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Misusing prescriptions can be very dangerous. Contrary to popular belief, they are not safer than illegal drugs. Mixing these with alcohol is even more dangerous, because they may have serious effects that you did not intend, such as seizures, slow or irregular heartbeat, and slow or stopped breathing.

What prescriptions are used most? 
The most commonly misused prescriptions are:

  • Pain medications, like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin
  • Stimulants used to treat ADD or ADHD, like Adderall or Ritalin
  • Sedatives like Valium and Xanax
  • Antidepressants
  • Medications for erectile disfunction, like Viagra

Why do college students use them? 
Students report using prescription medications for a number of reasons, including to get high, to help them study, to self-medicate for pain, anxiety, or depression, to diet, and even to enhance their stamina while playing sports.

Where do students get them? 
Most students who have misused prescriptions reported getting them from a family member or friend. It's important that if you take any prescription medications - regularly or just for a short time (like after having your wisdom teeth removed) - that you keep them locked or in a safe place, and don't share them with your friends.

How can you tell if a friend is misusing prescription meds? 
Look for some of the following signs:

  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased irritability, agitation, and anger
  • Changes in energy, either increased or abnormally low
  • Confusion and disorientation

If your friend has the prescription him/herself, check the bottles if you know where they are. Let your friend know you care by talking to him/her about his/her use.