Letter to the editor: Illegal use of pills never justifiable

This letter is in response to Robert Pursell’s article entitled “Stressed-out students should take advantage of pills.” Pills, in this case, refer to the prescription drug Adderall used to treat those with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). I vehemently object to Mr. Pursell’s opinion that abuse of Adderall should be considered appropriate, in any situation. He claims that negative side effects are mild at worst, and that the most negative consequence to the drug is to “clean a dorm room and look up far too many song lyrics.” Mr. Pursell’s reasoning seems to be based solely on observation and past experience without any regard for the opinion of medical professionals.

Type into Google “Adderall side effects” and you will receive a dozen or more credible sources attesting to the extreme negative side effects of abusing Adderall. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Drs. Ronald Ricker and Venus Nicolino, Adderall can cause severe side effects like cardiac or pulmonary arrest, but the worst is the high “addictiveness” of the drug.

Mr. Pursell, by encouraging the abuse of Adderall, you are in the same sentence encouraging addiction and ignoring the proven consequences of its abuse.

Furthermore, it is highly unethical and irresponsible for a person in Mr. Pursell’s position to use school resources – even in an opinion piece – to advocate prescription drug abuse. This is not a brave civil rights stance. It is an attempt to convince readers that his own abuse should not be condemned, but instead supported by the community.

Prescription drug abuse is a major problem in our country, and South Florida ranks highly among the most affected regions. Mr. Pursell, you have “abused” your position and poorly represented The Miami Hurricane, your fellow students and the university at large. While the First Amendment gives us the right to freedom of speech, and with that right you can advocate all the drug abuse you want, to use The Miami Hurricane to do so is a severe violation.

I encourage Mr. Pursell and all readers to become educated about all substance use before deciding to abuse, or even use, controlled and/or regulated substances. I thank The Miami Hurricane for allowing me to voice my opinion.


Eric Weiss graduated in the UM Class of 2012, and is a Miller School of Medicine M.D. candidate.