jessie was sooo strung-out on No-Doz that she totally melted down.

  2. BoatOfVelociraptors

    Oh no, save me from academic excellence via chemistry! One those academic subjects.

  3. prommie

    I can tell you that this sounds very very fishy to me; 99% of kids would NEVER waste their adderall on studying, the right way to do it is to crush up and snort your adderall on the weekends. And stay away from the extended relief crap, that stuff sucks, you can't do anything to give it that "oomph" you want.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      If I'm not mistaken, this drug is used to help the user get focused, am I right?
      What I'm having trouble with is, if so many kids/teenagers these days are medicated for the day-to-day purpose of staying focused during classroom instruction, then how do they 'learn' to stay focused while unsupervised during afternoon/ evening time when you're finishing the assigned article and completing the 10-point question sheet ("In YOUR OWN WORDS please answer…") and checking your work on those pre-Calculus problems and developing the outline for whatever term paper? How do kids stay focused when the teacher feedback, via email most likely nowadays, to the parent is "Child arrives to school unprepared." Parent to kid: "Do whatever it takes. Get a study buddy, sure." Kid seeks out 'study partner' and groups ensue.

      This is a more likely context for me to imagine teens taking this stuff, under "to get work done" auspices; less easy to imagine them actually getting anything done under its influence.

      1. prommie

        Huh? Plain and simple, adderal is methamphetamine, one molecule off or so, and besides being the best diet aid on earth, it gives you a pleasant euphoric buzz, kinda like how pot can make you stare at your fingernail with rapt interest for an hour, and thats exactly how adderal focuses you, you can stare at your homework for an hour, in the same fashion. Or, your work, as the case may be. Consult with Doctor Doug Stanhope for an in-depth explanation of such drugs, as he explains, there is nothing wrong with a person for needing such things to get through the kind of days we have to live through, in our jobs, because its only natural, if you are mildly intelligent, to be bored to tears and miserable at the pointlessness of most jobs. In other words, there's not likely anything wrong with you if you need drugs to get through your days, rather its much more likely there is something badly wrong with your days.

        1. SoBeach

          "…adderal is methamphetamine…"

          I have this, um, friend who took vyvanse for a few months last year. He kicked butt at work, made a bunch of extra money with a side job, found time for the gym every day, and lost 25 lbs.

          These drugs are even more popular with some of the well-to-do, 40ish women I know. And why not? Instead of packing on weight and slowing down they get the metabolism they had in their 20s. Best of all they're legal and they don't rot your teeth out. Talk about mother's little helper.

  4. Shypixel

    How I long for the days when teens just used drugs to get high…

    That's why I use them.
    Maybe I'm just old fashioned….

    1. prommie

      Probably one of the most wholesome reason to do drugs, just for the sheer hedonic pleasure of them. Cause you love to be buzzing.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        Why would kids need school? It's taking away from their valuable time in our factories.

  5. anniegetyerfun

    I guess I can always rest assured that my children will end up being the exact same kind of slackers that their parents are. When we take drugs, we don't do it for work, dammit.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        Dude, I am so sorry I missed you on Saturday. We had to take out a rental car in order to get to Detroit, and if we didn't get that thing back by 11:00 they were going to charge us for another 12 hours. I thought my buddy was just paranoid wanting to leave at 9:20, but just as we were trying to get out of Detroit they shut down all the on-ramps to I-64 so we had to bypass through half the city to try and get out. We made it back to the lot with literally ten minutes to spare (the ONLY way we made it is that my bud is a native Detroiter and drives like a fucking maniac — he was pissed as hell that the rental car had a block that "only" let us go up to 90 mph).

        The next time you swing by Ann Arbor, reply to one of my old comments to let me know and I'll make up for that drink I missed.

        1. vodkamuppet

          Wow, we actually missed eachother by maybe 5 minutes. That sucks. I don't leave the city much but if I do I will definately hit you up.

      1. anniegetyerfun

        Oh, not yet. But I can be 100% confident that they won't have the kind of adult role models that would lead them into a life of drug-addled over-achievement.

        1. MittBorg

          I celebrate your children already, real or imagined. We need more RealHumans(tm) and TroubleMakers(tm), and fewer Bots (no offense, Soros!).

  6. anniegetyerfun

    I had this conversation with my sister the other day.

    Sis: My friend is freaking out because she just heard about something called Rainbow Parties. She has a teenage girl, and-
    Me: Rainbow Parties. Non-existent.
    Sis: What? Do you know what they are?
    Me: No, but if a parent is freaking out because they "just heard" about something that their teenagers might be doing, it either came from an email, Oprah, or the evening news, and is thus 100% fake.

