Arkansas is no stranger to the prescription drug abuse epidemic, and this week Southern Arkansas University is joining 17 other campuses around the state to raise awareness about opioid abuse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Arkansas is ranked second in the nation for over-prescribing opioids. Students at SAU want to change that statistic.
“A lot of students don’t know that adderall, the basic medications that you can get from a doctor, it is possible to be addicted to it,” said Adriana Valentine a student at SAU.
Even though they may be prescribed to you, that doesn’t mean prescription drugs are safe.
“It’s important that once you’ve used it for what you need it for, that you get rid of it so people can’t get their hands on it,” said Kasey Jones a counselor at the university.
Students at SAU are taking a stand against abuse of prescription drugs with a week of events targeted to students and the community.
“Even if you’re not an abuser, someone else might be and you can potentially help them,” said Valentine.
The goal to raise awareness that the short-term high is not worth the long-term risk.
“Opioids in general are a depressant, a central nervous system depressant, so they can actually cause someone to stop breathing,” said Jones.
The number one risk of opioid use: overdose and death.
“Just be aware. Don’t keep your head buried in the sand. It happens to people,” said Jones. “It doesn’t discriminate. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.”
You can dispose of your unused prescription drugs at secure drop-box locations throughout the area, including at local law enforcement agencies.