Although roughly seven out of every 10 college students polled recently said sharing prescription drugs was common, a UF counselor said the amount of UF students doing so is low.
A poll by Zogby Analytics for the Digital Citizens Alliance showed 71 percent of 366 students said sharing of prescription drugs was slightly or very usual among their classmates. Roughly 30 percent said they or their friends had taken prescription medications to help them study for finals.
But GatorWell Director Maureen Miller said that on the whole, the percentage and prevalence rates of students at UF abusing prescription drugs are low.
“I heard of sharing prescription drugs, but I never thought of using them,” said 21-year-old UF public relations sophomore Andrea Cepeda. “I feel like if they’re not prescribed by a doctor for you, then you don’t really need them.”
Among polled students who have taken prescription drugs, 32 percent said they were accessed without a prescription, according to www.pharmacytimes.com.
Half of the students who shared or knew of shared prescriptions used pain medication. Nearly 40 percent shared amphetamines, and the same amount used muscle relaxants.
A UF public relations senior who prefers to remain anonymous said she has taken amphetamines as a study aid.
“I’m not a big fan of it, because it doesn’t really do much for me,” said the 22-year-old. “It provides a little bit of focus, but not enough to be taking a drug.”
Miller said people — not only students — do not realize that there can be negative consequences associated with sharing prescription drugs.
“If you’re taking any sort of medicine that hasn’t been prescribed for you, then you don’t know how your body is going to interact with that,” she said.
Miller said it is healthier to use time management skills, study strategies and campus resources to help with studying and work that need to be done — not drugs.
“You have to remind students that you might feel that it’s harmless and helps you get through a couple of things,” she said. “But you really haven’t learned how to deal with stressors in a positive and healthy way.”
According to the poll, 18 percent of students said their schools have programs dealing with students using drugs as study aids.