Popping pills for stress ills: a deadly match made in college campus heaven

Have trouble concentrating? Can’t seem to balance schoolwork with your social life?

There’s a pill for that.

While Guilford College students are well-known for marijuana use, prescription drug abuse is an equally major problem.

The prescription drugs typically used are stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Strattera and Ritalin.

“It’s a huge problem at Guilford,” said junior Noelle Lane. “A lot of kids in high school and college abuse ADD medication. People who take them think they help to study, party and stay awake.”

The prevalence of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has risen in recent years.

“They’re just easy to get,” said an anonymous student. “And they’re not illegal, so you won’t get into much trouble if you get caught with them. Just say they’re yours.”

It is typically believed amongst young people that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as street drugs. However, they can be just as dangerous, if not more harmful.

Of the deaths caused by drugs amongst young people, 45 percent are caused by prescription drugs versus the 39 percent caused by street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and others.

Also, according to Oregon State University Student Health Services, stimulant abuse’s health effects include psychological dependence, changes in weight and sleep, paranoia, delusions and depression.

Why do students risk these side effects for the sake of extra energy and concentration?

The real question is, why not?

The world college students live in and will eventually enter after graduation is an exceedingly stressful one. There is pressure to be fully developed in our ideas of the world, what we want to do with our lives and who we think we are.

Individuals in their late teens and early twenties are not in a position to perform like established adults while still maintaining a social life and extracurricular activities.

We need an edge, and sometimes even the most well-informed individuals can’t resist the shiny, A-plus allure.

There have been times where I’ve looked at my own psychiatric medication thinking, “You know, a couple more of these in my system will really help me get these papers done.”

The temptation is massive despite knowing what harm it could do to me. Prescription drug abuse is the quick, accessible edge we need to perform.

But what is the cost of performance?

With consistent use of stimulants, there is bound to be a crash. The longer the crash is delayed, the harder it will be. After the crash, the idea that tolerance for the medication will build up often causes individuals to take more of the medication.

However, tolerance does not work the same way in which street drugs do. This perception can lead to overdosing and even death.

“A lot of people in my hometown have died from (overdoses),” said Lane.

With all of these facts in mind, how do we deal with this problem?

First, we need to start talking about it. Statistics of this problem at Guilford have yet to be fully recorded. This data is crucial in order to give the issue the attention it deserves.

Next, students who abuse prescription drugs need to come forth with their problems. The Student Counseling Center provides support for substance abuse through both individual and group counseling.

Finally, the hard one: colleges need to relieve some pressure.

We are not lumps of coal. We will not turn into diamonds under extreme pressure. We will turn to mush.

This solution is the most difficult as it requires a complete restructuring of how work is given at colleges, how classes are structured and how work is distributed. It will ultimately take the effort of both students and college faculty and administration to come to a solution.

And there’s no pill for that.

[photomosaic nggid=181]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email