Prescription drug abuse among college and university students around the United States is a problem experts say is getting progressively worse. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that prescription drug abuse is second to marijuana among 18 to 25 year old’s. The study also shows that these abuses have increased since the 1990’s with the increase in Adderall prescriptions and pain killers such as oxy cotton. Another survey conducted by Columbia University found that approximately half of full-time college students abuse prescription drugs or binge drink.
Among the most popular prescription drugs to abuse are Adderall and Oxy Cotton. Adderall, which is a drug prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is widely abused by students that aren’t diagnosed. In a survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they found that one in five college students have used Adderall without being diagnosed for ADHD. The increase in drug abuse that is sweeping across the nation is nothing new to DU students.
“It’s not good, I don’t know the actual amount of prescription drugs that are abused on campus,” Junior Jack Owens said. “I know some kids will buy Adderall and other study enhancing drugs off people, generally speaking I don’t think it’s good.”
These drugs may enhance a student’s academic performance but it does not make them smarter. The drug helps the diagnosed person concentrate better and
phases out distractions, which makes it seem very attractive to students without ADHD. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids conducted an online survey where they found that Adderall makes up 60 percent of abused prescribed stimulants followed by Ritalin at 2o percent .
With course work becoming more challenging and rigorous students feel the pressure and turn to these drugs for answers. Students often find it hard to balance their social life with their academic life and these drugs help them stay awake with lots of energy for both. Although the pressures mount, at the end of the day it is a personal choice.
“I don’t think I have really been affected that much considering it’s a personal choice,” Senior Brandon Wright said. “Yes you definitely know people and see people using them but it’s just a personal choice.”
While DU has a drug misuse policy to prohibit students from taking or selling these drugs it does very little to actually stop them from doing so. Many students find it very easy to get prescribed by a doctor just by saying they have anxiety over their focusing abilities.
“I personally haven’t had a bunch of experience with that,” said Junior Devin Toth. “But I definitely know that it’s around, and that some people abuse it more than others and a lot of people get prescription drugs in general.”
DU students are no strangers to the problems of prescription drug abuse. Many observe it happening and partake in it on a daily basis. Every college and university around the country faces the same problem because students face the same academic and social pressures. Should DU be doing more to prevent these issues? Perhaps, but it is a problem that affects the lives of all college students even the ones that are making the right decisions.