American high school and college students are currently facing an epidemic like no other. Prescription drug use by these students is becoming part of their daily routine. The use of psycho-stimulant medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, to heighten their academic performance tempts almost every one of these students daily. Before I continue with this discussion about the overmedication of young students in America, I want to make it clear that it is not my intention to debate the reality, validity, or treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Melika Loe's article, "The Prescription of a New Generation", makes this problem of overmedication very apparent. These young students have been socialized in a culture of instant gratification. When they have a question that needs answering, they send a text message, an email, or make a quick phone call to get it. If someone does not feel well, then they go to see a doctor who will give them a prescription to fix it; whether their condition actually warrants a prescription is debatable. Every problem that people encounter in modern America has a "quick-fix" solution. .
Rather than being so hasty to medicate people, I believe that there needs to be a higher emphasis on behavior modification. A major issue that I take with medicating is that medications only treat the biological and physiological "problems" that people encounter. They do not account for any social effects on the individual. Although behavior modifications take more time to have an effect, I believe that they would have more positive, long-term effects on the individual. Behavior modifications allow the person to make lifestyle changes and take personal responsibility for the problem. It also grants people the opportunity to fix their own problems independent from chemical (medicinal) assistance. This enables a person to be self-empowered as a result of taking over the condition.