College is a time for young people to start working towards their future. Picking a major is just one of the steps that college students make. Every decision that students make during this time has an impact on their future. They must learn to balance a large and challenging load of classes, extracurricular activities, athletics, and social life. Many students find it difficult to juggle so many things, which can result in them turning to unsafe and illegal ways to help them manage everything. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 5.9% of young adults admitted to the misuse of prescription drugs in 2010. Prescription drug abuse was the second most prevalent illicit drug use category in 2010.

Why Prescription Drugs?

Prescription drug use among college students is common, but why? Below are some reasons reported:

  • Improve grades
  • Increase focus
  • Pull late-night study sessions and all-nighters
  • Diet
  • Reduce stress
  • Feel good/get high
  • Ease nervousness in social scenes
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • Forget about problems

Most students get these medications from friends or family members by stealing, buying or soliciting. Yet, another common way of obtaining these drugs is by going to doctors and lying about symptoms of anxiety, inattention, hyperactivity, and more to obtain a prescription. It seems that nowadays it is not very difficult to get these pills. However, the price for using prescription drugs comes at a high price and students may end up paying with their lives.

Pick Your Poison

There tend to be specific prescription drugs that college students often abuse (as listed below). The misuse of these drugs doesn’t always relate to the actual purpose of the drugs, and nonetheless can be dangerous and may have fatal consequences.

Stimulants (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall): These drugs are meant to treat narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs speed up brain activity causing increased alertness, attention and energy. Many students take these drugs (even though they may not have a diagnosis for ADHD) to help them focus and study longer. However, since these drugs increase blood pressure, heart rate and breathing, it can strain the heart.

Sedatives/tranquilizers (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Ambien): These drugs are meant to treat tension, panic attacks, and sleep disorders. These medications are usually misused for the overly worked or overly stressed college student that does not have a diagnosis for anxiety. These drugs slow down the functions of the brain and the nervous system. Once someone is physically dependent on these types of drugs, they can experience withdrawal seizures if they try to stop using these drugs abruptly.

Opioid Analgesics (Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Methadone): These drugs are meant to treat moderate to severe pain. by blocking pain messages from reaching the brain. However, college students will take these drugs for recreational purposes. They take these to relieve stress or to “take the edge off” as they will experience euphoria. The danger of abusing these drugs is that they can cause breathing to slow down or can cause the person to have shallow breathing.

Beware! Addiction Up Ahead!

College students may take prescription drugs to help them succeed on a test, pass a difficult class, get into a very competitive program, balance a large load of classes and activities, etc. No matter the reason, starting use can lead to prescription drug addiction. Some warning signs that could illustrate addiction include:

  • Using the medication more frequently or at higher doses than the doctor’s orders.
  • Using the medication compulsively.
  • Not being able to carry out normal daily activities because of drug misuse

Call Now and Make the Best Choice of Your Life

Seeking addiction treatment at a drug rehab center may be the way to break free from prescription drug addiction. At Stepping Stone Center, you can receive the help you need to get your life on track. Call Stepping Stone Center now at 866-957-4960 and begin the road to sobriety today.