College Prescription Drug Abuse: What’s Most Common?

You’d be hard-pressed to go to any college campus and not find college students drinking and using prescription drugs for recreation. In fact, you will also find college prescription drug abuse. Many of the students are away from home for the very first time and have a greater percentage of at least trying a prescription drug or an illegal drug for recreation, which could lead to addiction.

College administration staff tends to look the other way when it comes to partying, figuring that the students are going to spend some of their time doing such. However, there are many staff members who may not be aware of the college prescription drug abuse going on at their campus.

Most common college prescription drugs

It’s not challenging to believe that kids are drinking alcohol and probably smoking some marijuana on campus. Most parents can even agree that those things are going on. But what many people don’t know is that college prescription drug abuse on campus is increasing, and it’s getting some students into some pretty big trouble.

You might wonder what the most common prescription drugs are in college. The general consensus is that the most common are stimulants, narcotics, and central nervous system depressants.

There are plenty of club or party drugs like ecstasy, LSD, heroin, and cocaine. College kids are known for playing around with stimulants as such. When it comes to prescription drugs on campus, pain pills and benzos are probably among the most common.

College prescription drug abuse rates

It’s estimated that about 25% of college students have prescription drugs illegally, oftentimes obtained through friends or acquaintances on campus. Even so, there are plenty of students who do not use prescription drugs and have no idea of the prevalence on campus. A student may have no idea that their roommate is abusing hydrocodone or some other pain medication.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it is the college age range that has the highest amount of prescription opioids abuse in the US. This means that there are plenty of students struggling with college prescription drug abuse, using pain pills in a way that is not prescribed by the doctor.

Other college students may abuse prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, so they can have more energy and perhaps pull an all-nighter studying or partying. Plenty of college students are known for taking stimulants to maintain a highly active schedule.

Is it hard to find prescription drugs on campus?

If a student wants to score a prescription drug on campus, it isn’t very challenging. All one needs to do is ask around and they’ll be led in the direction of a dealer. Sometimes there are even non-students that will peruse the school grounds trying to get kids to try something new.

The dangers of pain pills

It’s likely that everyone has to contend with some major pain in life on occasion and sometimes a prescription for pain medicine is warranted. Even college students have issues arise where they need to be prescribed pain medication.

This is not a problem in and of itself, but with the rise of pain pill addiction, it certainly has many substance abuse experts concerned.  In fact, oxycodone abuse is at an all-time high and is actually rather easy to obtain these days via doctor’s prescriptions and on the street. It’s high on the list of college prescription drug abuse.

Oxycodone is a painkiller derived from opiate and it closely resembles heroin except heroin comes from the poppy plant, but Oxycodone is created in the laboratory.  The pain pill essentially blocks opioid receptors in the brain and give dopamine a good boost, which produces a euphoric feeling that can become quite addicting.

Oxycodone was first created in 1995 as a time-released prescription pain pill so that patients could just take one to two pills per day and be good for 12 hours at a time. The professionals thought that this would decrease the addiction risk, but addicts quickly found ways to get the full pain reducing and euphoric effects right away by crushing the pill, eating or snorting it, or dissolving it in water and injecting it.

The signs of pain pill addiction:

  • Taking the pills more often than prescribed
  • Getting multiple prescriptions for the drug
  • Continuing to take the pain pills even when the pain has subsided
  • Obsessing about it
  • Feeling phantom pain when you are out of the prescription
  • Getting agitated or angry when you run out of pain pills
  • Restlessness
  • Hiding the drug
  • Lying about how often you take it
  • Withdrawal when you stop taking it
  • Getting defensive when someone asks you about your drug use
  • Experiencing blackouts
  • Stealing the drug from family members or friends
  • Taking pain pills to cope with life’s stressful issues

Who is at risk?

Anyone who uses Oxycodone or any pain pill can become addicted to it.  Recovering addicts ought to inform their doctors that they are such and a non-narcotic pain pill can be prescribed for them. If you are suffering from mild to major pain and you take Oxycodone as prescribed, you are less likely to become addicted, but if you take more than what is prescribed or you continue to call for refills even when your pain has subsided, you’re likely to be addicted.

Can you overdose?

Yes, there have been many people who have overdosed on Oxycodone or other pain pills because they took more than their bodies could handle. It is important to know the strength of Oxycodone you were prescribed and only take it as directed. As stated earlier, some users crush the pill and mix with water to inject into their veins and this is very dangerous, as heart damage can happen quite quickly and the result can be fatal.

What Should I Do If I’m Addicted To Pain Pills?

Pain pills are certainly among the top common college prescription drug abuse categories. Substance abuse experts assert that 75% of the U.S. population is affected by painkillers in some way, shape, or form. In fact, painkiller addiction tends to increase year after year, with Oxycontin one of the most frequent culprits.  Sure, everyone encounters some physical pain now and then, but it is alarming that so many people take a prescription pill designed to help them, yet get addicted so easily.

How painkillers work

Pain pills come from a class of drugs known as opiates and essentially, they have an effect on the central nervous system and brain.  When you take a painkiller, instead of your brain getting a signal of the pain, the painkiller blocks the opioid receptors that usually tell the body there is pain and instead of pain, you get a feeling of euphoria.  What happens much of the time is that a tolerance to the medicine develops and people have to take more in order to reach the same effect, which can lead to a serious addiction.  Additionally, there are people who simply like the euphoric feeling, so they begin taking pain pills for recreation.

What are the side effects of taking pain pills?

There are always side effects to taking medications and pain pills are no exception. Here are some side effects from such:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • A headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation

The extreme side effects can include loss of consciousness, coma, seizures, and death.

There are various options for recovery when it comes to college prescription drug abuse. Regardless of whether you’re addicted to stimulants, depressants, or pain pills, there is treatment available in a variety of forms.

Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Recovery is often times a winding road with its ups and downs, and relapse is actually pretty common in early recovery. Substance abuse professional state that taking the time to set a strong foundation in early recovery will help one remain sober and clean for the long haul. Oftentimes, this may require an inpatient or outpatient treatment program for alcoholism or drug abuse.

The reality is that many people, including college students, can’t get free from drug addiction on their own. They’ve tried various times to stop drinking and drugging, only to fall off the wagon and pick up again. This can become quite disheartening and people may want to give up trying. Essentially though, all they really need to do is reach out for help from the professionals. College prescription drug abuse does not have to plague their lives any longer.

Reach out for help

If you or someone you know is addicted to prescription drugs or alcohol, take your first step today toward freedom and reach out for help. Know that you are not alone, and you don’t have to try to recover from the disease of addiction on your own. There are helpful treatments available, and if one way doesn’t work, you simply try a different way. Whether that’s an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, a 12-step Recovery Group, a support group, counseling, a religious or spiritual path, the point is to get on the path to recovery.

We’re here to assist you and navigating your path to recovery. Please give us a call today and allow us to have a discussion with you, and help you decide the best option for your freedom. The time and effort will be well worth it, as you will be able to get to a place in which you can live happy and free.