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Students battle with opioids

Personal Experiences from Cal State LA Students

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

Katelin Petersen, Contributor

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Addiction to opioids have been swept under the rug and ignored for years.  Opioids like heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers have become such a serious worldwide epidemic, affecting an individual’s health, social life, and economic welfare.  

The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse talks about the rising epidemic of alcohol binge drinking, marijuana dependencies, and substance abuse with prescription drugs. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 college students suffer from one, if not all of these dependencies.   

“I never really thought about pain medicine as an addictive drug because it was prescribed by my doctor after I broke my leg. Six weeks later, I was addicted to Vicodin,” said Joseph Lee, SOC major.  

Many individuals, including young college students, have absolutely no intention of becoming addicted to a drug, yet after the prescription is finished, many find themselves with the urge for more.  

Other individuals have received unprescribed drugs through friends or classmates.  This can lead to a dangerous spiral as the addiction worsens and an individual tries to obtain off market prescription alternatives.  

“I got a few Oxycodone pills from a friend once because I was having severe back pains.  Just a few can get you hooked.  Not having a prescription for the medication myself, I would ask around daily seeing where I could find more.  It’s a dangerous road,” said another student, David Lopez.  

The FDA and Pharmaceutical Companies are doing everything they can to tighten the reins on addictive prescription drugs, making it more difficult for doctors to prescribe patients with on-going refills of opioids.  Even with more strict guidelines, those suffering from addiction will still find a way to get that personal ‘high.’  This alternative road leads many down the path of illegal drugs, such as heroin, since it can be cheaper and easier to acquire.  

My husband, my brother, three close friends in college, and my father have faced, or are currently facing, addictions to opioids.  The addiction almost ended my parent’s marriage; it nearly killed my brother, and has made my husband lose everything.   My husband is doing whatever he can to achieve a sober lifestyle, but he has been facing addiction to pills for nearly six years now.  “I don’t want to feel like I need pills to function and live my life.  I hate it.  I don’t want to be an addict,” he said to me.  Two of my three friends are in rehab and the other I worry about everyday.  The last time I saw one of my friends before rehab, she said,  “I never knew a prescription from my doctor would ruin my life.”

As a student who is very sensitive to the topic of prescription drugs and abuse, I am bothered when I encounter other young adults talking about prescription drugs with excitement.  It breaks my heart to see young adults in college, working toward their future, and taking these risks.  

Another abused drug that has not been taken off the market by the FDA is Imodium.  Imodium is an anti-diarrhea medication containing loperamide, which is used by many opioid dependents as a self-treatment to help with opioid withdrawal.  When taken in low doses, it does as desired; helping stomach problems from the bad greasy food you may have eaten a couple hours prior. In high doses, it can be used to shield from withdraws and supplement a high and euphoria that can be fatal.  

Drug administrations have linked poor student academic performance, depression, anxiety, suicide, property damage, and fights to many dependency cases with young adults and students.  Don’t let substance abuse and dependency alter your path to success and reach out for help now.  

Feel free to visit the LA County Department of Public Health for more information on prevention, treatments, and recovery.  http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/sapc/

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Students battle with opioids