Story Update: The Final Touches

After reworking my story with the new information from my interview with Stephanie Greeney Hamlin I am much happier with how the story has turned out. Greeney Hamlin was a great source of information, especially since she started a program to specifically target non-medical use of prescription drugs in sororities and fraternities. I am still in need of one visual to accompany my story and I didn’t realize how hard acquiring visuals would prove to be for this story. I have a friend with an Adderall prescription and I plan to take a picture of the pills he has to serve as my last visual.

I am still collecting survey results and I plan on reaching the magic number of 100 survey results by the time December comes around. To accomplish this I am going to ask my friends to send the survey link to their classes via blackboard. I don’t think the data will change much after these new survey results, but it is important to get these results so that the survey can be statistically significant. The survey finding I was most surprised by was that students reported Adderall as the second most popular option for staying awake while studying. The fact that Coffee was the main option doesn’t surprise me, but I thought more students would choose energy drinks before turning to prescription drugs.

Story update: Survey and Revisions

With my the first version of my story completed I have shifted my attention toward gathering survey information to include in an infographic. The survey was simple to put together via a Google form and now I just have to find enough participants to have a representative random sample of San Diego State students. I plan to share the link in the Facebook group of my graduating class and send the link to my classmates via blackboard. I also plan to distribute a flyer with information on how to participate in the survey. This information is vital to my final story so I want to make sure every step of the information gathering is done correctly.

After receiving edits to the first version of my story I have done additional interviews and reporting to fill in some gaps with the story. I have contacted more students to get their opinions on non-prescription drug usage and I plan on incorporating those interviews with my survey results.

Story Update: Research done, interviews pending

Now three weeks into my story on Adderall usage among college students I am a bit behind the curve as far as resource gathering. I have basically all of the research done on Adderall, but need to schedule some interviews and get student feedback on the issue.

I plan on putting together a survey this week to hand out in my classes to get data on roughly how many students at SDSU have taken Adderall and what percentage of students consider it cheating. I also plan on calling student health services to find out what resources the school has to offer students who are overworked and sleep deprived and if they have treated students for exhaustion after using Adderall. Later in the week I will walk around campus and interview students at random to get their opinions on the drug and whether it should be an issue the SDSU Police Department cracks down on. This should provide enough resources for me to complete a first draft of the story, but I will continue searching for a source who is willing to go on the record about his/her Adderall use.

Adderall usage among college students: The beginning

Last week I selected my topic for the ongoing story package I will be working on this semester. It didn’t take me long to come up with the idea since Adderall use among college students has been a story I have been wanting to investigate for awhile now. The topic was presented to me around six months ago by a fellow member of the investigative team at The Daily Aztec and I made a note of it and put it aside for when I would have the time to do it.

Now’s the time to look into it and here is what I’m trying to find out:

  • What percentage of students are taking Adderall for a non-medical purpose?
  • Why are these students reverting to Adderall as opposed to coffee, red bull or other caffeinated drinks used to help students cram for an exam or finish a big homework project?
  • What is the risk vs. reward benefit of taking Adderall? Are there lingering health problems associated with it?

I might encounter some problems getting sources to talk on the record about illegally obtaining and taking Adderall, but I have some friends who can introduce me to many people who do take Adderall so I’m hoping one of them will be willing to go on record. I am also planning on  doing an anonymous survey in several of my classes to gather data on Adderall usage at San Diego State.