New College Campaign Makes Rx Abuse a Hard Pill to Swallow

College students across the nation are risking their lives by taking medication not prescribed for them, in misguided attempts to combat academic pressures. On average, someone in the U.S. dies from a drug overdose about every 15 minutes. In fact, prescription drug abuse accounts for the majority of drug overdoses in Georgia.

Tackling this devastating health crisis is challenging because pills are not seen as “street drugs.” These easy-to-access medications are far too often perceived as clean and safe.

Recently, the Georgia Rx Abuse Project launched on the campuses of Gordon State College, Kennesaw State University and Emory University. By the fall of 2015, we will add programs on the campuses of Georgia State University, Georgia Southern University, University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and University of West Georgia.

“Prescription drugs have become commonly used in a cavalier manner. When taken as prescribed, they can be helpful. It’s when pills are misused or abused that they become dangerous,” Program Coordinator Ashley Sequens said. “Students are receptive to our prevention message because they recognize it as a problem among their peers.”

Despite the rate of abuse and hard-to-break lifestyle choices of young adults, The Georgia Prevention Project takes a firm stand to educate college students about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. Last fall, the Georgia Rx Abuse Project launched across college campuses.

This campaign confronts the hidden abuse of prescription drugs among college students. In particular, the program focuses heavily on the abuse of Adderall and Ritalin—the two most commonly abused drugs on college campuses. The misconception is that these drugs will improve academic performance.

“College students have a lot of pressure placed on them from all angles...So, for some people the answer is prescription medicine,” said a Kennesaw State University senior, Kesha Adams. “This issue usually doesn’t get as much attention on campus as drunk driving or cancer. Prescription medication in the wrong hands can cause fatal consequences, and more awareness can save someone’s life.”