My 20-year-old son was hanging out on campus waiting for a French class to begin when he was approached by a guy who casually asked, “Hey, man, do you know where I can find some Adderall?”
This type of inquiry is more common than you might think. According to the American College Health Association, non-medical use of prescription medications is the second most common form of illicit drug use on college campuses, next to marijuana.
More overused than cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin are drugs found in our medicine cabinets. Often thought of as safe (because they are FDA approved and prescribed by a medical provider), stimulants, opioids, depressants, and many psychotropic drugs can have dire consequences when misused and abused. According to the Clinton Foundation, prescription drug abuse is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and affects college students at disproportionate rates. It’s no wonder that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.
Misuse is defined as using a drug in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose.
Your daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD and takes a regular dose of medication each morning. Finals are approaching and she is bogged down with too much work and too little time. In order to get it all done, she decides to take an extra dose of Adderall each night during finals week. After all, it will enhance her concentration and help her stay awake as she crams for a test or writes a paper. She makes it through finals with good enough grades but has lost weight, is physically and mentally exhausted, and does not have enough medication to get her through the rest of the month.
Your son was injured in a skiing accident and occasionally takes a prescribed painkiller to deal with severe back pain after rigorous workouts. One evening his friend sees the bottle in his bathroom and says, “Hey, I hear if you mix this with alcohol you’ll get really high. Can I try one?” Your son agrees and they both pop a pill and chase it with a beer.
Your first-year student is having a tough time adjusting to college — she’s anxious and not sleeping well. Her roommate has a prescription for Xanax and tells her it will calm her nerves and help her sleep. Your daughter is amazed at how much better she feels. She tries to get her own prescription but is met with resistance by the university health clinic. Instead, they encourage her to seek counseling. She decides to look for the drug on campus and finds it easy to buy.
STIMULANTS: Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin
OPIOIDS: Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin
DEPRESSANTS: Xanax, Ambien, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium
There is only so much we as parents can do to safeguard our students. At some point they will need to make critical decisions for themselves. Open, nonjudgmental dialogue is key to helping our students make smart, informed decisions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Talk with your student about developing healthy coping skills, especially if they are struggling in school or experiencing social or academic stress. Campuses generally have a counseling center to help students through the many stressors of high school and college life.
Other recent articles by Amanda Taylor:
Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.
306 S. Washington Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!
Flatscreen Rentals for Students. Roomate Packages Under $89. CampusTVs rents high-definition televisions to college students at a fraction of what it would cost to purchase from the local department store.
Display your business name, description, address, phone number, and a clickable link in a category that fits you best.
Parents choose our website first because we rank higher and solve more of their problems in comparison to the university pages.
Our Online Guide Listings get 5 times more click throughs than Google & Facebook Ads (average 10% vs. 1.5-2%).
“UniversityParent was one of the best resources when my son went to college. They have everything!”
“With my daughter going off to college, UniversityParent quickly became my #1 essential resource”