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Students promote substance use awareness

By Diana Solano
Staff Writer

With finals season approaching, students across the country will soon be relying on coffee, late night study sessions and in some cases, drugs like Adderall to maintain heightened concentration and focus.

The event educates students on the dangers of prescription pills (Miguel Gonzalez / Photo Editor).

But last week, the campus community was reminded of the dangers of prescription drug use.

On April 26, the Collegiate Recovery Community and Campus Police hosted Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Alumni Grove. This event gave students the opportunity to safely dispose of unused or expired medication into a Project Medicine Drop box.

A Project Medicine Drop box is a designated area in all New Jersey police departments where people can safely discard prescription medicine, according to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

“It’s a crime to take someone else’s prescription drugs,” said Kevin McCullough, a campus police officer at the College. “Not following the prescribed directions is a warning sign. From the turn out that we have at the drop boxes it shows that our community is concerned about this issue enough to bring them in.”

McCullough also emphasized that more students should be aware that the College has a Project Medicine Drop box in the first place.

“It’s critically important to know about drop boxes so that students know that there is a safe space to get rid of extra or unused prescription drugs,” he said. “This eliminates the possibility of abuse.”

Throughout the event, students also had the opportunity to participate in a trivia game, where they learned that friends often act as the main supplier of prescription drugs to college students and 33 percent of students will abuse prescription drugs at some point in their college career.

Hudson Waller, a freshman special elementary education major, discussed the club’s effort to educate students and faculty about the dangers of prescription drugs and the support within the CRC.

“Everyone has their own story here, we advocate about this issue and unite people to educate them about this in order to prevent any future incidence from occurring,” Waller said. “We are educating anyone that comes by about the subject and the CRC.”

John Brezina, a junior psychology major and vice president of advancement for the CRC, reflected on his first-hand experience of the effects of prescription pills.

“It happened to my dad this past summer,” Brezina said. “Today there is most definitely an opioid crisis. A big part of that, aside from heroin and synthetic, are a prescription drugs that will get prescribed and not get used, [which] down the road end up becoming a problem.”

The event also highlighted how unused or expired prescriptions can not only be harmful to a person’s health, but also to the environment if containers are not disposed of properly.

“There was recently a study done where they studied some mussels from a river and they had a detectable level of a cocaine addiction because of drugs that get flushed down the toilet,” Brezina said.

Samantha Allen, a junior marketing major, has seen the club grow within the past few months.

“The CRC has the most students now than we have ever had before,” Allen said. “In the past, there have been three members, but now it has grown to in the past three years to 15 members. People are learning about substance use disorders, and everyone on our campus is affected in some way shape or form.”


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