WUFT News

University of Florida Counseling and Wellness combating prescription drug abuse on campus

By and on November 29th, 2012

(Editor’s note: subject’s last name has been withheld by request.)

Ryan describes himself as a good student with a high grade-point average at the University of Florida. He studies for his courses late into the night, gets two or three hours of sleep and gets out of bed early to start the cycle again each day.

With the end of the fall semester and exams quickly approaching, Ryan finds it increasingly difficult to concentrate on his textbooks and complete his work late at night.

Ryan is part of a growing group of college students around the country who illegally use prescription drugs like Adderall to help them excel in the classroom.

“It makes it a whole lot easier … to jump into your studying,” he said.

Another male student said “it’s really easy” to get the drugs on campus, adding that classmates can have access to them within 30 minutes if they want.

Not all students illegally use prescription drugs to perform in class, but Joan Scully, the substance abuse coordinator at UF’s Counseling and Wellness Center, has noticed a significant increase in the incidence of substance abuse among students. The most prevalent are stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin , and Scully is concerned that most students don’t understand the dangers of using illegal prescriptions.

“The real issue with stimulants is that they are addictive … and the side effects for stimulants can be very significant,” she said.

study published by National Household Survey of Drug Use and Health indicated about one in four college students between the ages 18 and 20 have taken prescription drugs for non-medical use at least once. Full-time college students ages 18 to 22 are twice as likely to use stimulants for non-medical reasons as part-time students or peers who aren’t enrolled. The Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention at the Educational Development Center in Washington, D.C., said those trends are on the rise.

Possession of controlled substances without a prescription is a felony. According to the UF Police Department, the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Scully hopes students make safer choices, but said the Counseling and Wellness Center can assist in recoveries from prescription abuse. The center offers a new rehabilitation program, Back on Track, which lasts four to six months and includes drug testing, educational modules and counseling.

“I think students feel compelled to use whatever is in their grasp to do well,” Scully said.

Sarah Samuels contributed audio reporting. George Pappas wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Education, Health and Science, University of Florida and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Susan Bowles hugs Jennifer Anhalt after Anhalt roused the crowd at the town hall meeting Tuesday night regarding standardized test practices in in Alachua County. In an interview after the meeting, Bowles said she was so grateful to have heard Anhalt speak with such skill on the matter that is so close to the hearts of many teachers.

Town Hall Meeting Explains State Tests, Community Reacts

Parents and teachers in Alachua County spoke out against elementary school standardized testing they say is too advanced. Students in kindergarten through second grade are expected to take up to nine state-required tests.


Marion County Sheriff's Office Mobile Jail Unit

Mobile Jail Cell Educates Public About Life In Jail

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office launched a program to educate the community about life in jail. A mobile jail cell called the “jail on wheels” shows the typical specifications of a jail cell and is housed in a standard utility trailer.


The Office for Student Financial Affairs offers many financial aid
options to provide students with resources and information to understand the rights 
incurred when they receive financial aid. The University of Florida office is located in Criser Hall on Union Road.

New Legislation Lowers Cost of Florida Prepaid College Plans

Beginning Sept. 20, families that purchase a Florida Prepaid College Plan may receive refund benefits, price reductions and waived enrollment fees. Payment reductions will be applied to Prepaid Plans and refund checks will be processed and mailed within four to six weeks after.


Miranda Larkin, 16, stands in a Oakleaf High School bathroom after changing into the dress code violation outfit given to her by the school nurse. This is the photo she sent to her mother, Dianna. The yellow T-shirt and red pants have "Dress Code Violation" written on them.

Clay County Mother Files Complaint Over Dress Code Violation Punishment

A Clay County mother has filed a complaint with FERPA after her daughter was told to wear a pair of red pants and a bright yellow T-shirt with the words “Dress Code Violation” visibly printed on both. The punishment came after an Oakleaf High School teacher said the student’s skirt was too short.


Backlash Leads to Cancellation of FAIR Testing

According to a letter from the Alachua County Superintendent of Schools Owen Roberts, FAIR testing for students in kindergarten through the second grade has been cancelled for the year. The test will be temporarily replaced by an observational sheet for each student.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments