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Biosfääri ry’s Statement on Ylioppilaslehti’s Article on Enhancing Work with ADHD Medication

Ylioppilaslehti published an article on September 8, 2023, titled “Journalist Tests Enhanced Work Performance with ADHD Medication.”

Ylioppilaslehti is Finland’s oldest and largest student newspaper, known for its potential for high-quality journalism. However, this time Ylioppilaslehti has made a mistake.

In the article, an anonymous journalist tests someone else’s prescription medication to enhance their own work performance, describing how they become an “animal” and feel “energized/drugged,” and then the article transitions into discussing recreational medication use. At the same time, the people who genuinely need prescription medication are suffering from availability issues. The article completely ignores the group that needs medication to cope with everyday life in a society built for neurotypical individuals, namely, people with ADHD and others who require ADHD medication, such as those with narcolepsy. Misuse of medication as a tool for studying and working is a real phenomenon, but the topic could have been approached from various perspectives of investigative journalism. Marginalizing an already marginalized group is not acceptable.

We find the comments made by Ylioppilaslehti’s editor-in-chief in an article in Helsingin Sanomat and in Ylioppilaslehti’s Instagram post on September 13, 2023, regarding this article equally perplexing. The editor-in-chief claims that the article criticizes society’s culture of achievement and the misuse of medication through humor. However, this message does not come across in the text. On the contrary, it gives readers the impression of normalizing an efficiency-centric culture and romanticizing medication misuse, if not encouraging it. Despite the feedback, the editorial team still stands by the article and defends it, stating that “it is good.”

The article can also be seen as a violation of HYY’s ownership guidance document (Y-KOOMA), in which Ylioppilaslehti is obligated, among other things, to commit to the principles of equality and diversity, as well as adhering to HYY’s principles of creating a safer space. These principles state that if you violate them, you should apologize.

Making mistakes is human, and it happens to everyone. Acknowledging and sincerely apologizing for them are the first steps toward moving forward. However, please note that an apology is not an apology for someone else’s emotional reaction, such as hurt feelings.

The Student Union allocates a third of a million euros from its budget to Ylioppilaslehti annually. We believe in Ylioppilaslehti’s role as a credible and impactful provider of independent journalism. However, we do not expect this kind of conduct.

Support for Studies Through Special Arrangements

It is estimated that 15-20% of the population is neurodivergent, and approximately 3-4% of adults have ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are many aspects of society’s structures and culture that discriminate against neurodivergent individuals, and our university students also have to face them in their everyday lives and studies. For example, students may have to demand their rights to accommodations in their studies because, despite the provision of special arrangements, obtaining them can sometimes be challenging.

You can seek help and information about neurodiversity, such as ADHD, from organizations like YTHS, Nyyti ry, and the ADHD Association’s website. You can also apply for special arrangements at the university to support your studies by contacting or the university study counselor. You can find more information and guidelines in the links below.

P.S. If you are a member of the university staff, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the special guidelines for teachers:


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