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NAU SOC 301 - SOC301_Essay_1

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Kristina SimonovicSOC301Reflection Essay 117 June 2018Drug Abuse AwarenessThe article, “Tweaking and Tweeting: Exploring Twitter for Nonmedical Use of a Psychostimulant Drug (Adderall) Among College Students” discusses a very important concept in regards to drug abuse. According to the article, “Adderall is the most commonly abused prescription stimulant among college students” (Hanson et al 2013). A study was conducted to further explore why nonmedical use of Adderall was frequently being abused by college students. The study gathered data through social media because, “Social media provides a real-time avenue for monitoring public health, specifically for this population” (Hanson et al 2013). Twitter was the chosen database used to access the number of posts mentioning the word “Adderall” in any context. The findings were, “of 132,099 unique user accounts, 213,633 tweets mentioned the word, “Adderall” and the number of Adderall tweets peaked during traditional college and university final exam periods, concluding rates of Adderall tweeters to be highest among college and university clusters in the northeast and south regions of the United States” (Hanson et al 2013). The abuse of Adderall was mainly seen in college students around the time of final exams. Social media has become an outlet for many. People tend to express more openly in a large database setting where there is the common conception that an individual post will get lost into the abyss of the internet. It is often forgotten that, “Because social media is, by its very nature, a social endeavor, the users’ postings can have a great impact on the social norms ofothers” (Hanson et al 2013). The results indicated by the study reflect a definite normalization of the abuse of Adderall. Tweeting about Adderall in any context, dismisses the fact that it is a prescription drug and regularizes the recreational use of it. According to the article, “The vast majority of tweets discussed Adderall in a joking, sarcastic, or casual manner” (Hanson et al 2013). The idea that many people are openly taking Adderall to aid with improved concentration and increased mental alertness, makes it seem standard and less like drug abuse. Additionally, “College students who abuse prescription ADHD stimulants do so primarily during times of highacademic stress” (Hanson et al 2013). Students are more likely to partake in the nonmedical use of Adderall if their peers are attributing their academic success to the substance. It’s not to say that social media alone is contributing to drug abuse, however the exposure of content through social media has had an impact on the individual. Someone who would’ve never thought to try the prescription drug might have their mind changed through the normalizing culture of social media. As a student at NAU, I have first-hand seen the normalization of Adderall use. Many of my peers and friends use Adderall and other psychostimulants without having a prescription. During exam week, I overhear conversations throughout campus daily regarding Adderall use. College students deal with high levels of stress and anxiety throughout their educations and turn to prescription drugs as a way to cope. I’ve heard many students express that they could not havepassed their exams without Adderall. Prescription drugs compared to illicit drugs are often not seen as harmful. People that have taken Adderall know the side effects that are associated with the drug. For many, “The benefits of Adderall use (eg, study aid) may outweigh the costs of use (eg, side effect such as irritability)” (Hanson et al 2013). There is little stigma behind medication that is prescribed by a doctor, regardless of whether or not it is prescribed to you personally.However, prescription drugs are some of the most harmful substances to take, even when prescribed to you. I’ve seen many of my friends go through addiction to medication that was prescribed to them by their doctors. The dependency on any substance is considered to be substance abuse. People are unaware of their substance abuse due to the normalization of their behavior. Adderall, amongst many substances, is in fact a drug and has detrimental effects to the person abusing it, prescribed or not. REFERENCESHanson, C. L., Burton, S. H., Giraud-Carrier, C., West, J. H., Barnes, M. D., Hansen, B. 2013. Tweaking and tweeting: exploring Twitter for nonmedical use of a psychostimulant drug (Adderall) among college students. Journal of Medical Internet Research,


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