    ETA: Does anyone remember the episode of The Sopranos where Tony's daughter (Bristol? Meadow? Willow?) talks Christopher into selling her some speed so that she and her friend can cram for a final? I kept waiting for that to turn into a teachable moment/bloodbath, but they just took the speed, studied, and it was never mentioned again. Like probably 90% of drug use among the youths.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Now I had to go look up Rainbow Party. As if.

      Meadow. Yeah, nothing happened, but Chris's sphincter was pretty tightly clenched.

    2. MittBorg

      In the days before speed was widely available, we, your venerable elders, took caffeine pills by the bottleful. Why we didn't just go into heart spasms is beyond me, but we popped that shit like candy and stayed up all night for DAYS cramming for exams.

      1. anniegetyerfun

        We used to take these weird vitamin/caffeine packs in high school and college. They had a weird effect – like pot, but with more energy (same amount of giggling). Mind you, I was actually a total goody-goody and didn't even have the guts to take my first toke until I was well into my junior year in college.

        1. MittBorg

          When I was a yoof, you had to leave the country to buy speed. It wasn't a big deal, you didn't need a prescription, and the cops didn't give a shit, customs hardly checked your bags — but most of us didn't have that kind of money. And we were Good Kids too, so we didn't know where to buy drugs or anything.

          But you could buy bottles of caffeine tablets at any pharmacist's, for very little money, and they gave you an incredible buzz and you'd be up for days whizzing around at high speed. (Better than the REAL speed, which totally rots your teeth.) Much later, I discovered marijuana, and the joys of defying authority.

          1. anniegetyerfun

            I wish that marijuana were useful to me. All it does is make me pass out. MUCH faster than booze, but still, not worth the money when I can just pop a couple of Tylenol PM for roughly the same experience.

          2. MittBorg

            It's been shown to be remarkably effective against PTSD and physical pain, both of which appear to be on my list of Ailments.

          3. Fare la Volpe

            Burly bear used to get the PTSD nightmares (remember he was in the Navy) until he started smoking a bowl every night after work. Personally I can't stand the stuff, but it works wonders for him so I couldn't be happier.

          4. anniegetyerfun

            Oh, I would never begrudge it to anyone else! I'm sure I'll be baking brownies stuffed with it when I hit 65 and can fianlly relax… oh, wait, the new retirement age is 80, is it not?

          5. MittBorg

            Yes, but you'll be dead by then, so no need to worry about retirement, pensions, health care … all those inconvenient little things.

          6. Butch_Wagstaff

            My half brother has Bipolar I Disorder & uses weed get through his manic episodes. He swears by it.

          7. MittBorg

            Interesting. I haven't read of any research showing effectiveness for non-anxiety disorders, but I should probably look. God knows I have enough friends who could benefit by it.

      2. Wile E. Quixote

        I used to dissolve Sudafed in Diet Coke. I got through a lot of long NG drill weekends and field exercises with a bottle of Sudafed in my CVC bag.

        1. MittBorg

          Somebody told me you could get high off that. I'm a total fucking lightweight, I have bizarre reactions to drugs which is why I stay away from most of them. Most painkillers, for example, just make me heave my insides out but do nothing for the pain. You can't get sudafed any more, can you? They took it off the market because drug abuse?

          1. sullivanst

            You can get it just fine, but you have to show your license and you can't buy more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine in a day or 7.5 grams in 30 days. Sudafed's 30mg per tablet, so that's 120 tabs a day or 250 a month. Seems like that's probably plenty for cramming purposes as long as you don't plan a weeks-long binge.

            My wife has chronic congestion issues and phenylephrine does nothing for her, so we're frequent customers.

          2. MittBorg

            Thanks for the info, sullivanst. Sudafed worked wonders on my congestion, and whatever I'm taking now sucks ass, but I'm not sure I'm suffering enough to consider the alternative. What a godforsaken rigmarole!

          3. Wile E. Quixote

            The reasons for the restrictions on pseudoephedrine is that it can be used to synthesize methamphetamine by one of the processes that's easy enough for Rand Paul supporters to learn.

          4. MittBorg

            I can't imagine why anyone would want to take meth, but then again — it does nothing for me. I understand it is highly addictive, at least for some people.

            Are you a chemist, Wile E.?

          5. Wile E. Quixote

            No, I just watch Breaking Bad and spend too much time reading Wikipedia. Seriously, I have kept myself entertained for hours by doing nothing more than reading article after article after article after article on Wikipedia. I'll start off by looking up an article on VLANs and six hours later at 1am I find myself somehow reading about the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and thinking. "How the fuck did I get here? I really need to go to bed." If people ask I usually tell them that I'm surfing porn, it's way less geeky.

