GCSE students are 'twice as likely as uni students to take potentially dangerous study drugs'

Bonnie Christian

British teenagers have reported popping potentially dangerous pills to help them revise for their exams, a new study has revealed.

Students sitting their GSCEs are twice as likely to take illicit prescription drugs to boost their performance than university students, according to new research by YouGov.

One in seven teenagers aged 13 to 16 have said they have used drugs typically prescribed to people with conditions like ADHD, narcolepsy and alzheimer's.

Study drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin and Modafinil can enhance memory, alertness and focus for several hours but also have potentially dangerous side effects such as anxiety, sleeplessness and a higher risk of psychosis and heart attacks.

Both Ritalin and Adderall are Class B drugs, meaning that possessing them without a prescription could land users with a prison sentence of up to five years.

The research showed that of students who had taken GCSEs in the past two years, one in seven had taken study drugs without prescription.

The number dropped to one in 14 among those who had recently taken A-levels.

The number among those who had completed undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in the past two years was one in 18.

A quarter of A-level students said that the majority of their close friends had taken them during exam season, with half saying at least ‘a few of them’ have. One in eleven said ‘most’ or ‘all’ did so.

The study also found just under 60 percent of people taking GCSE, A-level and undergraduate and postgraduate exams in the past two years said they consumed more sugary snacks during exam season and more than half consumed caffeine.