The Adderall Games

Photo by Emmanuel Vargas

By Emmanuel Vargas

The electronic sports scene (E-sports) is on the verge of placing a ban on Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Adderall, also known as, “Upper” or “Speed”, is an abused drug among athletes, college students and pro-gamers because of its performance enhancing effects. People who misuse Adderall develop a dependency in which the drug must be taken to perform basic skills or alleviate stress and exhaustion.

Believe it or not, full time college students are twice as likely to develop an addiction. 116,000 people were treated for addiction to drugs like adderall in 2012 alone, according to

Adderall is the equivalent of steroids in the pro-gaming world. But the drug does not enhance physical strengths; it enhances mental strength. Adderall has been put into question as to whether pro-gamers should be tested for use of the drug.

It’s not hard to obtain Adderall, which makes it common among casual and pro-gamers. The price range varies from $10-$40 a pop. Some known players admit that there whole team was on non-prescribed Adderall. A renowned competitive pro-gamer known as Semphis admitted in an interview that a majority of pro-players abuse Adderall.

Misuse of the drug becomes a bigger issue when money is involved. When it gets to higher level of international play, it is expected that everyone plays on an even surface without the use of performance enhancers. The top grossing E-sports games include Dota 2, League of legends, StarCraft 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The gross revenue generated from these games range from $10M-$60M, depending on player popularity. 

Many people believe that adderall should be nipped in the bud to reduce further implications. Pro-gaming advocate and avid Twitter user @jetsetjamerson agrees that it should be looked at more carefully. 

He feels that shaping the gaming scene while it’s young will result in a better future for E-sports. Jamerson isn’t just your average player, he also does freelance for CS:GO as a shoutcaster/commentator for E-sports Arena. He truly cares for the success and endeavors of gaming in general.

As the gaming scene stands, people already have misconceptions about who gamers are as a person. If the gaming scene has a problem such as the abuse of a drug and the “outside world” doesn’t know of it yet, it’s only a matter of time until that gets added to the list of misconceptions that gamers carry. 

The highest paying games are Dota 2 and League of Legends. The number 1 team in Dota 2 gets a prize pool of $20,261,993. Games with such a high stake value are treated more seriously like professional sports. The first steps toward banning Adderall are to recognize is it as an enhancement for non-prescribed players. 

In essence it’s cheating. The drug allows one to perform at a level one cannot instantly achieve. Adderall is widely accepted by pro-gamers and the gaming community alike, which makes it more difficult to place a ban without creating an up-stir in the E-sport scene.

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) is meeting with the National Anti Doping agency (NADA) on implementing a ban. If passed, the ban would test players prior and or during a match.

“[Player Enhancing Drugs] (PEDs) is a topic we are discussing at an organizational level and we will need to address industry wide moving forward to maintain competitive integrity.” said the ESL’s Anna Rozwandowicz in an article from the Daily Dot.