College students who are dependent on prescription painkillers can be successfully treated with buprenorphine/naloxone or sustained-release naltrexone, according to experts.
Some college students misuse their own prescriptions, while others go “doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions, obtain prescription drugs from friends or buy them from dealers, according to Staff Psychiatrist Joshua Hersh, MD of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “They may be mixing drugs in a dangerous combination, or using higher doses of their own medication, which facilitates addiction,” he says.
When Dr. Hersh treats students for prescription drug abuse, he has them sign a release form that allows him to speak with their treating doctor and pharmacist. “If there is an issue with misusing a drug, I can communicate with their treatment providers about concerns I have,” he says. He also checks the Ohio prescription drug monitoring database, to see where students are getting their medication. If the student is from out of state, he can’t always check. Ohio’s database works in conjunction with some states, but not others.