Survey finds 1 in 5 college students abuse prescription drugs

A new survey of college students found that one in five has abused prescription drugs to manage stress at least once in their lifetime.

The study, conducted by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, polled 1,600 students and found that 60 percent admitted to abusing Adderall, 20 percent admitted to abusing Ritalin and 14 percent abused Vyvanse. The drugs are prescribed for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Of the students who reported abusing the drugs, 41 percent cited a need to study and improve academic performance, while 31 percent said it was a way to stay awake, according to a news release.

A majority of the students polled with prescribed medication reported feeling “pressured” by friends to share it, while 28 percent admitted to overemphasizing symptoms to physicians to secure medication.

“Rather than misusing drugs to counteract the fact that many of these students are likely taking on too much in terms of achieving their academic and social goals, the answer is to regulate their daily schedules and thereby, relieve the immense pressure they place upon themselves,” Kent Runyon, executive director of Novus Medical Detox said in a news release.

Runyon suggests teaching students more effective methods to keep a balance between social, school and work lives to cut down on abuse. He also advises informing students what a substance may do to their body before they turn to the drugs, and that those struggling with an addiction seek professional help.