Today’s youngsters are under pressure to excel in all spheres of life, be it academically, financially, professionally or socially. Expectations from them are so high that to cope with this stress they are turning to stimulants.
Citing a report from the Student Monitor, an article published on usatoday.com in 2015 said that after cost of education, stress is the second biggest problem students face while attending college. According to the article, the 2015 National College Health Assessment found that 85 percent of students were overwhelmed while doing their daily activities at some point in the previous year.
Prescription drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse are commonly used by students during their growing phase. These stimulants are actually prescribed to cure mental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which are prevalent in children.
These drugs are often termed as “study” or “focus drugs.” Unfortunately, the misuse or abuse of these prescription stimulants is now a regular affair for college and high school students, especially during examinations.
The Center on Young Adult Health and Development (CYAHD) defines the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs as any intentional use by those “who do not have a prescription” or use it in a way that is “inconsistent with the prescribing physician’s instructions.” According to the CYAHD, one-third of college students have indulged in prescription drugs at least once in college.
Facts and figures
According to a report published in drugfree.org in 2014, a research by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids revealed that older students engage in prescription drug abuse more often than freshers. Among young adults, aged 18 to 25, one in six has abused a prescription stimulant at least once in the lifetime.
The survey stated that half of all young adults use prescription stimulants to study or improve academic performance, more than four in 10 abuse them to stay awake and one-fourth tries them to improve job performance.
Among the college students surveyed, 44 percent abused stimulants to get good grades, 31 percent used them to stay awake and 21 percent wanted to improve professional outcomes. The college students who are into prescription drugs are more likely to abuse them further to improve academic performance in comparison to those who do not abuse.
Easy access to prescription drugs
Most of the prescription drug abusers are obtaining stimulants mostly from fellow friends. According to a report published in forbes.com, the 2015 College Prescription Drug Study (CPDS) revealed that seven out of 10 college students could get stimulants without a prescription. The report is based on a survey done across eight campuses in the United States. The report also indicated that 83 percent of students who reported their misuse of stimulants said they got it from friends.
On condition of anonymity, a student said his prescriptions for stimulant Vyvanse was on a selling spree during final exams due to its huge demand from friends, according to a report published on usatoday.com in 2013. He also said that during the semester, the average price of one pill is $5, but during finals it costs around $15-$2o a pop.
Preventing the growing trend
Students who abuse prescription drugs are often unaware of their adverse effects. Non-medical use can lead to problems such as irregular heartbeats, seizures, heart attacks. Experts say that repeated usage can also increase dependency on the drugs.
It is also important for colleges and schools to educate students about the ill effects of prescription drug abuse. Health camps can be organized to impart firsthand explanation from a doctor dealing with addicts. Families can also encourage children to reduce stress by engaging in hobbies, exercise, medication and other recreational activities.
If you or your loved one is indulging in prescription drug abuse, seek medical help immediately. Regular use of drugs for any non-medical purposes can increase the risk of addiction. The 24/7 Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can help you find the best addiction treatment available. You may call our helpline at 866-450-1557 or chat online for further assistance.