College students are theoretically the next generation of our country’s leaders. They will be going out into society to be the doctors, engineers, scientists and future politicians that are supposed to lead our nation. It’s unfortunate that more and more college students are getting off track and forgetting the role they will play in the future. The cause of this divergence is widespread drug use at the college level.
Far from the idea that “everybody” should experiment with drugs in college, our younger generations need to recognize how dangerous drug use is for them and everyone around them. We also need to recognize how this drug use gets started in the first place if we want to do anything to stop it.
Trying to Get an Edge
One main cause of prescription drug abuse is the desire of college students to get an edge over their classmates. With tens of thousands of graduates finishing college every year (and with the number only going up), college students know that they’re heading out into an incredibly competitive workplace. They also know that just having a degree is no longer a guarantee of getting a good job after they leave their universities.
These students think that they need an extra edge over their peers, so they look to prescription drugs as a way to get an edge over their classmates. They know that many drugs such as Ritalin can give you an artificial chemically-caused boost of focus, and this boost can translate into better grades. These pills can be stolen or purchased from friends or dealers easily. It doesn’t matter that they’re not actually learning anything during these cram sessions, as they think that a great grade point average is all that matters.
Building a Tolerance
Many more students are actually being prescribed these powerful psychotropic drugs. More young people in lower-level schools are being drugged than ever before. With pills being handed out like candy in grade school, many students come to college with a built-up tolerance for drugs. If they have become addicted, they’ll often start looking for even more pills to feed their habits. By crushing up the pills that the acquire, they can either snort the resulting powder or mix it with water and inject it directly into their veins. The high these prescription drugs creates is similar to many illegal drugs.
A New Party Drug of Choice
This high is a goal in itself. Addiction begins in high school for many students, and they then go into college still looking for more drugs to use to get high. Dealers around college campuses are specifically stocking these drugs because they know that they are incredibly popular with college-aged addicts. It may be that college students think these drugs are safer than “street” drugs because they are prescribed by doctors. What they might not realize is that using these drugs to get high is illegal, and it’s incredibly dangerous. Prescription meds cause more drug overdose deaths than any other drug.
Leading into Heroin Addiction
Another effect of prescription drug abuse of opioids is that it can lead to abusing heroin. Prescription drugs are incredibly expensive, and college students quickly run out of money to pay $90 a pop for these pills. When they learn that you can get an equal high from heroin for less than $10, many students decide to switch over.
This is the reason that heroin is surging upward in use after several decades of dropping usage rates. All of these new heroin addicts can get back on track, but for most it will require getting rehabilitated at a drug and alcohol treatment center. With effective treatment, they can go back to preparing for life instead of preparing for years of drug addiction.