Prescription Drug Abuse at College: What Parents Need to Know
When sending kids to college for the first time, many parents remember all the “good stuff” they once experienced—the exhilarating freedom of being away from home; amazing adventures (intellectual and otherwise); and exciting new friendships. College is a time to try new things. But this flexibility has a dark side. Unfortunately, many college kids experiment with drugs—and this can lead to health problems and criminal consequences. In today’s post, we’ll shine a spotlight on prescription drug issues on university campuses and what (if anything) concerned parents can do about them.
How Bad Is the Prescription Drug Problem?
Since Animal House (and no doubt well before even that), popular culture has loved to stereotype college students as fundamentally debauched. Wild parties with lots of underage drinking certainly occur. But prescription drug use may be even more dangerous–and it’s on the rise. Consider these sobering numbers from a national survey on drug use:
- 28.1 percent of young adults between 18 and 25 report misusing prescription drugs at least once.
- 13.7 percent of adults in the same age range said they misused prescriptions in the past year.
- The DEA reports that an average of 559 college students abuse prescription painkillers every day, and 415 abuse stimulants.
- 9 percent of college students say they misuse stimulants prescribed to treat attention deficit or sleep disorders.
- More college students abuse amphetamines than their non-college peers.
Why They Do It
What motivates college students to play this dangerous game?
- Many take drugs their friends offer as part of a social experience.
- Others use them to deal with psychological issues, like anxiety or depression.
- Prescription medications have a reputation for being safer than street drugs, because medical professionals control them.
- The most common reason students take prescriptions is to stay awake. Adderall and Ritalin enable students to cram for tests or finish assignments. They also keep students going for long nights of partying–but a party can turn dangerous fast with these chemicals. Stimulants affect heart rate and blood pressure. Taken in large doses, they can cause hallucinations and cardiac arrest.
What Parents Can Do
First and foremost, educate your kids about the health risks and legal consequences of using medications illegally. Teach them good study habits (so they won’t feel pressured to cram last minute) and get them to care about living a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, learn the signs of prescription drug abuse. Stay connected, even if your children no longer live at home.
Review the following links for detailed insight:
- Talking to Your Kids about Prescription Drug Abuse
- A Parent’s Guide to Teen Drug Abuse Prevention
- What to Do If Your Teen or Young Adult Has a Problem with Drugs
If your child has been arrested and accused of a crime related to prescription drugs, contact a qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced legal team (based in Alpharetta) is standing by to help. Call us for a private case evaluation at 678-459-5659.