The Center for Wellness Promotion offers a number of workshops and awareness programs about alcohol, drugs and related issues. Many of the programs are interactive and excellent for groups. Review our presentations or call 704-687-7407 for more information. Any drug can be problematic for an individual as well as for others who are impacted by that person's substance use. After using marijuana for a time, many people find themselves in the position of wanting to cut down on their use, or quit altogether.
Abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs is at an all-time high. To clarify, prescription drugs are drugs prescribed by a doctor or other health care provider and over-the-counter includes medicines found in any pharmacy, like cough syrup, diet pills, vitamin supplements, and herbal remedies. Abuse has become quite common on college campuses. Commonly abused classes of medications include: opiates (Percocet), central nervous system depressants (Valium), and stimulants (Adderall).
You can become dependent on these medications. Misuse of any drug can lead to dependence. Stimulant drugs, when used incorrectly, can have negative effects: addiction, paranoia, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, headaches, and even hallucinations are possible side effects. Opioid painkillers are also highly addictive and when taken in high doses slow your breathing down and can result in passing out. Mixing medications is dangerous. Mixing Adderall with over-the-counter medications, like cold medications containing decongestants, is risky. Equally dangerous is mixing pain medications or tranquilizers with alcohol. Click here for commonly abused prescription drugs and their health effects.
Stimulant ADHD/ADD Medications
Stimulant medication prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADD) has been abused as a "study drug" to increase productivity and focus, as well as recreationally ("to get high"). Abuse may peak during exams and/or major projects. Often acquired and used illegally, Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta have dangerous effects.
How Rx Stimulants Affect the Brain
Stimulants work by increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. This neurotransmitter is involved in pleasure, movement, and attention. Treatment of ADHD/ADD involves the gradual increase and acclimation of the brain's chemistry to increases in dopamine; enabling the patient to reach a therapeutic level effective in management of ADHD/ADD symptoms. Abuse of stimulant medications induces a surge of dopamine in the brain that elicits feelings of euphoria, playing into the brain's natural reward circuit and heightening risks of dependence.
Adverse Side Effects
Abuse of stimulant medications can lead to potentially dangerous and life-threatening side effects. Common side effects of stimulant use include increased blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and decreased sleep and appetite. Additionally, stimulants may cause agitation, anxiety, tremors, muscle twitches, seizures, confusion, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Dependence or addiction to stimulant medications need not precipitate withdrawal symptoms associated with stimulant use. Some general withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, depression, and disturbance of sleep patterns. Repeated abuse of some stimulants (sometimes within a short period) can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia, even psychosis.
Taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high-body temperature and an irregular heartbeat. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.
Getting help - Call 911 if there is any suspicious of overdose, signs of seizures, and/or cardiovascular failure.
UNC Charlotte Policies
Need more information about recovery from an illicit substance? Visit our Collegiate Recovery Community page here on our website or Contact Beau Dooley at 704-687-7414.
- UNC Charlotte - Collegiate Recovery Community
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Club Drugs
- Join Together
CollegeGambling.org: Developed by the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) as a tool to help current and prospective students, campus administrators, campus health professionals, and parents address gambling and gambling-related harms on campus.