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.

COLUMN: No magic pill for hard work

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

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

File photo
Surrey Board of Trade vows ‘a lot of noise’ will be made about tax increases

Huberman calls for comprehensive tax review at all levels of government

TEASER PHOTO ONLY - Hillcrest Drive-In's sign at the end its run in Surrey, in a photo uploaded to cinematreasures.org by hermangotlieb.
SURREY NOW & THEN: The city’s last drive-in, Hillcrest showed movies for 50 years on site turned shopping mall

‘It was a good memory, being the last drive-in in the Lower Mainland, at the time,’ says former operator Jay Daulat

United Truckers Association members outside Labour Minister/Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains’ office on Monday, June 21. (submitted photo: UTA)
Protesting truckers park outside Labour Minister’s Surrey office; daily rallies promised

The truckers take issue with unlicensed trucks taking work away from legitimate owner operators, and more

Natalie Brown and Colten Wilke star in the feature film Thunderbird, co-produced by South Surrey-raised Michael Morrison and released this month in Canada, the U.S and the U.K. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey-raised producer helps bring ‘Thunderbird’ to the screen

Michael Morrison guides B.C.-shot thriller with First Nations connection

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
UPDATE: Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read