Posted on August 8, 2008 in Alcohol and Drug Treatment

A Prescription For Danger

College students may be walking into a CVS pharmacy drug free, but they certainly aren’t leaving empty handed. In a recent study conducted by Reuters, prescription drugs have become one of the most abused substances by college students. As a matter of fact, one-fifth of these students admitted to having bought prescription painkillers to get themselves high. The survey was comprised of 3,639 U.S. college students whose average age was just under 20 years old. A main factor in the increased use of these drugs is, of course, the easy nature of obtaining them, but another is a large misconception that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as other common street drugs such as cocaine, or heroin. In reality, the stimulants and opioids released by prescription drugs are similar if not just as dangerous as those found in street substances.

A report conducted by the University of Michigan research team showed that although the use of illicit drugs has decreased over the past decade, the use of prescription medications has done just the opposite. In the past year alone, fifteen percent of 12th grade students admitted to having abused prescription drugs. One theory that can be used to describe the rise in prescription abuse is that college aged students have much more freedom than that of high school students. Although many college dorms have a policy that illegal drugs can’t be used on the premises, there is often no policing done to make sure the students abide by the rule. Which makes it much easier for students to get together and abuse any type of harmful substance.

The increase in prescription drug abuse is an ongoing problem in the U.S. especially amongst teens entering college, and hopefully by using information studies and outreach programs, students will be able to realize the harmful effects that can come from using these types of drugs and they can seek out help.

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