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Millions of College Students Rely on Prescription Drugs to Get Through Finals

Published Monday, May 13, 2013

And Large Numbers Get Those Drugs over the Internet Without a Prescription - According to New Polls from the Digital Citizens Alliance

Washington, DC – College students trying to get through final exams are increasingly relying on prescription drugs to help them study – and all too often they get them from someone else or overthe Internet without a prescription, according to a Digital Citizens Alliance study released today.

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Washington, DC – College students trying to get through final exams are increasingly relying on prescription drugs to help them study – and all too often they get them from someone else or overthe Internet without a prescription, according to a Digital Citizens Alliance study released today.

One in three students reported that they took prescription drugs to get through finals, according to a Zogby Analytics poll commissioned by Digital Citizens. And of those who took drugs to get through finals, one-third of the students reported that they obtained them without a prescription from a doctor. Parents shared equally troubling opinions, with 30 percent expressing concern thattheir children are using prescription medications obtained without a meeting or conversation with a doctor.

Zogby Analytics conducted the research for Digital Citizens Alliance, a coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses dedicated to making the Internet safer and crime-free. "It's the rampant abuse that can cause serious health complications and even death,” said Tom Galvin, Digital Citizens Executive Director. "Too many young adults are learning a terrible lesson to self-medicate to get through stressful, challenging moments. And as we have all learned, self-medication can have tragic consequences when drugs are misused.” Click here to download a PDF of Digital Citizens Alliance infographic.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Fifteen percent of students have or have a friend who has ordered drugs over the Internet without a prescription. This statistic is alarming considering that as of fall of 2011, when the most recent census was taken; nearly 19.7 million students were enrolled in colleges and universities around the countries.
  • Nearly one-quarter of the students said either they themselves or friend had shared legally prescribed medicine with someone else. Seventy percent of students said they thought sharing prescription drugs was common between their friends and acquaintances.
  • Parents are well aware of the prescription drug use that takes place on college campuses as 71 percent of parents of think it is common for college students to share prescription medications among their friends.
  • Both parents and students indicate there is little to discourage students from this kind of abuse. By more than a 2-to-1 ratio, parents of current college students or recent graduates do not feel that law enforcement is doing enough to curb the sale of illegal prescription drugs via the Internet (41.2 percent to 17.4 percent). Parents said just 20 percent of colleges and universities had programs in place to help students using prescription drugs during finals, while only 18 percent of students said such programs exist at their schools.

"We want to bring this problem out of the shadows and get people to talk about it," Galvin said. "Millions of Americans know it is happening, but we all seem powerless to do anything about it. That has to change."

Zogby Analytics conducted the two online surveys on April 29-30, 2013. Zogby surveyed 366 current and recent college students and possessed a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points as well as 355 parents of current and recent college students with a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points.

 

 

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