On Wednesday, January 30, the Xi Chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Incorporada hosted an event in the Hillwood TV room about the misuse of drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. It was the first time it held this kind of event.
During the lecture, the club stated that using legal drugs in an improper way could be just as dangerous as using illegal ones. In fact, it is illegal to share or sell your own prescription drugs to anyone. The prescription you get from a doctor is only valid for you, since it is specific to your age, weight, height and even your ethnicity.
The consequences of abusing drugs include hospitalization and even death. One type of drug abuse includes taking a roommate’s prescription for Attention Deficit Disorder because they think that they need it to study or taking “Molly,” the purest form of ecstasy because they want to party.
Michelle Seke, a junior Sociology major, who is a member of the sorority, thinks it is important to bring these questions up because it might save someone’s life. “Some teenagers don’t feel comfortable sharing their problems, so if we had a club or counseling of some sort available to these teens, we could possibly help many,” she said.
Sylvia Diable, a senior Speech Language Pathology major who is also a member of the sorority, convinced the group to hold this event after telling them what she saw at her workplace. Diable works at a pharmacy and encounters a large amount of teenagers who come in for drugs and try to convince her to sell drugs to them.
Diable said, “The most popular story we hear is that the person they are buying the pills for was in a car accident,” she continued, “drug abuse is so common at our age because we all deal with different levels of stress and have numerous responsibilities, so our generation thinks drugs are the easiest relievers for all our problems.”
A common way to overdose on over the counter drugs is to take something with dextromethorphan in it, generally found in cough and cold medications. This dangerous and possibly deadly practice is only increasing in numbers of users, stated the sorority. The most common side effects include blurred vision, high blood pressure, numbness, unconsciousness, seizures, brain damage and death. Some teenagers will do anything to get high, going so far as to use hand sanitizers and common household spices like nutmeg.
Another common misuse of drugs is accidental. Splitting your pill in half, taking the wrong kind of medication or taking too much of something because you think it is the proper dosage are all ways you might abuse drugs without even knowing it.
During the lecture, Seke shared a personal story. “In high school during my junior year, I would constantly get headaches and I would take two Tylenols a day for two weeks straight to relieve it. It was making me sicker so I went to the doctor and he told me to stop because it could damage my liver and I could die.” Seke, just like many others, was not aware of the dangers and did not even know it was possible.
Diable said that it is extremely important to make sure that you always are aware of what you take. It is also important to always take the exact dosage your doctor prescribes to you. Both under medicating and overmedicating can be dangerous. “If you are under medicating, it will take a lot longer to feel better. If you are overmedicating, you can become immune to the drug or you might overdose,” she stated.
It is important to know that there is help. There are 24-hour hotlines for prescribed drug abuse. Students can also contact Student Health and Counseling on campus at its 24-hour emergency number 516-299-2222.
It is also important to involve parents and friends. If your friend has a problem, you should talk to their parents and let your friend know the dangers of abusing drugs. If you are in a situation where you are taking drugs in the wrong way, be aware of the dangers and seek help for your problem.
Seke thinks that this event has given her sorority leeway to do more in the prevention of drug abuse, “whether it be doing a program every semester or having an awareness week with fundraisers to help raise money towards those organizations dealing with teens and drugs,” she said.