Reposting a comment from the OP.
We should be very careful distinguishing between abuse and illegality. Although many of these students obtain the drug illegally, far fewer "abuse" the drugs in any serious sense.
Stims are useful and they work. Some of these students are purposefully using these tools to enhance their abilities. This isn't abuse, this is technological change. Calling it abuse and stigmatizing it is completely counterproductive, and serves to exacerbate the health risks.
Instead, we should be figuring out ways to make sure these kinds of stims are safe for the purposes for which they are being used, and we should be educating students about the potential dangers and risks associated with use to make sure their use is safe and effective. We should be attempting to cultivate social norms in which this technology can be used safely and productively.
Calling it "scary" and driving it underground will only make the drug more dangerous, more risky, and less controllable. I know prohibition is a tempting and natural response to cybernetic enhancement (and especially with drugs), but the history of the drug war should have convinced us that this is the worst possible response.
Derya Unutmaz originally shared this post:
At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents and doctors. Pills that have been a staple in some college and graduate school circles are going from rare to routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.
While these medicines tend to calm people with A.D.H.D., those without the disorder find that just one pill can jolt them with the energy and focus to push through all-night homework binges and stay awake during exams afterward. “It’s like it does your work for you,” said William, a recent graduate of the Birch Wathen Lenox School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse stimulants.