Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Adderall in College

Today in the NYTimes, an article by Roger Cohen called The Competition Drug.

I liked this comment:

Donald Seekins
Waipahu HI

When I lived in Hong Kong in 1970, someone told me that most local Chinese who took opium didn't do so to visit La-la Land (like Coleridge) but to dull the pain of bodies that were physically run down by back-breaking labor. To solve the opium problem, workers didn't need sermons on living a clean life but better working conditions. I think much the same is true of Adderall. We drive students to take this and other drugs through insane academic competition. We tell young people they should work hard to get good grades, pulling all-nighters, but we don't educate them to understand that going to an elite college is not worth ruining their physical and mental health. Use of Adderall will go down drastically when the high stakes of the academic rat-race are replaced by more intelligent and sane standards.


  1. Good comment.

    I had a discouraging conversation with the mother of a high school sophomore the other day. Her daughter attends a highly-regarded public school in an affluent area. Daughter has been increasingly depressed and stressed since she began high school and now, after missing four days due to illness and having an overwhelming amount of make-up work, is at a breaking point.

    She feels she must spend all her free time on activities she doesn't enjoy or she's not going to be able to go to college. She is giving up an activity she loves because she doesn't have time for it. She's artistic and creative, but there aren't many art or music classes at her school because the focus and budget goes toward standardized tests and AP classes.

    The mom was in tears while she described this.

    Meanwhile, another parent I know is considering pulling his daughter out of her highly-regarded public school because the standardized test scores are plummeting. He feels the standards are low and if the school can't even meet those, it's doing a bad job.

    The district's response to the plummeting scores is that the tests now have more critical thinking questions. Apparently, the schools haven't been focused on making sure the kids can actually think.

    I don't have kids, and I'm getting the impression I'd better not have them until I can afford 15K a year for private school or have time for homeschooling.

  2. My daughter the other day asked, Mommy, should I have children? She'd always wanted them. I paused for a moment. Pregnant pause. Too late. She looks distressed. Was I sending the message that it was a mistake?

    How do you say, no, you are no mistake, you are darling, I love you, I'm thrilled to be your mom. But the world. School. Too much heartache.

    When we all want to give up, don't we owe it to our kids to make it better for theirs? If we couldn't do it for them?

    But we CAN do it for them. And I'm sorry to say. School is broken. Very very broken. If you think otherwise, you've been sufficiently deluded, you're drinking the cool aid. Homeschooling seems the only option left now. It's a darn good option too. But I think our society will have to devise co-ops, ad hoc arrangement so parents can work and still educate their children.

    Homework overload means it's all being sent home anyway. C'mon, don't kid yourself. Hours and hours are wasted. The best hours of the day. Then the kids school at home. May as well make it official.

  3. She LOOKED distressed. Oy. I thought I'd edited. I'm sure I'll find others.

  4. Told you. Ad hoc ARRANGEMENTS, not arrangement.