The most highly abused prescription drugs among college students are:
Stimulants: Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta are used primarily to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). They speed up brain activity causing increased alertness, attention, and energy that come with elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate and breathing
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Reasons for Misusing or Abusing Prescription Drugs
- Improve their grades
- Concentrate more in class and maintain focus during late-night study sessions
- Reduce stress
- Feel good/get high
- Ease nervousness in social scene / partying
- Enhance athletic performance
- Forget about problems
The Use of stimulants
- The D.E.A. lists prescription stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse (amphetamines) and Ritalin and Focalin(methylphenidates) as Class 2 controlled substances – the same as cocaine and morphine – because they rank among the most addictive substances that have a medical use.
- 1993-2003: the number of prescriptions given yearly for Adderall has more than tripled.
- FACT: Adderall is the most commonly abused prescription stimulant among college students.
- 15: Percentage of college students admitting to use of some form of psychotherapeutic drugs for non-medical, academic uses.
- By students’ sophomore year in college, about half of their classmates will have been offered the opportunity to abuse a prescription drug. Of undergraduates that are taking stimulant medication under the direction of their doctor, more than half (54%) have been asked to sell, trade or give away their medication in the past year
- Full time college students are twice as likely to use a stimulant for non-medical reasons compared to those who aren’t in college, or are only part-time students.
- 90: the percentage of college students who used Adderall for non medical reasons in the past year who were also binge drinkers.
Compared to the average student, students who use Adderall for nonmedical reasons were, in the last year:
- 3x more likely to have used Marijuana
- 8x more likely to have used Cocaine
- 8x more likely to have used prescription tranquilizers
- 5x more likely to have used prescription pain relievers for nonmedical reasons.
- 5X more likely to develop a drug abuse.
- ER visits whose listed reasons included an ADHD stimulant rose from 13,379 in 2005 to 31,244 just five years later.
Early signs of abuse include:
- Using the medication more frequently or at higher doses without a healthcare professional’s direction
- Using the medication compulsively
- Not being able to carry out normal daily activities because of drug misuse
- Hiding or lying about use
- Spending more time, energy and/or money maintaining access to the drugs
Abusing prescription medications can lead to:
- Increases in blood pressure or heart rate
- Organ damage
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart Attack
Keep in mind
- It is illegal to take a controlled substance if it is not prescribed for you.
- Get rid of old or unused medications properly. Visit the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm and
- RX Safe Disposal at http://www.smarxtdisposal.net