Drugs aren’t the answers for your semester finals

Scott Redmond, Staff Writer

Finals are coming up and essays are due and the energy reserves are a little low, so you pop a few pills just to perk you up enough to plow through to the end. It can’t hurt much, right?

The truth of the matter is it can and will hurt in the long run.

According to the Clinton Health Matters Initiative more people died of drug overdoses than died in car accidents in 2012, making prescription drug misuse the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

Statistics from CHMI show that every 19 minutes one person in the U.S. dies from a drug overdose, with prescription painkiller overdoses killing more than those involving heroin and cocaine combined.

It’s easy to think that taking a few pills won’t do anything in the long run because they can be prescribed by a doctor, therefore they must be safe.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines prescription drug abuse as “the intentional use of a medication without a prescription; in a way other than as prescribed; or for the experience or feeling it causes.”

All drugs are chemicals that are put into your body to alter something that is occurring within, and anything that alters such delicate systems has the potential to be fatal if overdone.

I’ve never overused prescription pills or taken pills prescribed to others, but in recent years I had an issue with overdependence and overuse of over-the-counter painkillers.

I would get a bit of a headache and pop a pill. Back hurt a bit from my slightly curved spine, I’d pop a pill. The bottle said to take no more than six in a day and I’d end up taking eight.

It got to a point where I was popping the pills almost out of habit rather than any necessity. I perceived that I needed them to ‘feel better’ in some way, even if I knew that in reality I shouldn’t be doing that.

Eventually my doctor told me I could not take the pills anymore because the levels of the drugs within them was high enough in my blood work that it was potentially dangerous if I continued on that path.

That was just from your generic store brand and name brand Acetaminophen Tylenol-like pain killers. Imagine what would happen if you started to do that with stuff like Vicodin or Percocet.

College students are affected in greater quantities than the rest of the population when it comes to the tragedy of prescription drug overuse. Between 1993 and 2005 the use of opioids such as Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet by college students increased by 343 percent and the use of stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall increased by 93 percent, according to CHMI.

When there is caution about pills it is not to get rid of them all together. There are reasons for all of those medicines and they help greatly when used with care and respect.

The bottom line is be careful with everything you put into your body. Damaging your long term health for a perceived short term gain isn’t worth it.

For more information on perscription drug abuse and to learn about Clinton Health Matters Initiative efforts to curb the abuse, visit their website at http://www.clintonfoundation.org/