Share Ideas, Not Medications

Not only is sharing prescription drugs illegal, taking medication or substances without discussing it with your pharmacist or health care provider first can have a serious impact on your life.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), you could face criminal prosecution for possessing prescription drugs without a prescription. Illegal distribution of prescription drugs is a Federal drug violation, punishable by up to five years in Federal prison. The consequences are more severe if the illegal distribution leads to injury or death.

Have you ever used a friend’s prescription painkiller to get rid of a headache? Taken a prescription stimulant to help you focus better the night before an exam? Or experimented with a prescription medicine to get high? If so, you’ve misued or abused prescription drugs.

Although most college students do use prescription drugs properly, nearly 30 percent of people aged 18 to 25 (28.7 percent) report using prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically at least once in their lives. The issue is real. By your sophomore year in college, about half of your classmates will have been offered the opportunity to abuse a prescription drug.

“Arent drugs just a way to deal with college life?”

Exams, classes, extracurricular activities, communal living situations, new environments – college is stressful! College-aged people have among the highest rates of prescription drug abuse. But prescription drugs should not be used to relieve stress or taken because of peer pressure.

“Is it risky?”

Yes. Combining any medicines (including prescription and/or over-the-counter medicines) together with alcohol or illicit drugs can be deadly.

  • You can become addicted if you abuse prescription drugs.
  • It’s illegal to give someone your prescription medicine or to take a prescription medicine that is not prescribed for you.
  • Prescription drugs are not safer to use than illicit drugs. All prescription drugs have risks but can be safe and effective when used as prescribed by a pharmacist or health care provider just for you.

“How do I keep people away from my medicines?”

The potential for temptation may be in your dorm, sorority or fraternity house, or other communal living situations. People around you may be interested in taking your prescriptions, especially if they are visible (sitting on your desk or dresser, for example). More than half of people age 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs get them from a friend or relative for free. It may seem easy for fellow students to gain access to your prescription drugs, but you can play it safe by doing the following:

  • Store your medications in a secure place where they are not easily found by others.
  • Keep track of your medication and know how many pills you have at any given time.
  • There is no reason to discuss the medications that you take with friends, roommates, and others who may have contact with your personal space.
  • Do not purchase or use medications obtained from illegal websites.

If you find yourself or friends in a situation of abusing prescription drugs, speak with a counselor, teacher, or resident assistant on campus. Always speak with your pharmacist or health care provider about medicines you are taking or plan to take. The risks and dangers of abusing prescription drugs are real.