Easy drugs

It’s not just about marijuana, methamphetamines or heroin anymore, according to a recent study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, because more students are using prescription drugs to get high.

“The growing numbers of young people who use prescription drugs to get high is a nationwide trend,” said Russell Short, the alcohol and drug prevention coordinator at Campus Wellness Connection.

And prescription drug abuse certainly exists on campus, said Short.

“There are segments of the student body who more frequently use pharmaceuticals, depending on their access to these drugs,” said Thomas Ferrill, a senior in philosophy.

With prescriptions for anti-depressants and stimulants on the rise, it has become easier to obtain drugs from the family medicine cabinet, and some students are attracted to using prescription drugs because they seem less harmful and are easier to obtain.

It seems harmless, Ferrill said. The prescription drugs look innocent and appear to be safer to use recreationally. Plus, they lack the stigma associated with using street drugs.

However, while prescription drug use seems safer, “Prescription drugs are highly addictive, and they are just as dangerous as using illegal drugs,” Short said.

Pharmaceutical companies’ production of the two most commonly abused prescription drugs, hydrocodone and oxycodone, has dramatically risen in the past years.

A 2005 survey by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that 19 percent of young people-approximately 4.5 million youth-report having taken prescription painkillers or stimulants to get high.

James Lancaster, a sophomore in mass communication, said that with mail-order systems and the Internet, purchasing prescription drugs is simple.

“You can even have drugs delivered to a different mailing address?There is no incentive for drug companies to prevent this growing addiction,” said Lancaster. “Without regulation, more students have access to prescription drugs, therefore increasing drug company revenues.”

Short said that the Campus Wellness Connection is a great place to find additional resources and information. The center offers assessments and counseling for drug addictions.