If you are what you eat, are you also what you swallow? While studying for spring finals, I discovered a surprising post on UC Berkeley’s Facebook Page “Free & For Sale” wherein a student was openly asking to make an illegal purchase of Adderall. He was willing to pay big for it and quickly gained likes and supportive comments from fellow users and potential suppliers. Part of me commended him for his candor, while another part of me blatantly disagreed with his decision making skills. This incident caused me to consider whether Berkeley’s pill popping “best and brightest” may not be so smart after all.

Adderall is an amphetamine that works by increasing activity of your norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain. By swallowing un-prescribed pills you are chemically enhancing the parts of your brain responsible for vigilant concentration and cognitive alertness. This is fine if you need it to treat a legitimate disability such as ADHD. Otherwise… Is this cheating?

Why put your health at risk while in college? Isn’t the whole point to acquire knowledge and connections in order to enrich your life, not jeopardize it? I earned my 4.0 with due diligence and caffeine, while overindulging on crap snack foods, the old-fashioned way. Yet here at the number one public university in the world, where we thrive off competitive advantage, I find this blatant request for drugs hard to swallow.

Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride USP) is another popular collegiate central nervous system stimulant. Really? With all of the energy drink options and caffeinated beverages available, you still needed more? Why not just do a line or two? I’d have more respect for a forthright cocaine addict than a disingenuous pill-popping peer. Upon entering every classroom and building on campus you will see the UC Berkeley Honor Code clearly posted ensuring that “As a member of this community, I act with Honesty, Integrity and Respect for others.”

Yet supplying these pharmaceuticals is illegal and cheating. That is the bottom line.

I have tremendous respect for others and have walked many miles in many shoes and have learned not to step on toes along the way (especially as someone may need to inject into one). I’ve experimented with a wide variety of drugs in my time; however, it was for recreational use, not competition. I never smoked a joint to engage in fierce contention. That’s ridiculous. I’m not compromising my integrity or my cognitive and cellular composition to gain an academic edge, and I wish you wouldn’t either.

Big Pharma is evil. Don’t believe the hype. They’re called PSYCHO-stimulants for a reason. Peace.


Drugs | Photo by Laura Lim

The opinions of this article are the writer’s own.