According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans abuse prescription painkillers, sedatives and stimulants than all illicit “street” drugs combined except marijuana. And the number of people first abusing a prescription drug exceeds that for those first abusing marijuana. This phenomenon is significant, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that about 100 people die everyday from unintentional drug overdoses, making this the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. The average age when prescription drug abuse starts is around 21, therefore it is critical that our colleges and universities do more to help prevent this potentially deadly behavior.

Blue Sky

Blue Sky is a free, anonymous screening that provides personalized feedback about your alcohol and other drug use and connects you to campus support services. Users when prompted, enter referral code “voluntary”.

  • Only use prescription medications that are prescribed to you.
  • Take your medication(s) as prescribed.
  • Talk to your doctor about alcohol and other drugs you may be using, including over-the-counter medications, to avoid negative side effects.
  • Do not take prescription medications with alcohol.
  • If you have questions about the side effects of medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Keep medications secure and dispose of them properly.
Learn the facts about the most commonly used prescription drugs among college students

Get the Facts: Prescription Drug Abuse on College Campuses

Drugs Commonly Abused by College Students

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

Prescription Drugs and Cold Medicines, National Institute on Drug Abuse

Search Go Ask Alice’s Q & A database that houses numerous alcohol, prescription drug and other health-related questions and answers. Alice is produced by Columbia University’s Health Education Program.

Go Ask Alice

Illicit prescription drug use and misuse is a violation of the student code of conduct.  Students who violate these policies are subject to disciplinary sanction.  This can also result in criminal charges brought on by the City of Fort Collins.

Student Code of Conduct

Residence Hall Policies

Call 911 for all drug and/or alcohol emergencies

To talk to a caring professional:
Visit Counseling Services: CSU Health & Medical Center, 151 W. Lake St.
Call (970) 491-7121
Visit the Counseling Services page

Students in need of medical assistance:
Visit Medical Services: CSU Health & Medical Center, 151 W. Lake St.
Call (970) 491-7121
Visit the Medical Services page

Victims Assistance Team
Call (970) 491-7111

CSUPD Non- emergency
(970) 491-6425

Poison Control
(800) 332-3073

Mental Health Crisis Intervention
(970) 491-7111

27/7 Nurse Helpline
(970) 491-7121

Poudre Valley Hospital
(970) 495-7000

Fort Collins Police Non-Emergency
(970) 221-6540

DAY (Drugs, Alcohol and You Program at CSU) (970) 491-6053

Northern Colorado Drug Task Force

CSU Alcohol and other Drug Committee

The purpose of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee is to promote responsible behavior around alcohol use, including education and compliance with campus policies and state and federal laws. Through the use of best practices, the committee members strive to decrease high-risk drinking and its negative consequences among CSU students. High-risk drinking secondary effects can include: death, injury, assault, unsafe sex, academic problems, health problems/suicide attempts, drunk driving, vandalism, property damage, police involvement, and alcohol abuse and dependence. For more information about this committee and/or to become involved, contact the Assistant Director of Alcohol and Other Drugs at (970) 491-1702.

Team Fort Collins

Team Fort Collins is a non-profit community organization dedicated to preventing the abuse and illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, especially among youth and families, by promoting healthy lifestyles through community mobilization, education, and interactive events. For more information about this group and/or to become involved, contact (970) 224-9931.

Prescription drug abuse and misuse is one of the largest public health issues for College students today.  It can produce serious health effects, including addiction and overdose.  Students feel a lot of pressure to perform academically as well as spend more time socializing with their friends while drinking, resulting in the higher use of stimulant drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.  The combination of alcohol and stimulants can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning because a person may not know when they have consumed too much alcohol.

Opioid use is also a concern.  Medications such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet drugs can give students a decreased perception of pain and a euphoric feeling, but they are also highly addictive, and require a higher dose to get the same effect over a relatively short period of time. Opiates also slow breathing, so when taken in large quantities or in combination with alcohol, can easily lead to death.

While parents and families often have conversations with their students about illicit drugs, they don’t think to talk to them about prescription drug abuse.  Although these conversations can be tough, they are important for your student’s safety.

There are several important things to consider when approaching this topic:

  • The transition from high school to college provides parents with an optimal time period to talk their student.
  • Research shows that students who learn the most about the risks associate with drug use from their parents are 50% less likely to use than those who do not.

Here is some helpful information on prescription drugs and resources on how to talk to your student: