BOISE -- There is a growing trend on school campuses nationwide. Students are taking prescription drugs, not to get high, but to improve their grades. One of the more popular drugs of choice is Adderall which is intended to treat attention deficit disorders.
"A lot of students say they do a lot better when they take it," said Cami Bailey, a junior at Boise State University.
"From what I've heard, it definitely helps you study more," said Matthew Duarte, a junior at BSU.
Students call them "study drugs" or "study buddies."
"A friend of mine used to use it," said Alex Ridgeway, a sophomore at BSU.
Misuse often begins with good intentions.
"It was for when he would procrastinate, and he only had one or two nights to get a big assignment done, a big paper done or whatever it was. And he could take Adderall, stay up through the entire night and still be focused the next day," said Ridgeway.
The widespread abuse nationwide is the focus of a report Thursday night on "Rock Center with Brian Williams." NBC reporter Kate Snow told KTVB students think of Adderall as an academic steroid.
"They see it like no different than Red Bull or caffeine or coffee. But frankly when you talk to medical doctors, which we have, it's quite different. It's a stimulant. It is an amphetamine," said Snow.
We found similar stories with local students, students they know of who misuse the drug to gain that academic advantage.
"Just wanting to get stuff done. There is a lot of pressure in college, taking a lot of classes," said Duarte.
"A lot of people use it, like that I know, use it for studying, staying up to study. They just focus better. Helps them focus and gets stuff done," said Bailey.
But too often, students fail to see the drug's dangers.
"If you have ADHD it will help you. If you don't, you'll become tolerant to it. You'll need more and more and it can have really dangerous side effects like heart problems, even stroke or seizures," said Snow.
For Ridgeway's friend, the good intentions ended with bad consequences, "He ended up dropping out."
The head of Boise State's Health Services says they don't condone or encourage the misuse of prescription drugs. He says counseling services are available for students dealing with the pressures of academics.
"Rock Center" airs at 9pm Thursday on Idaho's NewsChannel 7.