The term “study drug” is often used to refer to prescription stimulant medication such as Adderall or Ritalin. These drugs have become increasingly popular among college students due to their perceived ability to increase memory, concentration, alertness, attention, and motivation. However, abusing these drugs and taking someone else’s prescription can be extremely dangerous. According to a National survey on drug use and health, reported full time college students are twice as likely to have used Adderall non-medically as their counterparts who are not full time students. The misuse of prescription drugs can lead to dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat, seizures or heart attack. Student often don’t think about the adverse effects because there is little negative stigma attached to taking these pills. One of our best ways to stop this trend is to increase awareness of the issue, not just education about the negative effects but encouraging your student to integrate healthier study habits into their daily lifestyle.
Prescription Drug Abuse
When used the right way and under a doctor’s supervision, prescription drugs are safe and effective in treating countless medical conditions. However, misuse of prescription drugs on college campuses around the country is a growing concern. Talk to your student about taking their medication only as directed, keeping it in a safe place, and not sharing medications with anyone, regardless of the reason. Remind them, it is illegal to take a prescription if it not prescribed for you.
|Used to Treat||How they Work||Potential Problems|
(Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall)
|Narcolepsy, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other conditions||Speed up brain activity causing increased alertness, attention and energy, increased heart rate and breathing||Increased blood pressure can place added strain on the heart, and increase the risk of decreased respiration|
(Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Ambien)
|Anxiety, tension, panic attacks, and sleep disorders||Slow down or "depress" the functions of the brain and central nervous system||Poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, lowered blood pressure and slowed breathing|
(Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Methadone)
|Moderate to severe pain, may be prescribed after surgery||Block pain messages from reaching the brain||Can cause respiratory depression, slow and shallow breathing|
Although, prescription drug abuse on America’s campuses is a major public health and safety concern, it’s important for parents and students to know that not everyone is doing it. Still the pressure and availability to misuse or abuse prescription drugs is a real issue on college campuses. Consider the following when having a conversation with your student about drug use:
Have discussions with your student about expectations regarding drug use. Use this time to clear up any misperceptions about usage, especially among their peers.
Do not let distance discourage you from asking about your student's daily life. Maintain communication and ask specific open-ended questions to help give you an indication of any problems. Examples may include: What do you do for fun? What is your favorite class you're taking this quarter?
If you suspect your student may have a problem, address it right away. Please visit our resource tab for on- and off-campus services.
Encourage your student to think long-term about how drug use can affect their life goals. Remember- even the best students make mistakes; don't give up on your student!