LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- On college campuses across Southern California, it's approaching 'finals season,' and that means students are hitting the books and sacrificing sleep to cram for exams.
But, in an alarming trend, a growing number of students are abusing the powerful prescription medication Adderall -- the drug commonly prescribed for ADD or ADHD -- to help get to the head of the class.
Many students insist there is nothing wrong with "the Adderall advantage."
"I just wasn't prepared enough for my finals, so I decided to take Adderall to help me have the extra push," a student named "Gina" told KTLA.
"It's pretty easy to get your hands on," said another student of the medication, which is commonly referred to as "college crack" or "study buddies."
"It made me feel like I could accomplish anything I wanted to, and really helped focus my energy in a short amount of time," a student named "Jenny" said.
One in five college student admits to using Adderall without ever having been diagnosed with an attention disorder.
Just as athletes use steroids to enhance their performance on the field, students use Adderall to enhance their concentration, their motivation and their performance in the classroom.
And Adderall pushers make it easy for student to score the tiny tablets without a doctor's prescription.
"How much it costs depends on the kind of pill... and whether it's the tablet of the kind that's slow-release," Jenny explained.
"Some of the little tablets can be around $7, but some of the larger ones can be up to $15."
But is it really a small price to pay for an "A"?
"The common side effects of taking Adderall, in general, would be headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, increased heart rate," said Dr. Philantha Kon.
"If you're not prescribed it and being monitored closely, there could be some increased blood pressure... seizures."
The Adderall abusers KTLA spoke to said they do not fear flunking, but they did not want to be identified, out of fear that their parents would find out how they make honor roll.
"They'd be disappointed just because it's illegal to take a prescription drug that's not prescribed to you," one of the students said.
Experts say parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of abusing Adderall.
According to a recent study, full time college students who used Adderall non-medically were three items more likely to also have sued marijuana.
Most students KTLA spoke to insisted they only used the Adderall advantage during exam and heavy crunch times in school, not every day.
But psychiatrists say it is imperative to note that this type of medication can be powerfully addictive.