BY Monika Garza | THE RIDER
The UTRGV and Positive Community Impact Coalition conducted a town hall meeting on preventing the misuse of prescription and nonprescription drugs on the Brownsville campus.
The meeting featured keynote speaker, Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz, and six panelists: Elizabeth Urbina, prevention specialist for Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas; Ruben Garcia, clinical director of the Mesquite Treatment Center; Jorge Muñoz, UTRGV counselor specialist; Robert Rios, a pharmacist at Walgreens in Brownsville; Jason Bradford, a DEA special agent; and Mark Elbert, a Brownsville Police Department officer.
Saenz said the most dangerous drugs are not the ones on the streets but in our homes.
While illegal drugs and alcohol are still at the top of the list of substances abused by college students, the use of prescription drugs is growing not only on college campuses but at a national level.
“We do like 700 to 800 prescriptions a day,” Rios told an audience gathered Sept. 19 in Salón Cassia. “But, where is all that medicine going?”
Urbina said the problem of abusing prescription drugs is big and that patients have to be careful with them because the drugs doctors prescribe are legal.
Many students believe prescription medicines are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor. However, all medications have risks when not taken properly.
“Usually, if students don’t have a health condition, they start taking antibiotics or Adderall,” Rios said.
Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
It contains a combination of amphetamines and dextroamphetamines that stimulates the chemicals in the brain and helps to control hyperactivity.
Some students use tranquilizers and sedatives to self-medicate due to anxiety and stress.
Bradford said the only way in which we can break the cycle of drug addiction and substance abuse is by partnering together and informing others about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
“We can’t ever tell [students] enough about how dangerous drugs are,” Urbina said.
Those with expired prescribed medications may dispose of them at Walgreens pharmacies.
The UTRGV Collegiate Recovery Center Program helps students through the process of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
Students who may have a drug or alcohol addiction can call the center at 665-2674 to get the help needed or if students know someone who uses drugs can call 546-8477 to report them.