Pubdate: Tue, 27 Mar 2007
Source: Appalachian, The (NC Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Appalachian State University
Author: Aubrey Resech, News Reporter
Bookmark: (Youth)


Abuse of prescription and illegal drugs among college  students is on 
the rise, according to a recent report  conducted by the National 
Center on Addiction and  Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

The report revealed that approximately 49 percent of  college 
students binge drink or abuse prescription or  illegal drugs.

"We have had one case this school year, last semester,  where a 
student was charged with having Ritalin in his  possession that was 
not his," University Police Capt.  Eddie Rector said.

Scientists and professionals are speculating as to what  the many 
factors could be that stimulate students to  abuse prescription and 
illegal drugs.

"Certainly there are mindsets that prompt people to  desire to alter 
their moods," Dr. Kurt D. Michael, a  clinical professor of 
psychology, said. "Some of these  mindsets might include stress, a 
desire to have a good  time, or as a form of distraction."

The report also confirmed that the amount of students  who abused 
prescription painkillers like Percocet and  Vicodin from 1993-2005 
rose by about 300 percent, or by  about 240,000 students, according to CNN.

Students' abuse of prescription stimulants like Ritalin  and Adderall 
also rose to 2.9 percent, or by 225,000  students.

"Last semester during the week of exams, I felt a lot  of pressure to 
perform well, and, as a result, I needed  to stay up later to provide 
myself more study time,"  Alexandra. R. Kothmayer, a freshman nursing 
major,  said. "The only way I thought I could do this was by  taking 
an Adderall."

"A recent study conducted across 119 campuses found  that 7 percent 
of college students use stimulant  medications for reasons that are 
not prescribed,"  Michael said. "Two prime reasons for which students 
abuse stimulants like this are to get better grades or  as a party 
drug to have fun."

Illegal drug use has also increased on college  campuses. Appalachian 
has had many marijuana and other  drug paraphernalia cases this year, 
as it has had in  past years, Rector said.

According to the report, the amount of students who use  marijuana 
daily doubled to 4 percent, or by 310,000  students. Students' use of 
other illegal drugs, such as  cocaine or heroine, also increased to 
8.2 percent, or  by 636,000 students.

Other factors that may be biological or social in  nature can also 
have an effect on the probability of a  student's abuse of drugs.

"If someone has a family member who was dependent on  drugs, then 
their own susceptibility to become  dependent on drugs would 
increase, merely due to family  history," Michael said. "Drugs can 
also be used as a  form of social lubricant."

Appalachian offers an opportunity for students to seek  help, with 
regards to drug addictions, through the  Alcohol and Drug Assistance 
Program. The program  provides confidential individual consultations 
or  counseling as well as a group counseling option.

"Counseling often involves helping a student resolve  the ambivalence 
they may feel about using the drug,  helping one reflect on the 
discrepancies one may be  experiencing between their true values and 
goals and  what is really happening in their life," Dale E.  Kirkley, 
Alcohol and Drug Assistance Program director  and counselor for the 
Counseling and Psychological  Services Center, said.

Appalachian has begun to take new initiatives to help  cut back on 
the occurrence of drug-related issues among  students.

"This year, we have started a new investigation  process, where 
anyone that is caught with any kind of  drugs or paraphernalia comes 
in to speak with an  investigator," Rector said. "We check to see if 
they have ever had a prior drug violation, speak to them  about 
dangers and consequences and what to expect with  their case now and 
if it occurs again. It seems that it  has helped cut down on prior offenders."

For more information about drug related issues or  recovery options 
please call the Appalachian's  Counseling and Psychological Services 
Center at  262-3148 or
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman