Science

Prescription Drug Abuse Continues To Hit College Campuses As Finals Week Rages On

By Douglas K. Barclay , May 07, 2013 07:02 PM EDT
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As students around the country gear up for finals week, many publications have focused on the ongoing issue of prescription drug abuse among college students. Drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse are often abused by college students as they cram for finals. The stimulating and enhanced-focus effects of the drugs, prescribed primarily for people with ADD and ADHD are also seen as a saving grace by college students. At the Catholic University of America, an unnamed student was recently seen making the rounds of the library asking studying students if they needed "any study enhancers." 

This problem does not only appear at the aforementioned Washington, D.C. college; it has become something of a national epidemic. Around the country, schools are attempting to combat this problem by enforcing stricter guidelines for those receiving medication at schools. The inherent fear is that students will share their pills with their friends: friends who would otherwise not need them due to a clean medical history. At California State University (Fresno), the school has implemented a strict program to combat this issue. According to the school's student health center, any student prescribed ADD and ADHD meds must sign a "Psychostimulant Medication Contract." This contract details academic discipline for students caught giving away their meds. According to the National Institute Of Drug Abuse (NIH), over 1 million students will use stimulating drugs each year. 

At the University of Montana, administrators have also recognized this growing problem and are doing all in their power to combat it. According to The Missoulan, the local health center does not have its own drug information classes, but attempts to refer students elsewhere at any juncture possible. Similarly, the University of Missouri has also recently reported an increase in students using prescription drugs while studying. The Maneater, a student outlet, reports that the sales of prescription drugs have more than doubled in the last five years, leading to the industry bringing in almost $10 billion a year. 

Some may believe that this problem is merely an aspect of collegiate life, that it is simply a byproduct of busy college schedules. The NIH disagrees with that, and reports that these stimulants often lead to later addictions in life, and even fatal overdoses. 

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