          6. MittBorg

            Are you sure we're not twins separated at birth? Because that's what I do (when I'm not doing other stuff). Compulsive reading. I like to think of it as taking the top off the skull and dumping a heap of new facts in for processing and seeing if I can spot any linkies. Let me know if you find yourself turning elderly or brown, there might be something to my theory.

  7. prommie

    But what about the jenkem? Won't somebody think of the children, all doing jenkem and having rainbow parties and playing the pass-out game and drinking Zima and fucking in tents?

    1. swordfis

      Alert! – Those Wonkette authors and commenters who use the term "'Merkin" are advised that a "merkin" is also a vaginal wig. But you probably know that already. Carry on.

          1. sullivanst

            Never tried eyeballing it, but snorting it sure as hell stung.

            I believe that was the occasion when I ended up thanking my friend Phil for getting me home, only to discover that he was too wasted to help anyone else and it was a couple of his friends got me back to my room.

  8. Baconzgood

    Back when I was a kid we took 12 mini-thins and felt our hair grow for fun. Either that or acid.

      1. Baconzgood

        They grow in cow shit here. You gotta get up early though. The deer eat them first.

          1. Fare la Volpe

            In Sweden the moose get drunk off fermented apples and go get stuck in trees. This happens all. the. time.

          2. MittBorg

            Jesus! I don't think I'd care to be walking along among the trees all happy and casual-like only to see a moose stuck in one! No wonder they need those fucking moose-proof Volvo TANKS.

            The deer sometimes nap on our stairs. Friends will come to visit and find themselves startling some dumb beast that then takes off leaping up the hill, scaring the shit out of everyone. I can't imagine running into a MOOSE on the stairs, though. That would be a bit much.

  9. elburritodeluxe

    I'd agree with you that is hype and hysteria, except that I'd love to try these pills!

    1. prommie

      Go tell your doctor you can't concentrate and you can't get work done at work and you has the anxiety. They'll give it to you. Its cheaper and easier in the end than illegal drugs!

  10. Antispandex

    No child left behind! Free weed to anyone who needs to come down! Stay away from the purple acid! ( seriously dude, just to get into a school you have to endenture yourself to a bank over? America…we're # 1 !!! )

  11. BaldarTFlagass

    I don't understand the taking of stimulants to help study. Three white crosses and I was stuck off playing pinball for the next 8 hours, and fuck studying.

    1. OkieDokieDog

      My weirdest experience with white crosses was spending the night washing the ceiling.

  12. Hera Sent Me

    Some Chinese schools use stimulant-laced IV drips to help their students cram for college entrance exams. Our kids have to lie to doctors or go to street dealers to get their drugs.

    No wonder we're falling behind.

      1. Lionel[redacted]Esq

        Electrical banana
        Is gonna be a sudden craze
        Electrical banana
        Is bound to be the very next phase

        They call it mellow yellow
        (Quite rightly)
        They call me mellow yellow
        (Quite rightly)
        They call me mellow yellow

  13. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    I wonder how bummed all these kids will be that they blew all their money on drugs to help them study when they end up working at McDonald's or Old Navy in our new service economy.

  14. Goonemeritus

    Back in engineering school you could always tell when finals were approaching because the chemical engineering students would step up their production of products from the noble phenethylamine class.

    1. MittBorg

      See, and here's these reporters clutching their pearls and fainting couches and acting like their kids/grandkids invented uppers at finals.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        "We never took drugs when we were young! Okay, we took drugs, but not these drugs!"

  15. weejee

    Those things are simply time-released dexedrine, the original carbon au go go, but being consumed by tighty-whitie merit scholars as designer meds.

    Nothing to see here, everybody to get from street.

    1. Warwhatgoodfor

      "Emergency, Emergency! Everybody to get from street"! Another disciple of useless trivia who remembers one of the funniest, totally unknown movies of the 60's. "The Russians ars Coming, the Russians are Coming"! So do other, fairly normal people fringe when you come up with another worthless zinger? Oh, yeah.

  16. MadBrahms

    One of the selling points for Vyvanse is that it's a prodrug, which makes it harder to straight-up snort / inject into your eyeballs. Not that you shouldn't try, kids! I hear if you suspend it in vodka, it gets absorbed faster!

  17. HarryButtle

    This will help them in their future careers in the fast food industry. They'll already be addicted to meth, so they're sure to get promoted to assistant night manager in no time!

  18. CrunchyKnee

    See libtrads, the free market DOES work just fine!

    Profits to our drug company overlords.
    Profits to our shitty university system.
    Profits to our congressional overlords.

  19. Come here a minute

    "These are academic steroids. But usually, parents don’t get the steroids for you."

    This kid doesn't hang around with the football team.

