SCIENCE Daily This is the first study to describe college students' perceptions about the potential harmfulness of nonmedical use of prescription pain killers and stimulants. Previous studies with high school students show that beliefs about harmfulness of illicit drugs are related to drug use. Nonmedical use of pain killers and stimulants can be addictive and can cause serious problems requiring emergency room treatment.
The study by Amelia Arria, Ph.D., of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, also found that college students who can be described as "sensation-seekers" are more likely to use prescription drugs nonmedically; irrespective of how harmful they may perceive the drugs to be. Arria said "sensation-seekers are students who like novel experiences, who want to try something new and a little dangerous, like jumping off the highest diving board or placing themselves in high-risk situations. They are much more likely to use pain killers nonmedically even if they perceive the drugs to be quite harmful."