Adderall scares nationwide threaten the study habits of students

Cassidy O’Neil, [email protected], Arts & Features Writer

Running late to class while desperately trying to catch up on the weekend emails while also hastily paying your monthly due diligence in the form of bills; yeah, it’s the first of the month. 

As you unpack your bag and take a seat, you try to tune into the teacher’s lecture and get into the academic state of mind. 

After an undetermined amount of time you realize you have completely zoned out thinking about your work schedule, if you switched over the laundry and then remember you’re in humanities. 

“Concentrate,” you say to yourself but you know you have come down with stage five senioritis and need to pick up your medication after class. “It’s just one more hour you got this.”

As you repeat the cycle of repetitively checking in and out of the current moment, you suddenly feel the urge to move around and time has nearly come to a halt. 

You know what that means, “bathroom break” or “water refill time,” which roughly translates to taking a short lap down the hall and back to break the physical monogamy of sitting in a chair. 

Finally you are dismissed and run to your car because a grocery list of priorities need to be urgently addressed, beginning with feeling like yourself again thanks to your local pharmacy.

As you wait in line nothing appears to be out of the ordinary. Sure, the line is long but what’s new? Then it’s your turn, you state your name and the pharmacist’s smile slowly fades.

“The shortest we will have that prescription filled by is the end of February,” said the pharmacist. 

Since it’s almost a month away the news feels like a blow through the heart.

 “Come again?” You mutter back clearly confused. 


A nationwide shortage announced on Oct. 12 by the FDA quoted a “shortage of the immediate release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts, commonly referred to by the brand name Adderall or Adderall IR.” 

The reality begins to set in as you feel waves of anger mixed with confusion pass you say thank you and leave with a new problem at hand. 

“I feel like students are very afraid they’re not going to be able to complete what they need to, and be as effective in school as they need to be,” said Emily Easterling, a nurse at the UNC Asheville Health and Counseling Center. 

As someone who has relied on dextroamphetamine, a generic version of the amphetamine Adderall since third grade, this situation is unprecedented.

“Some people have been on Adderall or similar medications for their whole lives and all of a sudden they’re in college, lots of work, very stressful and they’re having trouble getting what they need,” Easterling said.   

This is mostly due to manufacturing shortages from major pharmaceutical companies like Teva.

According to the FDA, Teva is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays. Other manufacturers continue to produce amphetamine mixed salts, but there is not a sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand through those producers.

“Go ahead and start communicating with your provider early to see where things stand as far as what places have the medication, if there needs to be a change in medication for you,” Easterling said. 


Your to-do list for the day quickly becomes old news as you rush to call your health provider as well as any pharmacy you can get a hold of. 

It is recommended as one of the first steps for those facing the shortage to reach out to and see if any local pharmacies have your prescription on hand.

“There is no database that allows doctors to see what medications are available where, so unfortunately the burden falls on the patient to make the calls,” said Dr. Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in an interview with Public Good News. 

If this fails ask your doctor about possible temporary stimulant and nonstimulant options although, these too are becoming scarce, thanks to the Adderall shortage.

For me, the newfound stress of wondering when this will be over is certainly taxing but more devastating is trying to keep myself on track to graduate in May while overcoming the chemical dependency my body has relied on for over a decade now.