CU Boulder's #AdderallProblems campaign is #crazy

CU Boulder's #AdderallProblems campaign is #crazy

CultureDecember 17, 2013

It's happened to the best of us; we pop an Adderall, expecting to stay up all night studying or working on a project. And that's always what happens...right?

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WRONG! Instead, your body gets launched into a colorful, whirling hyper-space of cleaning, anxiety, cleaning, forgetting to pee, talking, dry-mouth, hallucinating historical figures, more cleaning, and what can only be described as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" meets "2001: A Space Odyssey" inside your brain. Nothing good ever happens on Adderall, unless you consider spending 45 minutes talking to the library security guards about how much you miss Pluto a 'good' thing. Sure, your room is so beautifully organized that it would give Martha Stewart a boner, but did taking it really help you study? We're gonna go with a big fat 'no' on that one.

Even the Colorado Daily noticed the trend, writing that, instead of studying, students who take Adderall often "spend the night forgetting to eat or drink," which is probably the funniest thing they've ever said. ("Whatever shall we do tonight, darling?" "Let's forget to eat and drink!" "But of course!")

But CU Boulder's community health department is taking on this issue with their humorous new campaign, ever-so-cleverly entitled #AdderallProblems. The point of the campaign is to juxtapose what students think will happen when they take Adderall to what it's really like to ride the twitchy, neurotic dragon, so that students without an attention deficit disorder will reconsider before taking it.

"You think you're going to take an Adderall and study all night but instead you end up cleaning your house three times," said Kathryn Dailey, who is the peer development and implementation coordinator at CU's community health office.  "We're helping people start to realize the difference between expectation and reality to bring up that cognitive dissonance so they can potentially reconsider their behavior."

The campaign itself comes in the form of specially designed Someecards that are strategically placed around the UMC. They catch your attention with timeless witticisms such as, "I CAN'T STOP STARING" and  "Yelling at yourself to stop talking to yourself," forcing you to recall the last time you swallowed an Adderall only to have a five-hour conversation with your feet about why you'll never forgive your roommate for deleting last night's episode of "My Big Redneck Vacation" from the DVR.

CU's campaign is interesting, because it's not suggesting that you stop eating Adderall because it's bad for you per se, or because it's illegal to abuse prescription drugs, but because the drug doesn't always do what it's promised to do. It's kind of like having a more experienced older sibling who tells you things like, "When you do acid, remember that trees aren't vibrators," or "Next time you free base cocaine, don't free base cocaine; free base crack because it's cheaper."

We have to hand it to the community health department at CU for realizing that making things funny makes them approachable. Now, with that said, we'll be collecting any Adderall you'd like to discard and you know, "keeping it safe for you."

Bonus fun: CU isn't the first entity to think of the #AdderallProblems handle...check out this Twitter.