Over spring break, seven University of Connecticut students were arrested in connection with a drug deal and robbery that occurred on campus in January, at the start of the spring semester. The charges the students face include robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, assault and attempt to distribute/sell a controlled substance. The controlled substance that led to multiple arrests on multiple charges was Xanax.
Xanax is a strong benzodiazepam that is often prescribed to those with anxiety-related disorders. It works by increasing inhibitory activity in the brain to decrease concomitant brain activity. Decreasing brain activity, in and of itself, clearly has its downsides.
There has been a rise in prescription drug abuse throughout college campuses. An increasing amount of students are turning to Adderall in order to reinforce study habits and Xanax to decrease any anxiety and poor sleep habits.
As with any drug abuse, there is an increase in dependency that abusers experience leading to a subsequent increase in the amount of drug taken in order to reach the same level of enhanced pharmacological state. The increased amount of drugs going through the system strains the body’s ability to metabolize the drug in order to avoid excess toxicity.
Besides the negative physiological effects, there are serious effects on students’ mental health. Counseling & Mental Health Services (CMHS), especially this time of year, is already inundated with appointments and their resources are spread thin. Such an escalation to violence in an act to gain a prescription drug, coupled with these facts points to the mental health problems of the students and the university’s need to acknowledge this.
Students’ mental health has become an increasingly prevalent problem on college campuses throughout the nation. Students are mandated to take an AlcoholEdu course freshman year to increase awareness of the pitfalls of alcohol abuse.
Living on a college campus and the freedom that comes with it is can lead to drug abuse; the program is necessary and beneficial. However, with the rise of prescription drug abuse on college campuses due to the stress of academics and independent living, there should also be a similar program dealing with such issues, hopefully placing emphasis on the resources the university offers, such as CMHS.