A 2018 report from The Ohio State University finds the rate of misuse or abuse of prescription stimulants among college students is about 75% higher than that of other classes of medications, and more than 1-in-4 college students says that prescription stimulants are somewhat easy or very easy to obtain.
With so much at stake, campuses need tools that support population-level prevention programming. The Prescription Drug Safety program for colleges leverage evidence-based prevention practices to support college students to make healthier decisions and understand their role in preventing the abuse of prescription drugs.
EVERFI has partnered with the Association for Accessible Medicines to give students access to a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention course at no cost. This 45-minute digital course applies EVERFI’s proven, evidence-based approach to prevention to help students make informed and healthy decisions about prescription stimulants, depressants and opioids.
Image from Prescription Drug Safety digital course.
“Prescription stimulant misuse is a somewhat underground, but prevalent, problem. A lot of students misuse stimulants – they may take them to stay up all night studying and then do it again for the next exam. The usage really picks up during mid-terms and finals week,” says Cat Lanigan, a student at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. “It’s so common for a student to slip a teammate or friend their ADHD medication – they think they’re being helpful. I don’t think the majority of students realize the consequences.”
“Studies show that when students take stimulants that aren’t prescribed to them or when they misuse their own prescriptions to help them study, it can have adverse effects and in some cases can have negative implications on their academic outcomes,” says Gina Firth, Associate Dean of Wellness at The University of Tampa, referencing recent studies like this one conducted by researchers at The University of Rhode Island and Brown University.
Amber Blue, another Juniata student, says, “Programs like these are definitely helpful and can help bridge the gap of what we haven’t learned in high school and what campus really looks like. Learning how addiction occurs and what happens to your brain and your body under the influence of drugs – that kind of knowledge makes it easy to make better decisions.”
Support from partners helps campus administrators be effective when it comes to implementing prevention strategies. “We can’t do it alone – support from community partners who provide funding for important initiatives like this make a big difference,” Gina Firth shares.
The Prescription Drug Safety course is free to colleges and universities: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with an EVERFI representative who can help you get started.
By Madelyn Murphy, Senior Director at EVERFI, which launched the Prescription Drug Safety Network in 2017.