If your child is a student at Southeastern Louisiana University or another institution of higher learning, he or she probably talks about the pressures of college life. Perhaps over the recent holidays you heard about brutal final exams, impossible professors and long, late-night study sessions. Maybe you noticed something different about your child.
Did he or she act a little nervous or jittery? Did it seem that your child had lost weight? Was your child restless and unable to sleep? You likely suspect that your child is using drugs; however, you may be surprised to learn what kind of drugs are prevalent among college students.
What are study drugs?
Perhaps you knew of children in your child's elementary school who struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and their pediatricians prescribed Ritalin or another drug to control the symptoms and allow them to concentrate. Ritalin and similar drugs are actually stimulants, and they are often the drug of choice among college students. In fact, 67 percent of young adults who abuse prescriptions drugs are college students.
Ritalin and similar stimulants are known as study drugs because they work in a person's body to improve memory, alertness and concentration. The most commonly abused study drugs on college campuses include these:
If your child does not have a prescription for any of these drugs and is using them nonetheless, he or she is likely buying or obtaining them illegally. On the other hand, if your child does have a prescription for one of the study drugs, it is possible he or she is selling or giving them to friends. This is also against the law. In fact, distributing study drugs falls under the same category as selling heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Penalties associated with study drugs
Possessing even a single pill may result in a prison sentence and a hefty fine if the court convicts your child. A federal conviction for selling study drugs is similar to that for selling other Schedule II substances and may include up to 20 years behind bars and millions in fines, even for a first offense. If your child is selling drugs on a college campus, those penalties may double. In addition to federal charges, you child may also face state penalties.
Seeking medical intervention for your child is likely of primary importance for you. However, it may be advisable not to overlook the legal ramifications of your child's use of study drugs. Consulting with a legal professional to learn about your options may be a wise step to take.