I’M WRITING IN response to the article “Adderall’s not so secret impact on campus.” First, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Denisonian for exploring the issue of prescription drug misuse on campus, and thank them for bringing to light a serious depiction of what this misuse can look like. In response to this article, I wanted to provide additional information to consider.
It’s important to note the difference between prescription drug use and misuse. Most students who use Adderall take it as prescribed by a doctor, taking into account the individual’s health history and potential interactions with other medications. Prescription drug misuse can include taking a drug that was not prescribed to you, taking a larger dose than intended, or using the medication for another purpose, such as getting high.
Misuse can have serious legal and health consequences. It is important to know that sharing, using, or selling medications that are not prescribed to you is a felony, in additional to being grounds for dismissal from the University.
From a health perspective, there is an incorrect perception that the misuse of prescription drugs has lower risk than use of illegal street drugs. In reality, misusing Adderall can lead to cardiovascular damage, and when taken with alcohol increases dramatically the risk of alcohol overdose, by masking the signs of intoxication. When mixed with other substances, the effects of all prescription drugs become unpredictable and dangerous.
Although the misuse of prescription drugs is a rising concern across the nation, we do know that the vast majority of students at Denison have never misused prescription drugs. Data from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) conducted in 2011 showed 90% of Denison students reporting that they had not used a prescription stimulant unless it had been prescribed to them.
How can misuse be prevented? With just a few weeks left in the academic year, this is not the time to be reckless with your wellbeing; don’t take medications that haven’t been prescribed to you. If a medication is prescribed to you, take it as directed and don’t share it with anyone else. To help prevent misuse, keep any prescribed medications in a secure and private space, such as a lock box. Properly disposing of old medications is also important. You can find a list of places in Licking County to safely drop off old medications by visiting this website: http://www.pathwaysofcentralohio.com/prevention/rxcollect. Finally, consider connecting with Counseling Services (740-587-6647) if you are concerned about your own drug use, or a friend’s.
Catherine Champagne is the Coordinator of Alcohol, Drug, and Health Education.