Dangerous new "Party" drug taking over college campuses
Stimulants are typically the most abused prescriptions on college campuses, but a growing number of students are turing to anti-anxiety medications to take the edge off.
Manager of the Palmetto Health Adolescent Recovery Center Brian Fox says that abuse in anti-anxiety medications has skyrocketed in the last ten years.
By Tiffany Lewis, Carolina News
Prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed in America in recent years. The drugs most typically abused on college campuses are stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. Those are taken by students to give them an extra edge while studying. But to take the edge off, students are turning to a different class of drugs.
According to a study conducted by the FDA in 2016, anti-anxiety medications are now more heavily prescribed and abused than ever before. The drugs are designed to help calm nerves and reduce anxiety. But when abused or mixed with other drugs, the affects can be deadly says Palmetto Health's Brian Fox.
"They're either mixing them with other prescription medications, but probably most commonly with alcohol," says Fox, who heads the Adolescent Recovery Center. "And so someone that thinks they're just going to relax and have a good time; quickly goes from feeling kind of drunk and euphoric, to passed out- into dangerous- into dead."
According to students, people are buying the medications from other students who are prescribed and taking them before a night of partying to help them relax and have a more "chill" night. But taking this medication to party creates the opposite effect.
"I know people who take it to try and relax and spend less money because they say they will need to buy fewer drinks in order to feel buzzed, but they really end up looking like zombies. There is no way to tell how the medication will react to your body and they can't tell once they are taking it too far," says USC student Anna Pishko.
Xanax and Klonopin are the most prescribed anti-anxiety medications. Fox thinks that an over prescription problem and loss of fear is resulting in the growing number of people abusing these medications.
"They see it in the media, they see it on TV. They're even seeing mom and dad and friends be prescribed all kinds of things," Fox says, "And so the fear, the natural fear, that I think we had a generation ago, is quickly disappearing."
And the increase in use is staggering.
"You know ten years ago, we might have had one out of every five people that have had a significant experience with any kind of anxiety medications, now it's probably four out of every five," Fox says.
These drugs are one of the few that can result in death if quit improperly. If you or someone you know if suffering from addiction to an anti-anxiety medication and need help, you can call Palmetto Health Recovery Center at (803) 296-5963.