Central Student Government will partner with the College of Pharmacy and Wolverine Wellness to launch a prescription drug misuse awareness campaign during the Winter 2016 semester.
The initiative was driven in part by the death of University alum Josh Levine, who passed away from an overdose after mixing adderall with alcohol at a party.
The campaign aims to focus on the correlation between academic pressures and drug abuse, and will launch at a time when the CSG representatives planning the event said they expect on-campus drug use to spike — during midterms.
LSA junior David Schafer, a CSG representative working on the project, said it is important to raise awareness about how academic pressure can impact drug abuse and the effects of that abuse, particularly on college campuses.
A survey from the University Substance Abuse Research Center found that Adderall ranked second among a list of illicit drugs used on campus, and that 11 percent of students in 2013 indicated they had taken the drug for a non-medical use in the past year.
“We’ve seen a lot of our friends plagued by these issues and now that we’re in a position to be heard and we have the foundation to do something we want to do something,” Schafer said. “Personally, I’ve seen my friends misuse in so many different occasions in so many different ways.”
Public Policy junior Lucky Lakshman Mulpuri, a CSG representative involved in the planning, said the campaign will focus on opioids, depressants and stimulants.
Mulpuri said he hopes the campaign will not demonize the drugs, but will instead focus on emphasizing the fact that they’re prescribed by doctors for a reason.
“It feels like a real and tangible step towards addressing prescription drug misuse on campus,” Mulpuri said.
The campaign, which will begin the last week of January and run until the first week of February, will contain five events that will alternate every other day. It’s slated to begin with an informational video on adderall abuse featuring the University football team, members of the University’s chapter of Theta Chi, the fraternity Levine belonged to, and other students willing to share their stories.
A panel discussion led by representatives of the School of Public Health, University Health Services and the College of Pharmacy is slated to focus on the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Levine’s mother, Julie Buckner, has also agreed to participate in the panel.
Third-year Pharmacy student Caroline Quinn, president of the Pharmacy Student Government Council, said the dean of student services for the Pharmacy School, expressed interest in the school supporting the initiative. Along with providing speakers for the panel, the school also plans to screen any factual information on stimulants before it is used in the campaign.
Schafer said it is important the campaign speaks to students while remaining inclusive for those affected by the problem.
“It shouldn’t come from a pedantic or overly condescending place,” Schafer said. “CSG members also face these unbelievably high academic pressures, and we don’t want to see students using these drugs.”
The campaign is expected to conclude with a signature drive asking students to pledge not to abuse prescription medicines.