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Students and Stimulants: What's the Problem?

A New York Times article cites Lower Merion students as being among a growing number of teenagers abusing prescription pills.

Updated 6/12/12 at 12:30 a.m.

High school students under pressure to get good grades and achieve entrance to competitive colleges are turning to prescription stimulants, and Lower Merion School District is no exception, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

District spokesman Doug Young told the Times many parents seem largely unaware of the issue and that drug abuse is discussed in 10th grade health class and in other initiatives.

“It’s time for a serious wake-up call,” Young told the Times. “Straight A’s and high SAT scores look great on paper, but they aren’t reflective measures of a student’s health and well-being. We need to better understand the pressures and temptations, and ultimately we need to embrace new definitions of student success. For many families and communities, that’s simply not happening.”

One Lower Merion High School student, who declined to be named for the New York Times article, described how he lies to his psychiatrist in order to receive unncessary prescriptions and said he sells the drugs for $5 to $20 per pill—amounting to hundreds of dollars in business a week.

Read the full New York Times article here.

“This is an area of great concern for us,” Lower Merion School District superintendent Christopher McGinley said at the school board’s business meeting Monday night, referencing the New York Times article.

McGinley said the district is "very much aware of the issue" and takes a preventative view. “From elementary school on, we have an array of programs that focus on supporting students and helping them to make great decisions," he said.

While the district is committed to changing the paradigm that "success" means a 4.0 GPA, that effort must go beyond the classroom, involving parents and health care providers, McGinley said.

"We’re working on it, and we’re saddened to know that what was in that article yesterday is absolutely true," McGinley said.

art fulley June 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM
its probably ritalin. Not meth?
art fulley June 12, 2012 at 07:54 PM
whats that comment about?
art fulley June 12, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I dont think the problem is necessarily with straight A's, or with parents being unable to embrace a more well rounded version of teen success-althought both may add extra stress. I lean more towards thinking its about teens trying to cope with the stress of life, and finding an identity, when drugs are being pushed, and friends are taking them. Todays world is overwhelming, fast, and individuality is hard to establish in the current internet-superhighway-merged world. Parents cannot understand unless more is done by the community (schools, police) to educate them. And I dont mean just one meeting. Parents have no idea.
Beege Marshall June 12, 2012 at 08:49 PM
art.........ritalin IS a form of meth. It's been over 20 yrs since I've actually seen a generic label for ritalin, but it actually has "meth" in the composition. And if it is taken without medical supervision keeping track of the heart, and therefore by prescription, the heart can give out. These kids don't know what they're doing. Well, for that matter, caffeine can be overdosed on too, especially for us older folks. NOT good idea to overdue. I got straight "A"s in college, maybe helped by my addiction to diet cola ...;o),,,,, but that's about as far as they should take it. I drank maybe 2, maybe 3 cans a day. But I was younger. I roll my eyes even when I see these new, small "energy drinks" at the convenience store. Ritalin prescription was used largely in the 80's and 90's. When my youngest child was finishing the last years of college, I heard a dorm mate of their's referring to their "smart pills". Ritalin was what they were referring to.....BUT they were being monitored by a neurologist or doctor for heart, etc. This "student" who is "pushing" their prescription meds on classmates should be tracked down (hope his psychiatrist sees the article) and prosecuted. He's endangering the lives of these other students. AND their health classes in HS should be educating them on the dangers they are risking. That incident at my child's prep school was heartbreaking and never should have happened. Tragic.....
art fulley July 01, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Ahh, I looked it up. Ritalin is methylphenidate. Weaker than methamphetamine. :)) Art

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