COLUMN: No magic pill for hard work

Not enough is being done to wage an awareness campaign about the danger of study drugs in universities and educational institutions.

With exam time just around the corner, students across universities and high schools are working day and night to prepare for the big day.

However, for many students, studying hard just isn’t enough.

In recent years, a disturbing behaviour has emerged in North American high schools and post-secondary institutions. Though education is one field where one would imagine good intentions and ethical conduct reign supreme, the truth is quite contrary.

Paper mills and plagiarism are widely known problems, but a different type of cheating, in the form of so-called “study drugs,” has also emerged.

Students are illegally purchasing drugs used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or getting them falsely prescribed.  Ritalin, nicknamed “kiddie cocaine,” and Adderall are two common ADHD drugs that students undiagnosed with ADHD are using so they can remain focussed on one task and in a state of concentration for hours on end.

An internal motivation to succeed simply isn’t enough for many of today’s students. Instead, students say they rely on these drugs to enhance their performance and increase their grades.

I consider this cheating, plain and simple. In fact, these drugs (I refuse to call them “study” drugs) have become so popular  that a 2008 University of the Fraser Valley study showed that one-third of Simon Fraser University and UFV students were abusing prescription drugs, including Ritalin.

The number of Ritalin prescriptions issued over the past two decades has also increased significantly in Canada.

We live in a world where quick gratification is common and many have simply forgotten about the importance of hard work. For the student who takes the right path and puts in the extra effort, this is simply unfair.

But students who are taking these drugs aren’t just cheating the system and their fellow students, but also themselves. The side-effects of abusing these drugs might include dependence, insomnia, paranoia, depression, nervousness, and other serious implications.

Obviously, we must look at the root causes of this behaviour, which includes an overly competitive society and pressure to succeed, often created by family and friends.

However, simply blaming these factors will not solve the problem. Students must take responsibility for their actions.

It is quite ironic and sad that the very students who represent the future and are constantly surrounded by a world of knowledge engage in such behaviours. In terms of principle, these drugs are not in any way different from the effect that sports-enhancing drugs have had on the world of sports. Not only should doctors work to prevent unnecessary prescriptions of these drugs, but universities should also strictly denounce such activities and remain alert for students selling such drugs in-person or online.

Not enough is being done to wage a serious public health awareness campaign about the danger of these drugs in our universities and educational institutions, despite the fact that studies and prominent scholars have supported greater emphasis on this approach.

Preparing early, using available resources, and asking questions are excellent ways to achieve high marks – without having to sacrifice ethical beliefs. One does not have to use Ritalin or Adderall in order to achieve this.

There is simply no magic pill for hard work. As retired four-star general and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell stated, “a dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Japreet Lehal is a student at Simon Fraser University Surrey. He writes regularly for The Leader.

japreet@live.ca

Just Posted

Fentanyl found at a Delta high school, district says

Warning issued after fake Xanax pills confiscated from a student were found to contain opioids

White Rock councillors speak out on art project

A $100,000 hospital sculpture, paid for by city, draws criticism

Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans

Surrey will have to ‘compensate’ for the $56 million already spent on light rail

Sources employment services to close in White Rock, Cloverdale

Transition to new service to begin next year

Delta Gymnastics sends four on tour of Japan

Coach, three gymnastists left Dec. 4 for a two-week trip to experience Japanese gymnastics, culture

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey, Langley and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Coal power in Canada must disappear by the end of 2029, new regulations say

Canada has significantly cut its dependence on coal largely due to the closure of all coal plants in Ontario.

Most Read