Adderal and Vicodin some of the most commonly abused drugs by stduents
Prescription drug abuse among U.S. college students has been increasing steadily for years, according to many health care professionals and scientific data reports. The growing trend is prompting new awareness throughout college campuses nationwide and raising serious questions about the abuse of pharmaceuticals in the CU community.
According to a University of Michigan survey of more than 10,000 four-year college students published in 2005, 7.4 percent of students admitted to using Vicodin at least once without a prescription. Vicodin is a prescription opiate used in clinical diagnoses to alleviate pain.
|>> SIDE EFFECTS OF COMMONLY ABUSED DRUGS
Adderal: loss of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, headache and dizziness.
Other side effects include: nervousness, irritability, restlessness, dry mouth, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, euphoria, feelings of paranoia and suspicion, addiction and raised tolerance.
Vicodin: constipation, urinating less than usual, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, headache and itching.
Other side effects include: shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, seizure (convulsions), clammy skin, confusion, severe weakness, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
– Tim McAvoy
The numbers are up from 6.9 percent in 2002.
The study also reported that 7 percent of students acknowledged using the amphetamine Adderall without an authorized prescription. Adderall was first developed in the 1980s for weight loss and diet control, but was approved by the FDA in 1996 to treat Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The study added that 4 percent of students admitted abusing either one or both of the drugs within 30 days of the survey.
“It’s a growing societal problem,” said Judy Taub, a clinical social worker in the Department of Health and Psychiatry at Wardenburg. “While alcohol abuse is usually our primary focus, I’ve personally seen a rise in prescription drug abuse among students.”
While Vicodin and other opiates are ingested primarily for their euphoric effects, amphetamines like Adderall are generally used as study aids. According to Stephen Bentley, coordinator of the substance abuse program at Wardenburg, some students choose to ingest these drugs in a variety of ways.
“The most disturbing thing is that students are mixing these drugs with alcohol and other drugs,” Bentley said. “This provides the potential for a drug-induced coma, or even death.”
The growing trend has some college campuses adopting new protocols to try and limit the abuse. Wardenburg has stopped prescribing Adderall to students unless they have already been prescribed by another physician.
But according to Bentley, the general problem around treatment centers like Wardenburg is the failure by students to acknowledge the problem and communicate about it.
“Unfortunately if a student is trying to get off a particular drug, sometimes they eventually just pick up something else,” Bentley said.
Chris Zielenski, a senior biology major, doesn’t perceive student usage of pharmaceuticals without a doctor’s prescription as a problem.
“I think if there is a problem, it’s that some students mix the prescription drugs with other drugs, and that’s when it becomes dangerous,” Zielenski said. “Otherwise, I don’t see it being a major social problem.”
Kalli O’Neill, a sophomore dental hygiene student, recognize a clear danger with this trend.
“I’d say the health risks involved in taking these pills is a serious problem because no one knows the long-term effects,” O’Neill said. “But as far as I know, CU in particular isn’t that much different from other universities.”
There are no figures to clarify whether or not CU is either in the norm or an exception.
Wardenburg offers many comprehensive and educational programs to help treat students who may have become addicted to prescription medication.
“We provide a range of options for anyone who decides to get treated for substance abuse,” Bentley said. “Students just have to seek treatment in order to get treatment.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Tim McAvoy at firstname.lastname@example.org.