There's a belief among many college students that prescription or over-the-counter medications are somehow safer to use recreationally than other substances available on unregulated markets. While it is true that these medications will have standard doses and generally won't have any adulterants that are dangerous, that doesn't mean abusing them is safe. However, many college students still misuse prescription drugs.
Using any medication in a manner that varies from how the doctor ordered it violates the terms of your prescription. Taking extra pills, sharing with other people or mixing medications with other substances can prove to be serious mistakes that have medical, legal and educational consequences for students in Virginia.
Painkillers are some of the most abused medications
Virginia, like the rest of the nation, faces an increasingly deadly epidemic centered on the abuse of prescription painkillers. More than 100 people around the country die every day from abuse of these drugs. Opioids and opiates are some of the most popular drugs of abuse when it comes to prescription medication. There have been many kinds of efforts in order to combat this dangerous form of addiction, but none are wholly successful.
Lawmakers, for example, create legislation that criminalizes the abuse of these drugs. In some cases, they even target doctors who prescribe these potentially addictive pills. If you get caught buying, selling, possessing or using these drugs without a prescription or in violation of the instructions by your doctor, you could face criminal penalties that affect you for years.
Prescribed stimulants are also popular on many campuses
Of course, pain medication is far from the only prescribed drug that students frequently abuse. Another very popular class of drugs includes stimulants. These drugs are often prescribed to help those with ADD or ADHD focus and achieve academic success. Students without any kind of learning disability can abuse these drugs to pull all-night study sessions. Temptation can increase as the end of the school year looms.
Some of the more common names for these pills include Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta, but there are other prescription stimulants available as well. If you truly have a condition (and a legal, current prescription), taking these medications to study is legal.
If you do not have either, however, taking these drugs to get an edge during exam time could actually leave you unable to continue your academic career. If you face criminal charges, a conviction or guilty plea could preclude you from any future federal financial aid.
There are still more medications that people abuse
In addition to pain medication and stimulants, there are many other kinds of prescribed medications students can abuse. Students can take anything from erectile dysfunction drugs to Xanax for recreational purposes. Not only is there serious concern for potential health consequences (especially if these pills get mixed with alcohol or street drugs), there is legal risk as well.
Students are best served by avoiding overt law-breaking while in school. The consequences of criminal convictions could result in the end of their education otherwise.