Burke Levy, P.C.

Has your child developed a prescription drug problem at college?

When your child received that acceptance letter to college, you probably celebrated. Maybe you threw a party or went out for a special dinner. You contemplated your child's future, and believed it to be bright.

Then, you received a phone call from local law enforcement where you child goes to college. Your child now faces charges for prescription drug possession. You may find yourself shocked, mystified and worried. What happened? How did your child end up with a prescription drug problem?

How common is prescription drug misuse on college campuses?

Stress levels in college can reach epic proportions. Between academic performance and fitting in socially, making bad decisions sometimes comes with the territory, and alcohol isn't the only intoxicating substance that floats around college campuses. Research shows the following about the prevalence of prescription drugs on college campuses: 

  • College students use stimulants more often than their non-college peers because they believe these drugs help in studying. Unfortunately, the research doesn't support the contention that academic performance improves with the use of stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin.
  • Data from 2016 indicates that approximately 12 percent of college students admitted to the non-medical use of prescription drugs that they did not receive a prescription for within a 12-month period.

As you can see, not only do students misuse prescription drugs; various kinds of prescription drugs may be readily available to those who want them.

In addition to stimulants, of course, is the risk of becoming addicted to opioids, which are also widely misused on college campuses and throughout communities across the United States.

What happens to students who take prescription drugs?

In addition to the risk of addiction, your child could experience the following negative consequences:

  • Grade point averages often suffer with drug use, and prescription drugs are no different.
  • A student that used to regularly attend classes may begin skipping them.
  • Your child may suffer from impaired coordination and an increased risk of heart problems.
  • Hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis can occur with the misuse of some prescription drugs.
  • Some college students have to deal with lifelong addiction issues after prolonged use of prescription opioids.
  • There is also a  serious risk of potentially fatal overdose.
  • Your child could face serious legal penalties, particularly if accused of selling or distributing prescription drugs.

What happens next?

If your child faces charges for possession of prescription drugs without a prescription, it may take a group effort to secure the help your family needs. Prosecutors may want to follow through with the charges, but jail time is not in your child's best interest. It may be possible to deal with the criminal charges and get drug treatment and rehabilitation for your son or daughter. With the right help, including the right legal defense, you could help your child get back on track toward a bright and successful future.

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