Students turn to stimulants for quick boost

Brady Bell/Pioneer
One student eyes a Rockstar energy drink, sold in the bookstore and Carson’s on campus. Rockstar and other energy drinks have become the fad for most students to get extra energy throughout the day.

It’s a fact: some college students use stimulants because they say it helps give them a boost they need. Some say stimulants use has gotten out of control, others believe its normal and just another daily routine.

Of those asked, one out of four OCCC students said they know someone who uses the drugs prescribed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients as a study aide.

Oklahoma City Neurologist Brent Beson provided a doctor’s perspective on students’ stimulant use.Beson said he was aware of the illegal use of these medications by students.

“It is sad, simply put. It is illegal and is something that I wish did not occur,” he said.

Doctors prescribe stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall and other attention-deficit medications to patients who have expressed a severe lack of concentration.

According to an article at, some people choose to sell their prescribed medications to people needing that extra boost to get them through an all-nighter.

“When signing a prescription for a drug of that sort, I do not lecture the individual on not handing them out to anyone else,” Beson said. “You have to trust the doctor, patient trust that you have hopefully built that they would not do such a thing,” Beson said.

Learning Support Specialist Mary Turner encourages students who realize they might have a stimulant addiction to get help from an OCCC counselor.

“Absolutely come talk to a counselor to set up a treatment plan,” Turner said.

“I do believe caffeine is the most prevalent stimulant product – such as energy drinks and strong coffee – even nicotine still. If illegal substances are being used, talk to us to get a treatment plan before being treated as a criminal,” Turner said.

Caffeinated beverages are yet another stimulant students turn to.

Business major Raul Becerra has been an OCCC coffee shop employee for three semesters and said he thinks the shop was opened to help give students that extra kick when they need it.

“The coffee shop was probably opened to help the students, to wake them up with the caffeine,” Becerra said.

“Usually, day after day, I see the same people getting beverages in the mornings. Caffeine makes people keep coming and coming.”

Beson said caffeinated tea and coffee are fine in limited amounts, but resorting to other stimulants is pushing it.

“Taking it to the extent of energy drinks and [energy] shots shouldn’t be necessary.

“Those are harmful to your body, especially in large consumptions,” Beson said.

One nursing major who wanted to be referred to as Shanyn, drinks Rockstar energy drinks every day, two to three times a day.

“Now I drink them just because I like them because I’ve been drinking them for so long,” Shanyn said.

She said Rockstar has become such a frequent beverage that she sometimes forgets to drink it if she has one opened.

Computer science major Kevin Hernandez’s caffeine intake depends on how tired he is during the day.

“If I am extremely tired it’ll take more than a Mountain Dew, it’ll probably take a Monster,” Hernandez said. “Since I got about seven-and-a-half hours of sleep last night, it only took a Mountain Dew today. To be honest, I could say that I am a little addicted to caffeine.”

Hernandez admits many students know that caffeine could be damaging to their bodies later on, although they still choose to use it.

Hernandez confirmed that, when he is up late studying or doing schoolwork, he would consume a caffeinated beverage to help him through.

Beson suggests: “If you get your recommended amount of sleep every night and have a healthy diet, you shouldn’t need anything else to get you through a day.”


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