Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse in College Students

While college students are spending the summer at home, parents may find more opportunities to observe at-risk behaviors. Drug use casually introduced on campus can follow students home, prompting them to attempt to conceal those habits from family members. A parent’s prescription drugs may seem especially attractive to the student using them for non-medical reasons or the student who has developed an addiction during the course of the school year.

Among the prescription drugs often misused by young adults are narcotic painkillers such as  OxyContin or Vicodin, sedatives and tranquilizers including Xanax or Valium, and stimulants such as Dexedrine, Adderall or Ritalin. Prescription drugs stored in shared rooms and medicine cabinets are especially vulnerable.

As a precaution, parents may consider counting pills regularly or restricting access to them. Also, establishing a few routines that provide face-to-face time, such as a movie night or a weekly lunch out together, can help a parent assess abrupt changes in behavior of a college student. This preemptive approach can help a parent detect prescription drug abuse early in the process.

Treatment may be a necessary part of the intervention, and resources are available for parents looking to find drug treatment for a college-age student. Without early diagnosis and treatment, prescription drugs abuse can lead to serious side effects, including addiction. Once addiction has taken over, the addict may require the services of a rehabilitation facility to sever the relationship with the drug of choice.

If multiple attempts at recovery fail, and a chronic relapse becomes the pattern, a long-term program may provide much-needed solutions. Burning Tree, a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, is dedicated to helping people with a history of chronic relapse reclaim their lives. Burning Tree has two facilities in Texas, one with close proximity to Austin and the other outside of Dallas.


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