In many colleges, young adults face pressure to accept drug use and partying as part of campus culture. Abusing prescription painkillers is often viewed as a normal way to socialize, relieve stress, or self-medicate various problems. Many college students treat heroin with caution, and aren’t as likely to use it as other age groups. However, they don’t always see the harm in obtaining prescription opiates, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, from their peers.
In 2009 a National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report released. The study indicates that rates of prescription drug use were highest among young adults ages 18 to 25. In that age group 6.3 percent reported non-medical use in the past month. According to a 2008 NSDUH study, about 25 percent of people ages 18 to 20 report non-medical use of prescription medications at least once in their lives.
Why and How Are College Students Using this Drug?
Young adults and college students have many reasons for using drugs that are unique to their age group. Some of them include the following:
- Recent freedom. Most young adults out from under parental control are often eager to take advantage of their newfound freedom. They are less likely to face discipline from their parents or teachers thanks to this independence. Because of this they are able to more easily avoid some consequences of abusing opiates.
- Misconceptions about drugs use. Many college students are aware of the consequences of using illicit drugs; health risks, legal troubles and risks to their futures. However, many are ill-informed about the consequences of abusing prescriptions.
- Availability. On many college campuses, prescription painkillers are easy to obtain from peers. Some students doctor shop, meaning they go to different doctors to illegally obtain more opiates.
- Partying. Parties are a well-known aspect of campus culture. Using opiates to achieve a euphoric high and sense of well-being can lead to addiction. As abuse develops the need for a powerful high grows. This need drives addiction to more and more serious consequences.
- Stress. College students face pressure from parents, society, and friends. Planning for successful futures while maintaining a healthy social life and establishing independence is hard. They face the challenge of deciding their futures and entering a tough job market. Academic stress or relationship troubles can pile on top of these issues. Some students turn to drugs to relax and deal with stress.
While students abuse opiates for a variety of reasons, doing so can lead to dangerous results. Taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed is illegal and results in serious consequences, including illness and death.
How Can Friends and Family Help College-Aged Opiate Users?
Friends and family of young adults abusing opiates can help by ensuring they know the risks involved. Consulting a treatment center, helpline, or treatment professional is a great first step. Finding information about opiate abuse and addiction can help someone talk to opiate users in calm, informed ways. Treatment programs specially suited for young adults can help college-aged opiate addicts overcome addiction through detox, counseling and therapy.
Help for Opiate Addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to opiates, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about a treatment plan that will work for you. We are available 24 hours a day. Please call now.