|Non-medical prescription drug use OR prescription drug misuse is the use of over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drugs for anything other than the drug's intended purpose, by someone other than the intended recipient, and/or in a dosage other than prescribed.|
Prescription drugs have contributed to major advances in public health. However, prescription drugs are the second most frequently misused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs.
Below are the most commonly misused prescription drugs and their rate of misuse among UT students according to a 2018 study1:
Students misuse prescription drugs for a variety of reasons, including to increase concentration, study, lose weight, party, relax, and relieve symptoms of health and mental health issues.
However, a large majority of UT students do not misuse prescription drugs, and studies indicate that students who do not misuse prescription drugs are more successful academically.2,3
Prescription drugs are often strong medications, which is why they require a prescription. Doctors carefully consider potential benefits and risks before prescribing medications. Misusing prescription drugs can have serious medical consequences and cause the following side-effects:
It is illegal to use prescription drugs without a valid prescription or to distribute them. Penalties for misuse or illegal distribution of prescription drugs vary depending upon the drug type. UT and City of Austin Police Departments and Student Conduct and Academic Integrity treat illegal use of prescription drugs as they do other illegal substances.
There are safer and healthier alternatives to the misuse of prescription or OTC medication that can benefit someone in the long run. Find on-campus resources that can help below:
Most students who use prescription drugs have them prescribed and monitored by a healthcare provider and gain benefit from their use. They may be approached, however, by other students, friends, or family members who ask to buy or use their medicines. Try the following to protect your prescriptions:
|Bring expired or unused medication to your local pharmacy or pharmaceutical disposal location for safe disposal.|
|Set a reminder on your cell phone for your daily dose and for refills.|
|Avoid carrying your entire pill bottle or monthly supply in your backpack or purse.|
|Keep your medicines in a safe, private spot where only you know the location.|
|Monday - Friday, 8am to 5pm by appointment|
University Health Services is committed to providing high-quality care to patients of all ages, races, ethnicities, physical abilities or attributes, religions, sexual orientations, or gender identities/expression.
100 West Dean Keeton Student Services Building (SSB)