If one assumes that kids in college only abuse alcohol and illegal drugs, then that would be a false assumption. As a matter of fact, legally obtained drugs are some of the most widely abused on college campuses. Prescription drugs are easily available, and a lot of students use them to improve academic performance.
When surveyed, one in five college students reported misuse of prescription stimulants at least once. Over half said that they were easy to get. 58% indicated that they had friends who abused prescription drugs and 28% said they would share their own prescriptions with their friends. This is led to a normalization of misuse and promoted a culture of substance abuse and addiction.
Dangers of Stimulant Drugs
Just because a drug has been doctor prescribed it does not mean that they are any safer than other substances that are usually abused. Especially when an individual is taking medications that were prescribed for someone else. Even when the individual is taking medications that were prescribed for them, if they take it in a way other than prescribed, they put themselves at increased risk. The following are some of the dangers of misusing prescription medication:
- Heart attack
- Organ damage
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty in breathing
Furthermore, students who misuse prescription stimulants are at a higher risk to misuse other substances and also engage in other unhealthy behaviors. According to studies, students who misuse prescription medication used to treat ADHD are more likely to indulge in binge drinking or become heavy alcohol consumers. They are also more likely to abuse other substances like marijuana and cocaine.
Abuse of prescription stimulants can lead to to the individual developing tolerances and dependency over time, and individuals start taking higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects. Consequently, these students can try different drugs and develop substance abuse problems.
Addressing Prescription Stimulant Abuse
Before one can look at addressing a student’s substance abuse problem, one must look at the reasons behind why a student is misusing the medications. There may be a variety of reasons, such as:
- Wanting to improve their grades
- Wanting to reduce stress
- Wanting to feel good
- Wanting to ease anxiety
- As a distraction
Students often have a desire to fit in with their peers, and this is one of the main reasons for them to start using and misusing prescription medications.
It is important to identify early signs of substance abuse and address the problem before it begins. If someone observes an individual taking higher doses of medication, or using it more compulsively, then it can be an indication of a larger problem. In the case of students, they must find other ways to manage their stresses, rather than relying on prescription medications. Following on from that, it is important for students to be educated about the dangers and risks associated with prescription stimulants. Many students are misinformed about the consequences of prescription drug use, and that it may not actually enhance their performance, but actually hinder them, while also putting them at risk for addiction.
Is your college going child at risk for prescription medication abuse? We can help you find the right resources for them recover. Call The Villa to find out how we can support sober living.