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FOX 47 - Health News

Wednesday, February 9 2011, 10:02 PM CST

MADISON (WKOW) -- For many college students - staying up late and drinking coffee go hand in hand with studying for exams.


More students are taking illegal prescription drugs like Adderall, to help them hit the books.


Fox 47 News followed up with the dean at Edgewood College who pledged in a December newscast to stop it from happening in her school.


She kept that promise. Starting first with the leaders of the school, and student athletes.


"It's not really a secret it happens in college a lot of people use it as a study tool to cram late at night," said Jake Zadra, Edgewood College student athlete


"There are kids always cramming always people taking Adderall..they think cramming the day before or the day of the exam helps," said Laura Sweeney, Edgewood College student athlete.


Sophomores Jake Zadra and Laura Sweeney are star athletes at Edgewood College.


The science majors know how to stay on the top of their game in class, without having to take drugs like Adderall.


"It's stressed we don't take those so we don't test positive and put our whole team in jeopardy of losing championships or anything," said Sweeney.


"It's more of what I don't do I don't take Adderall I like to lead by example," said Zadra.


Not all students think like Jake and Laura.


"They say oh its no big deal its just one pill its just going to help me focus," said Maggie Balistreri-Clarke, Edgewood College Dean.


Balistreri-Clarke and her staff are starting with athletes, who are required to share their medical history with the school, to teach other students why taking Adderall to study is wrong.


"A lot of kids can look up to us as role models so we can be above the influence and not take those kinds of drugs," said Sweeney.


The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports about 1 in 5 students take illegal drugs like Adderall study, the dean is calling on nursing students to study Adderall abuse on campus as a class.


"Just get a sense of how far how widespread is the abuse and helping students understand why this is an important thing to do is going to be part of the project," said Balistreri-Clarke.


Students will pass out questionnaires and put up posters about the consequences of taking the drug, which include expulsion.


"I think we need to do a lot of education to help students understand what some of the issues are," said Balistreri-Clarke.


Adderall is used to treat attention deficit disorders. About 90% of the drug is made of dextroamphetamine, or speed. If taken wrong, the drug is not only addicting, it can also cause heart problems, or even death.


"They first have to recognize something as a problem and so if nothing is said they say oh its no big deal," said Balistreri-Clarke.


As for Jake and Laura, they've found a better way to hit the books.


"I try to study a little bit each night," said Jake Zadra.


"Retaining that information so you don't have to cram," said Laura Sweeney.


We also reached out to UW-Madison. For the third time in a row - refused to go on camera.


But the dean of students e-mailed me back last month.


Saying although it's not cheating, it's against school rules to take prescription drugs illegally at UW.


It is a crime to take Adderall without a prescription.


If you're caught selling the drug - you could face a maximum of 15 years behind bars.

Special Report: Edgewood College leaders curbing illegal "smart drug" use on campus

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