While alcohol and illicit drug abuse has dominated the college campuses since decades, the consequences arising out of chronic abuse of prescription drugs, particularly stimulants, sedatives and pain relievers, have affected millions of American teens and adolescents. Although there have been several advances in the field of new and upgraded treatments for chronic pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, etc., the frightening fact is that there has also been a rapid increase in the misuse and abuse of these medications in parallel.
Such a marked increase in prescription drug abuse has devastated millions of lives. Some of the eye-opening statistics suggest that one person succumbs to prescription drug abuse every 19 minutes in the United States. In 2015, over 52,404 deaths due to drug overdose occurred, including 33,091 of deaths due to opioids, highlights the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
College students are one of the largest groups of drug abusers
Being prescribed by medical experts, a common misconception among college students is that prescription drugs are comparatively safer than other illicit narcotics. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), one in every four people in the age group of 18 to 20 has reportedly admitted to using prescription medications nonmedically at least once in his or her life.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some of the commonly abused prescription drugs include painkillers (5.1 million), tranquilizers or depressants (2.2 million) and stimulants (1.1 million). Moreover, one of the studies has emphasized on the rise in the use of prescription stimulants like amphetamines among the American college students, particularly for performance enhancement and recreational purposes. Such a high-risk behavior can prove disastrous for the users.
Why college students turn to drugs
The transition from childhood to adolescence is filled with numerous challenges. While dealing with emotional, physical and hormonal changes, the increased level of curiosity among adolescents often convince them to explore sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. And since “Curiosity killed the cat,” it becomes difficult for some adults to disentangle themselves from the snare of addiction. In fact, the NIDA reported that nearly 25 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs at an age earlier than age 13 ended up meeting the clinical criteria for addiction and prescription drug abuse treatment.
However, the factors range beyond the spirit of experimentation. Television bulletins and newspaper stories play a pivotal role in misguiding people. As a result, college students have to often bear the consequences of misinformation related to prescription drug abuse due to the prevailing myths. Other factors like aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies, enormous rise in the number of prescriptions, social acceptability of self-medication, etc. have contributed to the enormous rise in prescription drug abuse. Some of the other risk factors are mentioned below:
- Increased stress: High demands from academics, vast syllabus, part-time jobs, internships, social responsibility, etc. often turn many adolescents toward drugs as a medium to cope the burden. The use of Adderall, also known as the study drug, has increased dramatically among youngsters to enhance and meet their academic requirements.
- Weighty course: Students generally switch to stimulants like Adderall in order to hold their energy and stay awake for long hours to study or meet the deadlines.
- Peer pressure: During growing days, adolescents often succumb to peer pressure and start indulging in substances, especially prescription drugs that are easily available.
Stretch wings toward sobriety
Misusing prescription drugs can lead to several health complications, including extreme agitation or irritability, seizures, cardiovascular failure, paranoia, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of addiction to address the challenges immediately. If you or your loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to find the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 or chat online with our representatives to know about the most reputable prescription drug abuse treatment centers.