Illegal Exchange and Non-Medical Use of Adderall Among College Students Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

How to Solve the Illegal Exchange and Non-Medical use of Adderall among College Students: A Research Proposal


As numerous researchers have pointed out in recent years, the spread of “smart” drugs is on the rise across college campuses (Arria & DuPont, 2010; Frood, 2018; Vrecko, 2015). So-called “study drugs” like Adderall, which is an amphetamine, are used by students to help them study, cram, focus, and get ready for finals or get through a particularly intense stretch of work during particularly trying times of the school year. As Frood (2018) notes, “in a survey of tens of thousands of people, 14% reported using stimulants at least once in the preceding 12 months in 2017, up from 5% in 2015.” It goes without saying that the illegal exchange of such drugs is a problem that needs to be addressed. How to address it is the aim this research proposes to answer.

Problem Statement

The illegal exchange and non-medical use of Adderall among college students is a problem that universities need to address in order to reduce the spread of the “pill” epidemic that is currently washing over the U.S.

Research Question

The question this study asks is: How can college administrators prevent the spread or illegal exchange and non-medical use of Adderall among college students?

Study Design

The research design that will be used for this study is the qualitative design. As the nature of the research is exploratory, the qualitative design fits best with the purpose of the research (Creswell, 2003). The interview method will be used to investigate the problem and to obtain data from stakeholders in universities around the nation. While the survey method could be used as well, that approach would require a concrete idea about how to solve this problem; at this stage, as Vrecko (2015) shows, there is a need for further research regarding the spread of these pills and what can be done to stop that spread. One concept specifically that Vrecko (2015) mentions that needs to be investigated further is Lovell's concept of “pharmaceutical leakage” (p. 303). By interviewing both students and administrators, this study aims to be able to answer the question of how to solve the problem of illegal Adderall usage on college campuses among students.

Literature Review

Bandura (2018) shows that one of the major ways in which behavior is impacted is through peers; the other ways are through groups and media. Drug use among young adults, particularly college students, is not an isolated incident (Arria & DuPont, 2010) nor is it one that is unpopular (Frood, 2018). Students from all walks of life and background are using “smart drugs” to boost their ability to focus. This is a problem because using drugs like this when they are not prescribed can lead to…

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Ethical Considerations

Because the study is asking questions of students that could potentially get them into academic or legal trouble, anonymity must be absolutely guaranteed. This is important not only for the students’ safety and protection but also for the validity of the study. If the study were not able to show that participants in the interview process fully trusted the interviewer enough to answer questions honestly, it could be dismissed as invalid and unreliable. Participants will need a guarantee that all information from them will be kept anonymous.

Another ethical consideration is the problem of researcher bias. Removing bias is an important part of doing research, and while it is not always possible to remove it 100%, efforts should be made to at least bracket it out (Creswell, 2003). One way to do this is for the researcher to state up front any ideas about the issue or expected findings he may have. This can include any background that the researcher has on the topic. By bracketing out bias, the research can be better able to set it aside and proceed to the issue without being sidetracked by preconceived notions.


An exploration of how the spread of Adderall among college students takes place, why they use, and what ideas students and administrators have for stopping the spread is needed to address the issue of non-medical usage of Adderall in universities. Because…

Sources Used in Document:


Arria, A. M., & DuPont, R. L. (2010). Nonmedical prescription stimulant use among college students: why we need to do something and what we need to do. Journal of addictive diseases, 29(4), 417-426.

Bandura, A. (2018). Toward a psychology of human agency: Pathways and reflections.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(2), 130-136.

Creswell, J. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches.  California: Sage Publication.

Frood, A. (2018). Use of ‘smart’ drugs on the rise. Retrieved from

Vrecko, S. (2015). Everyday drug diversions: A qualitative study of the illicit exchange and non-medical use of prescription stimulants on a university campus. Social Science & Medicine, 131, 297-304.

Cite This Research Proposal:

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