Prescription Drug Abuse On the Rise During Finals  

BY GINA CILIBERTO, Volunteer for the Courage to Speak Foundation

It’s that time of the year again, the excitement of the semester ending, followed by the familiar anxiety and stress-provoking week, known to college students as “Finals.”

Final exams have a significant effect on a student’s course grade for the semester. These grades can affect the status of scholarships, admission into graduate school or another program of study. In addition, if a student fails a class they are usually not refunded for the cost.

Unfortunately because of these pressures, and such easy access to prescription drugs, many students are abusing painkillers, stimulants and sedatives, which are the most commonly abused drugs on campus, to relieve the burden of stress and/or help them to stay up to study.

Prescription drug abuse is happening on every college campus, especially during finals.

Prescription drug abuse is happening on every college campus

Prescription drugs are fast and easy to get a hold of, as long as a student knows someone who is willing to share some of their own medication. Some people believe that these drugs are less harmful than other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, because they are legally prescribed by a doctor.

However, according to The Clinton Foundation, “In the US, one person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose, and overdoses involving prescription painkillers now kill more Americans than those involving heroin and cocaine combined.”

Dangerous risks of abusing Opioids, otherwise known as painkillers (Vicodin and OxyContin), Sedatives (Xanax and Valium) and Stimulants (Ritalin and Adderall) include:



“Prescription opioids act on the same receptors as heroin and can be highly addictive,” According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Sedatives and stimulants can be highly addictive as well and when someone stops using them, especially without a doctor’s direction, it can lead to horrible withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating, shaking, nervousness and even life-threatening seizures!

– Overdose
The use of these drugs alone or combined with alcohol and other drugs can slow down breathing and lead to death.

– Risk of HIV
If opiods are injected by unsterile or used needles, a person is putting themselves at great risk for contracting HIV. Even if a drug is not injected, drug-altered judgment can lead to risky behavior.

Share the following tips with your son/daughter, to help them cope with the stress:

Forming a study group

Most colleges and universities offer free, confidential counseling to their students!

  A proper night’s sleep of at least eight hours. Students may feel like they have to study all night to be prepared for an exam the next day, but the truth is when exam time comes around, they will be too tired to recall important information.

  Eat three healthy meals a day. The proper nutrition will not only help their body, but their memory/thinking as well.

Take breaks! Use the school gym to work out! Exercise is proven to reduce stress.

And remember…not only is abusing prescription drugs harmful to your health, but it is also illegal. If your son or daughter is caught, he or she can face suspension from school, jail time or fines!

To learn more about prescription drug abuse on campus, please visit the following referenced sites:

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