It all sounds the same — possible depression, mood swings, anxiety. All of these warnings, yet we all know someone prescribed Adderall and that person is probably OK. Why then, would I write this article suggesting that you not try or take Adderall? My answer is simple, and his name was Kyle Craig.
My personal friend and high school pal Kyle Craig excelled at virtually everything. He earned great success on the athletic fields and in the classroom. He served as captain on his high school lacrosse team and prefect in the dormitory. He won the hearts of the prettiest girls, the respect of the most difficult professors, and the admiration of everyone that had the pleasure of knowing him. Not only was he intelligent, but he was also incredibly gifted at music. The depths of his talents were seemingly endless. He had a humble, pleasant demeanor, the ability to make people laugh and the ability to make people listen. Kyle was perhaps the most talented, driven and successful person I had ever known.
This past May, Adderall changed Kyle. Celebrating his highly touted New York City internship, Kyle went out with some of his best friends. At the end of the night, Kyle ignored his friends’ offers to drive him home and instead walked toward the train station. After texting “I love you” to some of his closest friends and family members, he stepped down onto the tracks, awaited an oncoming train and took his last breaths. That night, May 21, the beautiful life of Kyle Craig came to a horrific end.
Because of confidentiality laws, Kyle’s family did not know he had been prescribed Adderall nor were they aware of the severity of his depression. Like so many American college students, he abused the drug in striving for exemplary marks. In constant pressures we face as students, athletes, friends and family, we always try to perform our best. In the classroom, teachers demand our focus. On the athletic field, coaches demand our highest efforts. We do everything we can to succeed; we study and work out, practice and improve. Kyle, like many University of Richmond students, fit into this model. To him, Adderall had initially represented a tool to help him get ahead.
Kyle’s Adderall use started during times of dire circumstance, but soon escalated to more regular abuse. He would pay $10 for a pill, but soon realized his own prescription would be more practical for his increased use. At the heart of Vanderbilt University’s social community, Kyle was popular in his fraternity acting as the rush chairman. He would stay up during the week to complete his work and go into the weekend ready to party. For students who have ADHD, Adderall has been proven to be an appropriate remedy to cognitive impairment. To others, like Kyle, the long-term abuse of Adderall can cause psychosis, depression and drastic mood swings, especially when taken with alcohol.
Despite Kyle’s growing depression, his extreme academic and social success made it difficult for his friends and family to fully identify his instability. After obtaining a prescription for Adderall without his parents’ knowledge, Kyle appeared to be back on top. He received high academic honors at Vanderbilt last fall, and his future success appeared limitless. But the long-term affects of Adderall soon invaded Kyle’s stability.
While studying abroad in Barcelona, Kyle realized that he was not his old self. He was no longer excited in the social spotlight; he felt anxious, uneasy and depressed. Reaching out to his parents, Kyle acknowledged his emotional changes and actively sought help. Despite having two sessions in therapy, Kyle was unable to combat his emotional uneasiness. Because of confidentiality laws, the therapist did not reveal to Kyle’s parents the severity of their son’s depression. For Kyle’s family and friends, we were simply too late.
I would be a hypocrite to suggest that I have never taken Adderall. But, I can safely say that I will never take the drug again. Kyle was a man of unfaltering direction, ambition and talents. Although Kyle’s case appears to be an extreme example of Adderall’s side effects, I can conclude that if Adderall could change Kyle, it could change anyone. Abusing prescription drugs can have varying consequences on people. In Kyle’s case, the world has been robbed of a true gem. Ultimately, when it comes to such prescription drugs, Kyle’s legacy should prove to all of us that we should proceed with extreme caution.