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Prevention of prescription drug misuse on college campuses can be daunting. HECAOD and Generation Rx offer a plethora of resources to help you recognize your campuses’ specific needs and implement tailored programs

Troubling Data on Rx Abuse

Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA) shows that the average age for the initiation of prescription drug misuse falls within the traditional college student years. This phenomenon is a significant harbinger of harm, as drug treatment center admissions, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths due to prescription drug misuse are escalating. In fact, drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. (CDC).

pillsADHD medications—like Ritalin or Adderall—are often misused by students to stay awake and concentrate when studying for tests or finishing homework. In 2013, nearly 11% of college students indicated some Adderall use without medical supervision in the prior 12 months (Monitoring the Future (2013). Other commonly misused prescription drugs include opioid pain medications (e.g., Vicodin, OxyContin) and sedatives (e.g., Xanax, Valium). Research shows that the nonmedical use of prescription drugs negatively impacts academic success. While many students claim that using stimulants as “study aids” helps them perform better, in fact, students who abuse alcohol and other drugs typically spend less time studying, skip class more often, and earn lower grades. Students who misuse prescription drugs usually get them from someone they know: family members, friends, or acquaintances. Those with valid prescriptions sometimes also sell or share their medication with others. These behaviors are illegal and can impose significant health risks.

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy partnered with Cardinal Health to develop Generation Rx University. This resource offers tools and effective strategies to combat the growing nonmedical use of prescription drugs among college students. Technical assistance in using these materials is available through the Higher Education Center.

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