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Adderall and the NFL

Adderall and the NFL

As the MLB continues to struggle handling their epidemic of players using Performance Enhancing Drugs, the NFL’s problem with PED is only beginning. Since the 2010 season, there have been 50 suspensions from PED.

The Seattle Seahawks lead the league with five suspensions for players testing positive for Adderall, with the Denver Broncos and New York Giants right behind them with four each. Only 10 teams in the league have not had players test positively. But it seems every year there are more and more suspensions.

The problem lies heavily with younger players. Players who come out of college are used to taking this pill for just about everything. Need to write a paper? Pop an Adderall. Have to cram for a test? Take another. Need to perform well in the big game this week? Go ahead, it only helps.

Although Adderall differs from steroids, in that it does not make you bigger or stronger, it is certainly a PED. It helps people focus in on whatever is the task at hand. It is a stimulant, working similarly the way amphetamines work. Users feel a euphoric sensation while on the doctor-approved drug.

Adderall is the drug to help people with Attention Deficit Disorder calm down and focus. But people who do not have ADD and use it recreationally have symptoms similar to cocaine and speed symptoms while on it, giving it the popular nickname on college campuses, “Diet Coke.”

It is an extremely helpful drug. If you know anyone with severe ADD, you know how big of a difference they can be on, and off, their medication. But even people who do not have ADD can become dependent on the drug, making the adjustment to life after college difficult to cope with deprived of it.

And this is where the problem gets complicated. Some players most likely need the drug to stay level-headed. But Adderall is a relatively new drug, and like most new drugs, younger and younger people are going to hear about it, get curious, try it, like it, and use it more and more.

The problem is almost like a riddle. Sure, odds are there are tons of guys who have ADD who have recently been drafted. But is it any more fair that they get to use the drug than someone who doesn’t have ADD but used it in college? And for those who believe it is, then where do you draw the line?

It is irrational to believe that they will make acceptations like doctor notes and proof of prescriptions and similar things mandatory if they somehow allow this drug to be permitted to players. It’s more irrational to allow players to use a drug that enhances performance. But it is completely rational to believe this will be a drug that will be around for a while.

Adderall is a proven performance enhancer. Fifty players have been suspended, but how long will it be before young players learn they cannot use this pill? And if players start to doubt themselves without the pill, then they shouldn’t have been drafted in the first place. They’re no different than the people in baseball who can’t hit home runs without steroids.

Football is a game of talent. Tough luck if you don’t have the talent. Don’t take a pill that makes you able to compete.