BUFFALO, N.Y. -- National Drug Facts Week aims to “Shatter
the Myths” teens may hold about drug use and abuse —
and research by scientists at the University at Buffalo Research
Institute on Addictions (RIA) supports that message.
Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the
theme for this year’s National Drug Facts Week is
“Shatter the Myths,” and runs from Jan. 27 through Feb.
“NIDA is reaching out to teens to let them know the truth
about illicit drug use,” says Kenneth E. Leonard, RIA
“One of the myths many teens believe is that prescription
or over-the-counter (OTC) medications don’t pose any real
danger,” Leonard says. “RIA is engaged in a number of
efforts to better understand these potentially dangerous drugs and
Currently, Kathleen Parks, PhD, senior research scientist, is
leading a two-year study on college students’ perceptions of
the positive and negative consequences of using prescription drugs
for non-medical reasons.
“For example, college students told us they use stimulant
drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin, prescribed for ADHD, in order to
deal with an increased workload and pressure to succeed,”
“Our preliminary research has found that although students
may be aware there are dangers associated with taking prescription
drugs for recreational purposes, particularly when combined with
alcohol, they think it’s a problem for other people, not for
them,” she says.
Working with colleagues at Binghamton University and SUNY Albany
through a SUNY Research Foundation collaborative award, Parks hopes
the study will provide information that can be used to develop
interventions that can effectively reduce use of prescription drugs
for non-medical reasons among young people.
RIA has reached out to the public about prescription and OTC
drug abuse through its Expert Summary series.
“Our Expert Summaries provide timely information on
addictions and substance abuse topics, with an overview of a
problem area as well as researched-based suggestions on how to
address them,” Leonard says.
An Expert Summary on prescription drug abuse summarized the
effects of opioids, depressants and stimulants, and outlined New
York’s I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing)
legislation. To download a copy, visit http://www.buffalo.edu/ria/news_events/es/es6.html.
Another summary warned of the dangers of OTC cough medicine
abuse and gave suggested ways for parents, physicians and
pharmacists to be on the alert. It is available at http://www.buffalo.edu/ria/news_events/es/es7.html.
For further information on RIA’s groundbreaking research
on significant addiction issues, visit buffalo.edu/ria. For
National Drug Facts Week, visit drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov.
RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a
national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues.
RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year
funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation
grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of
the dynamic Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and helps promote
UB’s strategic focus on research initiatives.