More Stressed College Students Ordering Medications Online

Aimee Simone, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Of college students who used medications to aid study during final exams, 33% obtained the drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

Nearly one-third of college students turn to prescription drugs during final exam time, and an increasing number of them are ordering the drugs from the Internet without a prescription, according to the results of a recent poll.

The poll, now in its second year, was conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Digital Citizens Alliance, a coalition whose mission is to improve safety and reduce crime on the Internet. A total of 311 current and recently graduated college students completed an online survey from May 1 to May 13, 2014.

Of the students surveyed, 72% said that sharing prescription medications with friends was somewhat or very common among college students. Overall, 32% of students surveyed said they or their friends had taken prescription medications as study aids during final exams. Among those who had used medications, 33% obtained the drugs without a physician’s prescription. Both the percentage of students who used prescription drugs and the percentage of those who obtained them without a prescription were slightly increased compared with the results from the 2013 poll. Men were more likely to use medications to help them study than women; approximately 38% of men reported using prescription drugs, compared with 26% of women.

In addition, 31% of students said they or a friend had shared a legally prescribed medication with someone else, an 8% increase from last year. Students residing in the southern part of the United States were more likely to share prescriptions than those from other regions, the survey found.
A greater percentage of students also reported obtaining prescription medications through the internet this year. Approximately 28% of respondents said they or a friend had ordered drugs online without a prescription, up 13% from 2013.

"We know that there are 19.7 million college students from the 2011 Census. Perhaps more than 5 million are using the Internet to obtain prescription medication to help cope with finals and other high pressure situations," said Adam Benson, Deputy Executive Director of the Digital Citizens Alliance in a press release. "Last year's survey showed there was a large number of students making these purchases. To see an increase like this is a sign that both Universities and parents need to ask some new questions of students."

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