Study finds large numbers of students abuse prescription drugs to cope with stress of finals

Students, parents regard sharing of drugs as common

WASHINGTON — Finals can be a stressful time for any college or graduate student, with many hours spent studying and few spent socializing or relaxing. But many students are using prescription drugs to get through finals, according to a new study.

the 621-person study, commissioned by the Digital Citizens Alliance and conducted by Zogby Analytics, found that one-in-three students reported taking prescription drugs to get through finals. The study included two online surveys conducted April 29-30, one with 366 current college students and recent graduates and a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points and another with 355 parents of students and recent graduates and a margin of error of 5.3 percentage points. The Digital Citizens Alliance is a Washington-based group whose goal is to educate the public and policymakers on threats to consumers on the Internet.

"It's the rampant abuse that can cause serious health complications and even death," Digital Citizens Alliance executive director Tom Galvin. "Too many young adults are learning a terrible lesson to self-medicate to get through stressful, challenging moments."

Nearly one-quarter of respondents said they or a friend had shared legally prescribed drugs with someone else and perceived the practice as common; 71% of parents regard it as common as well. Fifteen percent of students have ordered drugs online without a prescription or know a friend who has. More than 40% of parents of current or recently graduated students say law enforcement isn't doing enough to curb the illegal sale of prescription drugs online, compared with more than 17% who say it is.


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