Officials from 27 colleges are meeting this week to tackle the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among students. The conference is hosted by Ohio State University (OSU).
Overwhelmed students are using stimulants, sedatives and painkillers, according to Kenneth M. Hale, an assistant dean at OSU’s College of Pharmacy. They take prescription pills to reduce stress, boost their mood or help them stay up to study.
Hale told The Columbus Dispatch that many teens believe prescription drugs are non-addictive and safer than street drugs. Prescription medications are often easier to obtain.
OSU worked with the Cardinal Health Foundation three years ago to create a public awareness campaign called “Generation Rx,” which provides toolkits to teach parents, teachers and teenagers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. At the conference, the two groups will introduce a fourth toolkit, which was created by OSU students for college students.
Conference participants will be able to apply for a limited number of mini-grants of up to $2,500 to implement the plans they develop at the conference.