Students from some of Sydney’s top schools are buying ADHD medication on the black market to help with exams and give them an edge in class.
One student from a Sydney private school told The Saturday Telegraph that the practice was common.
“A lot of my mates have taken it, particularly in year 12 as they get put under pressure for the HSC,” the student said.
“It is not uncommon for them to pay $5 for a single tablet. They don’t think it is a problem because they don’t see it as an illegal drug like MDMA (ecstasy).”
New research, due to be published in full later this year, shows 7% of university students use the drug to help them study and at least 2% of students use it regularly.
The research is being undertaken by several universities on behalf of The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
The medication, including one variant Modafinil, can be bought in bulk online with 40 tablets selling for $113.
Cardiologist Dr Ross Walker told The Saturday Telegraph the long-term side-effects of the drug could be harmful.
“One in three people who take these drugs suffer from a lack of sleep, loss of appetite and suffer further because they are not getting the right nutrients,” he said.
“People just having the diagnosis of ADHD have double the chance of nicotine, alcohol and drug abuse addiction in later life. The problem with these off-label users is that we have no idea what the long-term impacts are.”
Walker added that 7% of Australian children were now diagnosed with some form of attention deficit disorder, which meant the drugs were readily available.