University students are taking ADHD medication to cope with exam stress

Nearly one in 12 university students in Western Australia have turned to “cognitive enhancers” including prescription and illicit drugs in an attempt to boost their academic performance, according to a recently published study.

Some of them also appeared to be using them to cope with increased stress from tightly scheduled assignments.

More than 2000 students aged between 18 and 29 took part in an online survey across all five WA universities as part of a study undertaken in 2016 and published on November 15 this year.

The results show that just under 8 per cent reported they’d used a prescription drug (not prescribed to them) to try and make them think and focus better in the previous 12 months.

Prescription medications students reported using included sleep-disorder drug modafinil and ADHD medications like dexamphetamine and methylphenidate (ritalin), which were being procured primarily through online pharmacies and the prescriptions of friends or

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