Prescription drug abuse has been a rising problem among college students for several years, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky.
Though it is the second highest drug problem in the U.S. today, prescription drug abuse has received little media attention compared to abuse of other substances like marijuana and cocaine.
Recently, campaigns against prescription drug abuse have been forming around the country on college campuses.
Indiana is on the verge of spreading such campaigns after conducting a survey over the past few years.
These campaigns will involve most of the colleges in Indiana, but their intensity is decided by each school.
Most schools, like Butler University, only have a certain amount of money each year that goes towards health-related campaigns.
For example, according to Vicky Rosa, director of health services on campus, Butler only has about $1,000 to $2,000 this year to implement all of its health campaigns.
A recent article in Science Daily explains the increase in prescription drug use and lists the factors that have lead to it.
“These increases are likely the result of many factors, including improved awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of several disorders, increased duration of treatment, availability of new medications and increased marketing,” the article said.
We watch TV and see the commercials that market new medications.
The more medications that are brought into the prescription market, the more people will be able to get ahold of them.
The more people that are prescribed these drugs, the more potential sellers there are on campuses.
On Butler’s campus, there is a strong presence of medications like Adderall, Vicodin and Klonopin, which when taken recreationlly cause adverse effects.
Students use Adderall to help them stay awake through the night, to study or finish homework last-minute.
Some even use the medication to lose weight because it decreases appetite.
Vicodin, a painkiller, is used for its feel-good effect.
According to one Butler student, who wished to remain anonymous, the stresses of college life are eased with the use of painkillers like Vicodin.
Klonopin, prescribed to those with anxiety, makes the recreational user feel instantly calm and relaxed. Students use it recretionally for this purpose.
These medications are usually illegally sold to students through other students that are legally prescribed to them by a healthcare professional.
From talking to several students, I discovered that the prices for one prescription pill can range from $2 to $20, depending on the time of year.
No one I spoke to seemed worried about the ramifications of taking a medication that is not their own.
When I explained that some people our age have actually died from this, they were unphased.
Many said that they didn’t use prescription drugs on a regular basis, so they didn’t think it was a problem.
Is it simply like caffeine or nicotine, or much worse?
The answer is simple. If a substance is prescribed for a disorder but is used recreationally, it is immoral and illegal.
Many people in college do not think about the long-term consequences of prescription drug abuse.
Taking a drug “every once in a while” might not effect you very much now, but it is hard to tell what it could do to your body in the future.
The prescription drug problem needs to be brought to the students’ and the administration’s attention before it becomes an even larger problem.
I think that through everyone’s involvement, it can become a top priority for health departments in colleges everywhere.
It comes down to making sure you are taking care of yourself above everything else. It can be hard to do, but it isn’t impossible.
If we can master time management, Adderall won’t be a necessary crutch for students.
If students can learn to relax in constructive ways, the illegal use of Vicodin and Klonopin will also disappear.
College life isn’t about seeking a high. It’s about learning to be comfortable in your own skin.