Study Says Many College Students Use Ritalin To Stay Awake

By Beth Coombs Daily Trojan

LOS ANGELES – NoDoz, coffee and sugar have helped generations of students keep their noses in their books and their heads away from their pillows. But the latest trend in stimulants may pose a new threat.

Ritalin, the drug used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is now being used by college students who want to stay awake.

A preliminary study by Dr. Eric Heiligenstein at the University of Wisconsin found that one out of every five students had used Ritalin or similar drugs without being diagnosed with ADD.

Students reported that the drug gives them a good buzz that helps them to stay awake and concentrate on their studies.

The effects of Ritalin on students without attention disorders have not been measured.

One student at Trinity College died last March after taking Ritalin and several other prescription drugs that were not prescribed to him.

Ritalin is a controlled substance prescribed to help people who have severe problems with distractibility, short attention spans, hyperactivity, emotional instability and impulsive behavior.

These people suffer from ADD or ADHD and Ritalin genuinely helps them to think and function, said Peggy K. Han, a clinical coordinator for the University of Southern California Community Pharmacies.

Because Ritalin is a stimulant, non-prescribed use can be dangerous. When misused, it can cause hyperactivity, high blood pressure and heart problems, according to msnbc.com.

Last year, 17 million prescriptions were written for Ritalin, according to msnbc.com. At least a few of those prescriptions were filled at the USC Pharmacy, Han said.

But while Ritalin has been used to effectively treat people with ADD or ADHD, the findings of Heiligenstein’s study indicate that some students are not using the drug as it is prescribed.

Ritalin is a controlled substance labeled as CII, which means that it is in the same category of drug as other stimulants such as cocaine. Common side effects include insomnia, stomach irritation, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea and heart palpitations.

Ritalin is a pill in prescription form, but students who are use it illegally often crush it into a powder and snort it, others smoke it or mix it with a liquid and inject it. One pill of Ritalin is commonly valued at $5 to $10, according to an article published on student.com.

Romeo E-mail Virus Sweeps Through U. Penn Computer Systems

By Marla Dunn Daily Pennsylvanian

PHILADELPHIA – Throughout this week, hundreds of computers across the University of Pennsylvania campus have been infected with a virus spread through e-mail. The virus prohibits computer users from opening many programs and instead sends the virus out to other e-mail addresses.

The virus, named `BleBla.b,’ assumes the role of a “middle man” when a student attempts to open many types of files. Instead of directly opening the file, the operating system opens the virus first.

In the meantime, the virus sends itself out to all the names on a student’s contact list, according to Computing Manager and Engineering sophomore Josh Gilper. The program that users intend to open will not start up and could be destroyed.

“The virus spreads fast,” warned Information Technology Advisor and Wharton and Engineering freshman Matthew Lattman. “Faster than any virus I’ve ever seen.”

The virus – which originated in Poland and was first detected at Penn this Sunday – can be recognized by the subject line which can range from “Romeo and Juliet” to “merry christmas,” according to an e-mail sent out to on-campus students by College House Computing Associate Director Amy Phillips.

The virus only affects computer systems that use Outlook or Outlook Express to open their e-mails.

However, this virus – sometimes referred to as the “Romeo Virus” – is relatively tame and easy to fix, according to both Gilper and Lattman.

“I haven’t found any permanent damage caused by this virus,” Lattman said.

Gilper, who said he now receives about 20 infected e-mails an hour, added, that “compared to other viruses, it’s really easy to remove.”

Gilper wrote one of the first programs to remove this virus, which along with several others, “have been floating around the ITA listserv,” Lattman said.

Gilper’s advice is that computer users not download e-mail attachments that resemble the names of the e-mails sent out by the virus.

“My suggestion is when [you get an e-mail that you suspect is infected] just constantly hit `no’ or `cancel.’ Install the latest virus scan which Penn offers for free and run the latest virus updates,” he said.

Phillips also had advice for those whose computers have the virus.

