English 162 October 4,2012 New Drug Epidemic on College Campuses Prescription drug abuse among college students is a growing trend on most campuses. Students are using these drugs inappropriately to not only “get high”, but to help with concentration when cramming for papers or tests, to self-medicate for anxiety or depression, and even to enhance their stamina when playing sports. Many people have stereotypes of what an alcoholic or addict is, and most people don’t associate that image with young students.
Although drug education has been mandatory in the US throughout grade school drug use continues to rise in college students. College is known as a time for experimentation, but for some students experimentation can turn into addiction. Being young and in college doesn’t protect you from addiction. Responsible behavior does. Alcohol and drug use among students is a serious problem. Campus environments are often seen as encouraging not only use but abuse. Binge-drinking (drinking to get drunk, usually considered at least four drinks on any occasion) is one form of substance abuse that is very common among students.
Alcohol and drugs pose special problems for students. The average student who has one drink a day earns a GPA at only a C-level, and grades plummet with higher consumption. Women need to drink only half what male students do to cause the same effect on their grades. Almost half of academic problems come from abusing alcohol. It’s also a factor in about a third of drop-outs. In an environment where binge-drinking is common, so are substance-related legal offences and injuries. Illegal drugs, underage possession of alcohol and drunk driving can costs fines and jail time.
Fights, sexual assault, and injuries are more likely to happen when one has been drinking or doing drugs. Half of campus injuries are alcohol-related. One third of people who die in drunken driving crashes are under 25 years old. It’s the leading cause of death for young people. In 2010, an estimated 22. 6 million Americans aged 12 or older—or 8. 9 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication (such as a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer). This is up from 8. 3 percent in 2002.
The increase mostly reflects a recent rise in the use of marijuana, the most commonly used illicit drug. [www. oasamhas. gov/] Prescription drug abuse is when someone takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else or takes their own prescription in a manner or dosage other than what was prescribed. There’s a reason that prescription drugs are intended to be taken under the direction of a doctor: if used improperly they can be dangerous. Teens are making the decision to abuse prescription medicines based on misinformation.
In fact, many people think that abusing prescription drugs is safer than abusing illicit drugs. Some people take other people’s drugs for their intended purposes (to relieve pain, to stay awake, or to fall asleep). Others take them to get high, often at larger doses than prescribed, or by a different route of administration. Most prescription drugs come in pill or capsule form. Sometimes, people who abuse prescription drugs break or crush the pill or capsule, then swallow the drug, sniff it, or “cook” it—turn it to liquid—and then inject it.
What’s wrong with Abusing Prescription Drugs? Taking a drug for another purpose than prescribed. As the facts will tell you, prescription drugs can have dangerous short- and long-term health consequences when used incorrectly or by someone other than for whom they were intended. All of the drug types soon mentioned can produce pleasurable effects at sufficient quantities, so taking them for the purpose of getting high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. ADHD drugs like Adderall are also often abused by students for their effects in promoting alertness and concentration.
When abused, prescription drugs may be taken in inappropriate doses or by routes of administration that change the way the drugs act in the body, risking overdose. For example, when people who abuse oxycodone (OxyContin) they crush and inhale the pills, a 12-hour dose hits their central nervous system all at once—which increases their risk of addiction and overdose. Almost every medication presents some risk of undesirable side effects, sometimes even serious ones. Doctors consider the potential benefits and risks to each patient before prescribing medications.
They understand that drugs affect the body in many ways and take into account things like the drug’s form and dose, its possible side effects, and the potential for addiction or withdrawal. For example, doctors know how to change the dose of a painkiller to prevent withdrawal symptoms. People who abuse drugs might not understand how these factors may affect them or that prescription drugs do more than cause a high, help them stay awake, help them relax, or relieve pain. Abuse can include taking a friend’s or relative’s prescription to get high, to treat pain, or because you think it will help with studying.
The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are: opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin; stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin; and central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax. The most commonly abused OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan. It is sometimes abused to get high, which requires large doses (more than what is on the package instructions) that can be dangerous.
Prescription drugs have chemical names, brand names you may have heard before, and street names. Hillbilly heroin, oxy, OC, oxycotin, percs, happy pills, vikes are for Opaids. Depressants can be called Barbs, reds, red birds, phennies, tooies, yellows, yellow jackets, candy, downers, sleeping pills, tranks and stimulants Skippy, the smart drug, Vitamin R, bennies, black beauties, roses, hearts, speed, uppers. When abused, prescription drugs may be taken in inappropriate doses or by routes of administration that change the way the drugs act in the body, risking overdose.
Rehab clinics have seen the sharp increased in the number of college students entering for treatment in the past 10 years. In correspondence to the increasing abuse of prescription opiates, abuse of heroin is also increasing among people age 18-25. For many prescription opiates are a stepping stone to heroin, which provides a greater high for a cheaper price. There continues to be a large “treatment gap” in this country. In 2010, an estimated 23. 1 million Americans (9. 1 percent) needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only about 2. million people (1 percent) received treatment What can you do to help someone you suspect is abusing prescription drugs? Abusing prescription drugs is a dangerous thing. If you suspect someone that you love of abusing these drugs then it may be time to get some information. If you are the parent then talk to their doctor about the prescription and what the dosage was. Explain that you feel that they may be abusing these pills. Make an appointment and ask their doctor to talk to them. People don’t necessarily aim to become addicted to these pills but it happens too often. That is why these pills can only be obtained by a doctor.
If you suspect a friend of abusing prescription drugs, calmly sit down and talk to them. Never accuse someone of being addicted by doing so they may become defensive and not only will you not get any answers but you could end up alienating them as well. Talk to a school guidance counselor or parents if you suspect that a friend is abusing prescription drugs. The goal is to get them help and not lose the friendship. They will need you and they need your friendship. Tell them about the other health risks that could happen and that you will be there for them and that you will get through it together.
Support is a great thing to have. When someone has a drug problem, it’s not always easy to know what to do. If you are concerned about someone’s drug use (illicit or prescription), encourage him or her to talk to a parent, school guidance counselor, or other trusted adult. There are also anonymous resources, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is a crisis hotline that can help with many problems, not just suicide. This includes problems due to drug use.
Family and friends who are concerned about a loved one or anyone interested in mental health treatment referrals can call this Lifeline. In addition, the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP)—offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—refers callers to treatment facilities, support groups, and other local organizations that can provide help for their specific needs. You can also locate treatment centers in your state by going to. A person who takes drugs whether prescription or not above and beyond the prescribed amount is a person who abuses prescription drugs.
Statistics say that there is an estimated 36 million people in the United States alone between the ages of 12 years old and older have abused prescription drugs at least one time in their lives. The most common prescription drugs often abused are Xanax, Valium, Ritalin, OxyCotin and Vicodin. These prescriptions start out being given by a doctor for an injury or treatment. Drug use, also involving marijuana and alcohol is common among college students across the nation. Students can usually articulate why they have chosen to use drugs, but they all fail to consider the long-term consequences of recreational drug use.
These long-term effects include committing crimes, academic failure, medical problems and social problems. English 162 Oct 3, 2012 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at American Colleges and Universities (New York: 2007). National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. You’ve Got Drugs: IV: Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet (New York, 2007). Teens and Prescription Drugs: An Analysis of Recent Trends on the Emerging Drug Threat (Washington, D.
C. : Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2007). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-32, DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4293). Rockville, MD, 2007. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Reprinted 2008). This publication provides an overview of the science behind the disease of addiction. Publication #NIH 08-5605. Available online at www. drugabuse. gov/scienceofaddiction.
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