Prescription Drug Abuse among College Students Linked to Mental Health Problems
A new study finds a link between prescription drug abuse among college students and more mental health woes like depression and suicidal thoughts.
Researchers analyzed data from a 2008 survey, participated by more than 26,000 college students at 40 campuses, and found that about 13 per cent of the responders reported non-medical use of prescription drugs. Students who said they had experienced feeling hopeless, sad, depressed or had considered suicide have greater risk to abuse prescription drugs. The association was particularly strong among female students who reported painkiller use.
Study co-author Amanda Divin, assistant professor of health sciences at Western Illinois University, said “As our study demonstrates, use of prescription drugs — particularly painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin — is related to depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in college students. This is why use of such drugs need to be monitored by a doctor and why mental health outreach on college campuses is particularly important.”
Divin adds that most people perceived prescription drugs as “safe” because they are tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and prescribed by doctors. The findings demonstrate that college students are abusing prescription drugs to ease mental distress.
Over the last few weeks, we have been heard and read news about the rising cases of prescription drug abuse across the United States. Some students in elite private schools are reportedly using prescription medicines, like Adderall and Ritalin, to enhance academic performance.
The new study is scheduled to be published in the August issue of Addictive Behaviors: An International Journal.Tags: prescription drug abuse, prescription drug use by college students, study drugs