(WPRI) – Colleges are taking action against a dangerous trend in drug use at campuses around the country, according to medical doctors.
Schools are changing policies after the rampant spread of prescription medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), leaving many unhappy.
Clinics at colleges across the country are making it more difficult to obtain ADHD medication because many students are sharing the drugs with fellow students. In the future, students who are prescribed the medication may have to submit to a drug test or sign a contract in order to receive the pills to treat their disorder.
"These are unfortunate barriers for those who need the treatment," said Dr. Ted Grace, Director of Student Health Services at Southern Illinois University.
Recent studies have revealed misuse and abuse of ADHD medication on college campuses, where the drugs are sometimes used recreationally to help students to stay focused for hours at a time.
One college student explained, "I had a bunch of friends that were on them and I had taken some of their's and that helped me."
After trying the medication, the student asked a doctor for a prescription. He never sold the medication but did give them away.
Sharing this type of medication is the dangerous misuse that college campuses are looking to avoid by changing policies; however, schools are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand and the expense for treatment and diagnosis.
With a growing concern for medical liability, colleges are taking action.
"Recently, a number of campuses have announced that they will no longer prescribe stimulant medication for those students with Attention Deficit Disorder," Dr. Jerald Kay of the American Psychiatry Association said.
With policy changes, it will be the student's responsibility to obtain medications from home or from an off-campus pharmacy. Other schools say they will fill prescriptions but will not do any more diagnosing.
"They base it on the fact that its been diagnosed in the past," Dr. Grace explained.
Some schools are making it much more difficult for students than others, even with a past diagnosis. Students will have to reach certain testing requirements, which often include signing a contract.
"They promise that they will not abuse any drugs. They promise not to share or sell their medications to roommates, and importantly, they promise to follow through with therapy," said Dr. Grace.
Some schools are even considering the misuse of ADHD medications to be cheating, which would go against the college's honor code, meaning students could face expulsion.
With such drastic changes in the future for some schools, many have expressed disagreement with policy changes.
"We're making it harder for them to have access to good treatment and to have support," said Ruth Hughes of CHADD.org. "You know, if somebody has asthma and has to take asthma medication every day or diabetes or blood pressure, we wouldn't question their need for medication."
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