Burke Levy, P.C.

Selling ADHD drugs on campus can have serious consequences for students

When you sent your child away to college, you may have joked that what you don't know won't hurt you. Like many parents, you expect that your son or daughter will face many opportunities to try new things and many temptations to step over the lines you drew as a parent. You may recall your own experimentation and conclude that you turned out okay.

Of course, your expectations may be that your child will use alcohol and perhaps marijuana. What you may not realize is that many college students have access to a different kind of drug, and your child may be vulnerable, especially if he or she is driven to succeed.

"Study drugs" on campus

If your child struggled with the symptoms of attention deficit or hyperactivity disorders, you may have obtained a prescription from your pediatrician for Ritalin, Adderall or a similar drug. For some middle school students, these drugs stimulate the brain, allowing it to control its impulses and maintain a clearer focus. Many college students believe that Ritalin and other ADHD drugs can provide the same benefits for them.

Known as "study drugs," Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse and others are now the drug of choice for many college students who perceive a difference in their ability to work harder and longer while studying for exams, writing papers and completing projects. However, not every college student has a prescription to these medications. If your child does, be aware that some students seek a quick way to earn extra money by "helping out friends" and selling them pills from a legal prescription.

There are serious problems to consider regarding the sale of prescription "study drugs," including a charge of possession with intent to distribute. Other issues to be aware of include:

  • According to federal law, Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse are Schedule II drugs, in the same category as cocaine and meth.
  • Massachusetts and other states follow federal guidelines for penalties for most drug schedules.
  • Selling Schedule II drugs illegally can result in a felony conviction.
  • For selling prescription drugs, your child may face the possibility of jail time as long as 10 years and substantial fines totaling thousands of dollars.
  • In some areas, authorities enhance penalties for those selling drugs on educational campuses.
  • Conviction for selling "study drugs" may result in the loss of your child's federal student funding, scholarships and grants. It may also lead to his or her suspension or expulsion from school.

Accepting a plea deal for selling "study drugs" means your child may still have a drug conviction on his or her record. Seeking advice and representation from a skilled attorney can provide your child with alternatives that may produce a more positive result.

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