Fear and Loathing in Hartley Library: Study Drugs UNCOVERED

Nearly all of you reading this will have had your work schedule derailed by drugs before. Being run over by the Vodka train and spending the following day firing blue […]

Nearly all of you reading this will have had your work schedule derailed by drugs before. Being run over by the Vodka train and spending the following day firing blue stomach acid into the bog instead of bashing out academic bull is a horribly familiar feeling for most of us. No doubt some of you will have dipped a toe into more illicit waters as well, but unless you’re Irvine Welsh or doing a rockstar course it’s fair to say that your dabblings probably won’t have boosted your grades.

But what about substances which claim to accelerate your output? At this time of year the work pressure is more painful than being dropped headfirst into a car crusher, so it’s no big surprise to hear that a few desperados decided that a caffiene kick isn’t enough and have got hold of prescription-only drugs to try and boost their words per hour. After hearing reports of people popping pills that give the user the unlikely ability of writing “1000 words in 15 minutes”, we did a little bit of digging into the seedy underbelly of Hartley library, catching up with campus hustlers and their stressed out customers.

It turns out that there are a whole load of different products out there which promise to provide sharpshooter concentration levels, with some of the most popular being Adderall, Modafanil and Ritalin (the only one I had heard of before beginning this little investigation). Most of these pills are prescribed to kids with ADHD to reduce hyperactivity  but without that doctor’s slip Ritalin comes under Class B and retails on the black market for about £1.30 a pop. Even possessing the stuff is pretty serious business, let alone dropping it in the library.

I contacted five people (yeah massive sample size, I know) who had taken one or more of these substances – they were all third years, most had looming dissertation deadlines and reckoned that getting wired was the best way of ploughing through. With ridiculous challenges like scaling a 10, 000 word mountain in a week or less, it’s not that surprising that some students are turning to drugs with these effects:

It’s like if you drank ten cups of coffee…it’s a sensation of nervous energy, you want to do something.

Your concentration increases, any distractions are put to the back of your mind, and you can do about 2-3 hours of intense study.

Under this sort of stimulation, some of these people have pulled off near superhuman feats that made me feel ill to hear about:

I managed to do 26 hours straight on my dissertation in the Murray building (6000 words and about 60 references) without a break, from 3 Ritalin… It helped me do the whole thing in five and a half days.

It ain’t all gravy though; Ritalin earned a Class B label for a reason. As might be expected of something that messes with your concentration levels there are a whole host of side effects, ranging from the comical “forgetting to eat” and “awful gas” to far more serious things like increased blood pressure and panic attacks. I also have another concern – what happens if you take this stuff and get sucked into the DM’s Sidebar of Shame or some other dark bowel of the internet? Purgatory sounds more inviting.

It’s worth remembering that these pills won’t make you any more intelligent, so an essay written under the influence might well still read like a hatchet job. Anyway, you’re all big boys and girls so make your own minds up about this, but personally I think I’m going to stick to gallons of coffee and emergency bananas when the proverbial faeces hits the fan.

What are you thoughts? Have you tried any of these products? As ever, let us know in the comments below.