Educators and Educational Institutions
Many students mistakenly believe prescription medications are safe because they are
FDA approved and prescribed by a doctor. But all medications have risks; and they are
only safe when taken as directed by the person for whom they were prescribed.
Colleges and Universities
Although most college students use prescription drugs properly, about one in four (1 in 4) people aged 18 to 20 report using these medications non-medically at least once in their lives (NSDUH, 2008).
Academic Doping: College students misuse prescription stimulants to “get in the zone” or pull all night study sessions—a habit that is most likely to begin in college (Teter et al, 2006). Among people 18 to 22 years of age, full-time college students are twice as likely to use a stimulant for non-medical reasons in the past year compared to those who aren’t in college or are only part-time students (SAMHSAb, 2009).
Theft and Privacy: Preventing theft of prescription drugs on campus from students that have the medical need to take them is a priority. Moreover, many students prefer to maintain their privacy about which kinds of prescriptions drugs they take – but keeping medication private, secure, yet easily accessible has not been easy. Whether in a dorm room, other types of student housing or off-campus, keeping a students medication private and secure should be of great concern to any educational institution.
Middle and High School
Prescription drug misuse occurs in all social, economic, geographic and cultural groups. Children, as young as 12, are using prescription drugs to get high. Prescription drugs are easier to access because they can be taken from their home’s medicine cabinet and young people may believe they are safer than illicit drugs because they are manufactured by a pharmaceutical company.
Non-medical use of prescription drugs among young people has become an increasing problem in the United States. According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), 20.2% of high school students have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.1 Similarly, the 2009 Partnership/MetLife Foundation Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) revealed that 20% of high school students, or 3.2 million young people, reported abusing a prescription medication at least once in their lives.2