Spontaneous Exclamations: Welcome to the Real World, Where are Your Pills? Part 1

Adam Katz is a senior associate at Harrison & Held LLP.  He concentrates his practice on federal & state tax matters, commercial finance, mergers & acquisitions, entity structure and formation, and non-profit law.  Adam can be reached at (312) 753-6110 or akatz@harrisonheld.com.  Comments on all posts are welcome.

DISCLAIMER: This article is focused on the abusers of amphetamines who do not have legitimate diagnoses or prescriptions.

Don’t pretend like you don’t see it, like it isn’t even present, like it’s not even in the equation.  Law students, you may do it or have been offered it.  Law school administrators, quit sticking your head in the sand.  Amphetamines, a.k.a. drugs like Adderall, are legitimately prescribed for medical diagnoses, but also are the performance-enhancing drug of law school as steroids are to baseball.  To illustrate, the effects of amphetamines are fairly similar to those of steroids for baseball players: player X is juicing and he bats .375 with 80 home runs in one season.  Yet, the next season when he’s off the slop, he only bats .265 with 30 home runs.  The law student on amphetamines can study for 12 hours straight all while focusing and retaining information at a high level.  As a bonus, this student may also have an exemption allowing for unlimited time to complete final exams.  That’s some pretty attractive but deceitful side effects to taking a little sauce. 

Therefore, I’m going to go ahead and say what too few of you are saying right now. Illegitimate amphetamine use is rampant in law schools today and it’s a despicable practice that the schools blatantly ignore.  If you can’t cut it in law school without popping pills you have no prescription for, then why waste your time pursuing a profession where you’d literally need a 24-7 IV of amphetamines to make it through?   There, I said it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are medical diagnoses that amphetamines effectively treat.  However, amphetamines do give a significant boost to students studying for exams and not just due to the drug’s physical effects on the body.  I will highlight a couple of issues here: (i) amphetamines are too easy to acquire; and (ii) law schools are complicit with illegitimate amphetamine usage.

It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if amphetamines didn’t work so well.  I’m not speaking from experience because I refused to “juice,” but the sheer hours the juicers pull in the libraries, nose in the books, is legendary.  Where do these students acquire their pills?  Frequently, other students … and I’m not blowing the lid off of some underground law school drug market.  Everybody knows at every law school where to buy the pills if they want them, and generally those dealers make a mint.  While you can’t blame the law schools for students going outside of the school to doctors or dealers for their pills, you can blame the law schools for turning a blind eye at the widespread use. 

However, are the law schools meant to or even able to police the amphetamine trade?  I’ve never seen more than one security guard in a library let alone an entire college police force.  If students are caught using prescription pills they don’t have a prescription for to aid their studies, should the schools act?  Is it even a breach of professional responsibility if not state law to abuse these pills?  Since the schools don’t really have the ability to monitor amphetamine use, perhaps the best answer comes in the form of severe consequences upon being caught — strong deterrents that might persuade a number of students to forego the juice and study and take exams clean. 

Stay tuned for Part 2: A second and viler problem.

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