      1. sullivanst

        Although it doesn't matter much what grades you got in sophomore year if you had to drop out as a junior to raise junior.

  20. mavenmaven

    Much like how Luftwaffe pilots were given Pervitin (meth) to get through bombing raids.

    1. sullivanst

      Well, Desoxyn = meth, literally, and is FDA approved for ADHD, so, very much like that.

  21. wonkettkinkster

    My parents were worried about stimulant abuse BEFORE the Times article. :smughipster:

  22. vodkamuppet

    What ever happened to good old fashioned cheating? Wasting good drugs to get good grades, kids these days are doing it completely fucking wrong.

  23. Tommmcattt

    I took my little cousin to Disneyland about 5 years ago (he was nine), and after getting off "California Screamin" I noticed something odd about his affect, and when I looked at his face…well, let's just say his eyes were indistinquishable from the eyes of my compatriots at the White Party back in 2000, which is to say, janked out as hell. He's been on the stuff for years, but the quarter-sized pupils freaked me out.

    The difference, of course, is that all those queens chose to take the estacy and tina. My little cousin is taking a close relative of those, and he never got to choose.

    By the way, anybody who tells you that prescription drug use as a child has no effect on drug use as an adult is bullshitting you. There have been a couple of studies linking Ritalin use to cocaine addiction as an adult. Our bought-and-paid for Congress just doesn't have incentive to investigate it. After all, children don't contribute to super-PACs, do they?

    1. MittBorg

      Hell, of course if you learn to pop a pill to feel better, you'll never learn to fix the things in your life that make you feel not-better! I swear to god it is to despair at all the pill-poppery that goes on in this culture.

    2. sullivanst

      It's a classic Catch-22, in the absence of a Congressionally-sponsored study showing evidence of a link, Congress will not sponsor a study to see whether there's evidence of a link.

  24. savethispatient

    Lets stop parents worrying about teen drinking: lower the drinking age. Then they'll be the bartenders' problem!

  25. BlueStateLibel

    No problem, once they graduate from their elite universities they can go to Wall Street and relax with some hookers and coke.

  26. WhatTheHeck

    So whatever happened to kids just hacking into the college admissions database and admitting themselves into a fine college?

  27. Blueb4sunrise

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    wha?

  28. GeorgiaBurning

    I'm quite happy to have gone through childhood with my raging ADHD fully intact and productive, and later being able to try recreational chemicals of my own choosing. Kids today don't know how good we had it.

  29. GortRay

    Let's see if any of these Adderall aces can come up with the "Are You Experienced?" of their generation.

  30. Chichikovovich

    Tell me more about these pills. Do they have a kind that will get a 15-year-old to be able to factor quadratic equations? And remember the addition theorem for sine?

  31. Beowoof

    Having gone to college in the early to middle 70's when you still had to read books and shit, I can remember a few kids who took Black Beautys the last week of the semester to be able to finish. And this was a conservative catholic school with lots white kids from good homes.(Please hear the snarky inflection my tone there).

  32. TootsStansbury

    My stoned friend used ro get high and study and then get high again before the test. Worked like a charm.

  33. Lazy Media

    Where were these drugs when I was flunking out of engineering school in the '80s? Fuckin' kids these days are coddled. When we had ADD back in the day, we took a beating from a teacher with a paddle and LIKED it.

  34. randcoolcatdaddy

    Piece of advice.

    If you work in one of those elite party schools, go into the library early in the morning during final exams. Look around the floor or on study tables. You'll find plenty of those pills just lying around where the hoped up teens have been popping them all night.

    Damn kids and their drugs and hippity hoppity music. In my day, we just drank laudanum during finals.

  35. TanzbodenKoenig

    Adderall is fine. The problem is kids are retards and take like 100x too much. I used to get one to cram in school for like ten bucks, and I could break it up into quarters and last through all of exam week on like 2 hours of sleep.

  36. imissopus

    “I tell the doctor, ‘I find myself very distracted, and I feel this really deep pain inside, like I’m anxious all the time,’ or something like that.”

    Big deal. That's how all of us in California get our weed cards. Er, so I've heard.

  37. imissopus

    I tried caffeine pills a couple of times in high school and college, and all they did was make me sick, plus I'd get so amped I would wear myself out, fall asleep for three hours, have the most vivid and fucked-up dreams, and still blow the test the next day because I felt like crap. Much better to take drugs to purposely get fucked up after finals were over.

  38. barto

    Hey Mom, don't worry, be happy! Kid's probably got enough to go around.

    Re PhARMA not finding the data, who wants to bet they aren't looking?

  39. Naked_Bunny

    Damn. So getting straight A's will be the newest justification for shooting black kids.

Comments are closed.