Oct 062010
Authors: Erin Udell

Three years ago, Tyler Johansen was pulling all-nighters and stressing over tests like many of his classmates at the University of Arizona.

But after graduating in 2007, the young entrepreneur broke the cycle of late nights and cram sessions by creating Brainiac Supplements, LLC., and releasing “Study Buddy” an over-the-counter study aid sold in Cam’s Lobby Shop that helps improve memory and focus.

“This is something that I wish I had in college,” Johansen said.

“Study Buddy” is a pharmacist-developed supplement made from a combination of B vitamins, folic acid and “nutraceutical” ingredients, food products that provide health and medical benefits.

“The idea was to create something that was more natural,” Johansen said, comparing “Study Buddy” to energy drinks and prescription stimulants. “You can concentrate on what your doing while still feeling like yourself.”

In a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that 13.5 percent of first-year college students interviewed at a mid-Atlantic university had used prescription stimulants for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime.

According to NIDA, the most commonly abused prescription drugs are stimulants like Adderall, a medication that treats symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

But using Adderall without a prescription can be hazardous to your health.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, if used incorrectly, the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine in Adderall may cause side effects like a fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain and seizures.

“A lot of people think that because it is a prescription drug it must be safe, but when used recreationally this is far from the truth,” said Keith Hardes, a pharmacist at CSU’s Health Network, in an e-mail to the Collegian. “It is a highly addictive medication that is very similar to meth so for people to just take it to help them study is a very serious problem.”

Rob Lowrey, a staff attorney for CSU’s student legal services, said that because Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance, it could land you in prison.

Distribution of Adderall to someone without a prescription is a Class 3 Felony, with a possibility of 4-16 years in prison for a first offense. It is a Class 2 Felony, with 8-24 years of possible imprisonment for repeat offenders.

Merely being in possession of Adderall without a prescription is a Class 6 Felony, which could lead to up to two years in prison.

“Any of these sentences could be mitigated by a clean record to avoid prison, but may include a permanent felony record, time in the county jail, years of probation and substance abuse treatment,” Lowrey said.

Joselyne Perry, Ph.D., a behavioral health consultant for CSU’s health network visits with about 15 students a week to help them manage their academic and personal stress in positive ways.

A survey conducted by the university in 2009 asked CSU undergraduate students about their methods for reducing stress and anxiety. The majority of students claimed they eased their stress by listening to music, working out, spending time with friends and doing homework.

With a majority of students using positive coping methods, only a small percentage claimed to handle anxiety in negative ways, like sleeping less, eating more and drinking alcohol.

“A lot of people do more harmful things to cope,” Perry said. “Our goal in stress management is to get students the coping skills they need.”

City Council beat reporter Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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