“It is also recommended that if you are infected, you stop using your computer until it is cleaned. This virus appears to damage files progressively – the more you use your computer, the more files become infected,” Phillips wrote in her e-mail.

“The reason this has spread is because people don’t update their virus software,” Lattman added. “They think because they have an old version of Norton on their system, they’re going to be protected and that’s just not true.”

For College freshman Lauren Gorsky, whose computer was infected with the virus, this advice was too little, too late.

She received an e-mail with the subject “Romeo and Juliet” and, knowing the sender, decided to open it. She attempted to open the attached file and immediately her computer froze.

Gorsky had neglected to update her virus protection.

Dartmouth Murders Not Affecting Admissions, Safety Concerns

By Alexandra Friedman The Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. – The Admissions Office has not received many calls from prospective students worrying about campus safety in light of the Zantop tragedy, Dean of Dartmouth Admissions Karl Furstenberg said.

In fact, Frustenberg said the calls he has received are even fewer than what he had initially expected to receive in the wake of the double homicide of Susanne and Half Zantop – two professors at the College.

“The people we have heard from have generally called to offer condolences and sympathy,” he said. “We have already admitted 377 students Early Decision, and that group is still very solid. I haven’t heard from anybody saying they are nervous.”

Furstenberg is unsure as to whether there will be a drop in matriculation next fall because of the tragedy but suggested that increased curiosity and concern might be a consequence of the recent events.

“I’m sure that more people will ask questions about issues of safety on campus,” he said. “But Dartmouth has a very good record in that respect, and I don’t think [the murders] would change anybody’s decision … or deter people.”

Furstenberg suggested that one reason for the lack of concern among applicants is that the American public “might be getting used to tragedy.”

Although a terrible occurrence, he does not think that “this is so extraordinarily unusual,” due to the abundance of such tragedies, he said.

How this misfortune will affect the image of Dartmouth College is a question revolving around the minds of at least some students.

In response to this concern, Furstenberg said that it is difficult to predict whether or not the tragedy will have a lasting effect on Dartmouth admissions.

“I don’t have any speculation about [the effect on future admissions] … One of the big issues is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions,” he said.

“I am reserving judgement until we see how it all plays out; depending on the circumstances, I think there will be different reactions,” he continued.

Dartmouth, as opposed to other, larger Ivy League colleges, has always been known for the small-campus feeling of security.

Furstenberg said he has no doubt that Dartmouth will continue to be known for its safe location and friendly atmosphere, and pointed out that although some may be more wary of security on campus, “the location is still a more safe campus compared to other places we compete with.”

Tours have slowed down because of the time of year and weather conditions. Due to the lack of tours, there has not been much concern about how to respond to inquisitive prospective students and families, Furstenberg said.

Terror Suspect Speaks to USF

By Bre Jones The Oracle

TAMPA, Fla. – After more than three-and-a-half years of being detained in a Manatee County Jail as a suspected terrorist based on secret evidence, Mazen Al-Najjar not only breathed freedom Dec. 15, but he also said he carved a new precedent for Arab Americans.

With determination ringing in his voice, Al-Najjar told a crowd of about 200 Tuesday at the University of South Florida that the future of Arab Americans weighs heavily on change.

“We as Muslims and Arabs, we need to have our voices heard,” he said.

“Different people can lead us to the right place and the right way. USF is the best guide for this community to educate.”

Al-Najjar said he has won his own battle with the help of his community.

“After four years of gloomy times, I am back here with this audience, those I love and respect,” Najjar said.

After a standing audience roared with applause, James Zogby, founder of the Arab-American Institute based in Washington, D.C., supported Al-Najjar’s message. He stressed that a haziness muddies America’s understanding of Arab culture.

“Since the end of Vietnam, we have fought more wars, sent more weapons and lost more lives in the Middle East, and we don’t even have a clue what’s going on there,” Zogby said. “You can get a class in Hindi here better than anything Arab.”

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