Prescription drug-fueled ‘laser focus’ helps kids get good grades

    A recent article in the New York Times by Alan Schwarz claims that prescription drug use to increase alertness and attention is common among American high school students. The article describes students using drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to boost their performance and ace tests.


    Schwarz interviewed Douglas Young from the Lower Merion School District in his article, who explained that this issue has been a topic of conversation at the school, and is included in the 10th-grade health curriculum. Young said families have to have frank conversations about this issue as well:

    “Straight A’s and high SAT scores look great on paper, but they aren’t reflective measures of a student’s health and well-being. We need to better understand the pressures and temptations, and ultimately we need to embrace new definitions of student success. For many families and communities, that’s simply not happening.”

    In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott and Dr. Dan Gottlieb discuss this troubling trend, and how families should approach this issue.

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