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Popping pills for stress ills: a deadly match made in college campus heaven
Have trouble concentrating? Can't seem
to balance schoolwork with your social life?
There's a pill for that.
While Guilford College students are well-
known for marijuana
use, prescription drug
abuse is an equally major
w drugs typically used are
stimulants like Adderall,
Concerta, Strattera and
"It's a huge problem
at Guilford," said junior
Noelle Lane. "A lot of
kids in high school and
college abuse ADD
medication. People who
take them think they help to study, party
and stay awake."
The prevalence of prescription drug abuse
in the U.S. has risen in recent years.
"They're just easy to get," said an
anonymous student. "And they're not
illegal, so you won't get into much trouble
if you get caught with them. Just say they're
It is typically believed amongst young
people diat prescription drugs are not
as dangerous as street drugs. However,
they can be just as dangerous, if not more
Of the deaths caused by drugs amongst
young people, 45 percent are caused by
prescription drugs versus the 39 percent
caused by street drugs like cocaine,
methamphetamine, heroin and others.
Also, according to Oregon State University
Student Health Services, stimulant abuse's
health effects include psychological
dependence, changes in weight and sleep,
paranoia, delusions and depression.
Why do students risk these side effects for
the sake of extra energy and concentration?
The real question is, why not?
The world college students live in and
will eventually enter after graduation is an
exceedingly stressful one. There is pressure
to be fully developed in our ideas of the
world, what we want to do with our lives
and who we think we are.
Individuals in their late teens and early
twenties are not in a position to perform like
established adults while still maintaining a
social life and extracurricular activities.
We need an edge, and sometimes even the
most well-informed individuals can't resist
the shiny, A-plus allure.
There have been times where I've looked
at my own psychiatric medication thinking,
"You know, a couple more of these in my
system will really help me get these papers
The temptation is massive despite
knowing what harm it could do to me.
Prescription drug abuse is the quick.
accessible edge we need to perform.
But what is the cost of performance?
With consistent use of stimulants, there is
bound to be a crash. The longer the crash is
delayed, the harder it will be. After the crash,
the idea that tolerance for the medication
will build up often causes individuals to
take more of the medication.
However, tolerance does not work the
same way in which street drugs do. This
perception can lead to overdosing and even
"A lot of people in niy hometown have
died from (overdoses)," said Lane. ^
With all of these facts in mind, how do we
deal with this problem?
First, we need to start talking about it.
Statistics of this problem at Guilford have
yet to be fully recorded. This data is crucial
in order to give the issue the attention it
Next, students who abuse prescription
drugs need to come forth with their problems.
The Student Counseling Center provides
support for substance abuse through both
individual and group counseling.
Finally, the hard one: colleges need to
relieve some pressure.
We are not lumps of coal. We will not turn
into diamonds under extreme pressure. We
will turn to mush.
This solution is the most difficult as it
requires a complete restructuring of how
work is given at colleges, how classes are
structured and how work is distributed. It
will ultimately take the effort of both students
and college faculty and administration to
come to a solution.
And there's no pill for that.
Queer representation on TV better, still has growing pains
"Her name is Naomi," said Emily in an episode of "Skins,"
the popular TV show. "She's rather beautiful, so I'm nailing
her." In one of the best coming-out moments in television
history, Emily's bold statement told viewers that coming
out doesn't have to be a traumatic
TV has gotten
better at reflecting
its progress. But
while strides have
been made, modem
shows could do more.
"Family Guy" makes a gay joke
at least once per episode, and while
the writers may try to defend it
because they make fun of everyone, the stereotypes are
hurtful. In an era where kids are looking to television for
guidance, they should be given support and hope, not
Also, while a lot of the shows currently airing have a
myriad of great gay and questioning characters, there's
a significantly lower number of bisexual and transgender
This needs to change, because for marginalized teens that
fall under these categories, it's damaging to see a lack of
representation even in the most inclusive shows.
Recently, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
released its annual report on LGBTQA television representation.
Each year, the report serves to announce which stations and
which shows are doing well and which need improvement.
"TV hasn't merely reflected the changes in social attitudes;
it has also had an important role in bringing them about," said
the report. 'Time and again, it's been shown that personally
loiowing an LGFT person is one of the most influentid
factors in shiftog one's views on LGFT issues, but
in the absence of that, many viewers have first
gotten to know us as television characters."
Queer representation on mainstream
television is important. Media should reflect
society, not the other way
have included more
gay characters in
their main lineup.
'Teen Wolf' has gay
has gay drama geeks, and "Orange is
the New Black" has gay prisoners. But
what really coimts is the quality of the
There are some shows that do it right.
"Glee" portrays the struggles of being
transgender and trying to find oneself, and
Miss Hudson of "Elementary" isn't defined
by her female gender identity. "Lost Girl"
t has a well-portrayed bisexual character with
meaningful relationships with both men and
women, breaking many stereotypes.
However, even witii this progress, the shows
with harm^ stereotypes outnumber the quality
Ifs easy to improve on this. Add more
bisexual characters, add more lesbians,
add gratifying emotional relationships for
people of all gender identities and sexual
Ifs important for shows to have proper
LGBTQA representation because ifs
a good way to educate people on
the challenging social issues of
our time, and it shows how
the world really works.
Queer people exist, and
keeping them out of TV is
just as harmfiil as telling
them, "You don't belong."
"(This is) a time when
of homosexuality has
entered all aspects
of popular culture,
when diversity and
acceptance are the
words of the day but by
no means entirely the
deeds," said the e^tors
Weekly in 1997 when
Ellen DeGeneres won
Entertainer of the Year.
is growing and
changing, and TV
should celebrate that.
So if you're thinking
about writing for a
television show, add
some characters who
aren't straight, and
make them quality
to see themselves in a well-written television character.
Unique of“Glee” (left) and Bo
of “Lost Girl” (above) positively
represent queer people in television.
To see a list of the top 10
best Queered shows, go to: