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Chico State's Prescription Drug Culture

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: May 15 2013 12:19:30 AM CDT
Chico State's Prescription Drug Culture

Chico State students admit the use of prescription drugs to make it through final exams is a rampant practice.

Chico State students admit the use of prescription drugs to make it through final exams is a rampant practice.

According to a poll by Zogby Analytics, one third of college students across the country admitted to using prescription drugs during the end of year push.

The drug of choice for most students is the psychostimulant Adderall, a pharmaceutical handed out to sufferers of ADD and ADHD. It's said to increase energy and at the same time sharpen focus.

And many students on campus at Chico State said that one-third number seems pretty accurate--if not low.

"There definitely is a culture, especially during finals week," said Marissa Meltzer, a junior at Chico State, "there's so much stuff happening and people think it might help them focus."

Alex Stock, a freshman, says he was surprised to come to college and find out how ingrained prescription drug use is on campus.

"It seems like a lot of people are using them and it seems like it almost was a normal thing," Stock said. "And that was kind of, I guess, surprising coming here and seeing that."

According to another poll by Zogby, 70 percent of students--and 71 percent of parents--think that sharing prescription drugs among friends is common practice.

And while it may be obvious there are dangers for others to use prescriptions not written for them, it goes beyond that.

It definitely could have a negative health impact, but Theresa Fagouri, Program Coordinator for the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center, says there are legal ramifications for the user and the provider.

"If you are the person who maybe shared your prescription drug and something happens to that person you shared with," Fagouri said, "that could result in criminal charges to you as well."

The concern really is that prescription drug use has become a "normal" practice instead of taboo.

One student, who wouldn't go on record, went as far as to say it's common knowledge that if you take Adderall you get higher grades.

But does the risk outweigh the reward?

Well if you listen to one-third of the students on a given college campus, they'll tell you yes.

Fortunately there's still a two-thirds majority that believes in earning a degree the old fashioned way.

"I think it's all just about how well you can focus just as an individual student," Marissa Meltzer said, "and how well you've put effort into the rest of the semester."