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Stressed out students may be abusing illegal drugs

Students across North Carolina find themselves in crunch time during the second half of the school year. College students are feeling the squeeze of finals and graduation. In high school, students are taking college-entrance exams and balancing academics with several other activities. The pressure of all this can be overwhelming to many, and some are turning to using illegal drugs to help them focus and achieve. While rare, it is still possible for a young person to face criminal charges for this behavior.

A recent report by the University of North Carolina reveals that abusing prescription drugs is not unusual among students. Studies show that over 11 percent of high school students have taken drugs for which they do not have a prescription. While this is a decrease from the previous study in 2009, the trend is gaining the attention of law enforcement.

All too often, the pressure on students results in misusing prescription drugs. It is typically drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin or similar drugs that are intended to help people suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. Stressed out students without the disorder, however, believe that the drug helps them focus more and perform better in school.

Legally, this behavior can have serious consequences. Even though taking the drugs can be difficult to track, students can be caught in possession of them or selling them to other students. In both situations, a young person can be charged with a crime. It is rare, say police, but arrests happen and they are aware that many students abuse these types of drugs.

Because prescription drugs are easily accessible to many people, students may feel that it is not a big deal to take them. However, college and high school students with no prior criminal background may find themselves in trouble for the first time if they are caught with an illegal drug. The ramifications of these charges can be serious if not properly defended.

Source: The Daily Tar Heel, "Prescription drug use prevalent in local high schools," Jenny Surane, March 22, 2012

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