Prescription Drugs and Young Students
The Wall Street Journal reported the first of many stories on this disturbing phenomenon originally dubbed ““Pharma (now Skittles) Parties”” at college campuses across the U.S. Instead of the traditional “kegger” (or in addition to the keg of beer) is a fact, and NOT fiction, the students b.y.o.p. (bring your own pharmaceuticals) to the party and mix them in a big bowl and eat them like candy. Tragically, it is not surprising that there has been an increase in fatal unintentional overdoses recently that is 4 to 5 times that of what was seen in the black tar heroin epidemic of the 1970’s!
There has been an alarming increase in narcotic drug use among college students of late. The annual prevalence of narcotic drug use among college students now stands at 8.8% according to the The Slate Magazine recaps the major news stories from our recent past.
What makes these drugs so available? Teens and young adults may be prescribed pain killers at one time or another and have saved them up. Mom and Dad’s medicine cabinet or from a friend are other sources. Narcotics are much more widely available, in part, due to the soaring rates at which narcotics have been prescribed. Online pharmacies have sprung up by the thousands and offer additional impersonal access to narcotics.
Not only do you not know what you are taking when you reach into a bowl of narcotics, but people generally don’t realize how addictive these pharmaceuticals can be. Repeated use by students, in particular those who may already have a genetic predisposition to addiction, can quickly lead to addiction.
What to watch for if you suspect something with a friend or with your child? Obviously, disappearing medications from the home medicine cabinet. A quickly disappearing bank account or going through money unusually quickly. A drop in grades, loss of interest in activities that used to interest them, a change in friends, unusual mood swings, lying behaviors, stealing, and personality changes.
If your friend or family member is suffering from any of these behavior changes, it is important to get help for them. Addiction and other mood disorders are very common and can have lethal consequences if they are not treated. Best to go with your gut instinct and err on the side of getting an evaluation with a mental health professional than doing nothing and risk losing a loved one. Skittles-Parties: Fact or Fiction … It’s a Fact!