By Zack Noureddine

Zack Noureddine Photo Illustration
Prescription drugs such as Ritalin are more common around exam months for students burdened with academic workload, jobs or family issues.


The student drug scene continues to be problem in the nation’s capital according to an official’s statistics.

A 2012-2013 RCMP report shows 50 per cent of students in drug treatment are there for alcohol, prescription drug and opiate abuse – a situation that is “yet to be controlled.”

“The (trend) of student drug use is not settling,” said Sgt. Patrice Poitevin, RCMP coordinator of Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Services for Ottawa and college and university campuses in the National Capital region.“More students continue to use, especially those burdened with school, work or family issues.”

35 per cent of students using opiates — substances containing codeine and promethazine — and opiods such as oxycodone are becoming addicted, Poitevin said.

Oxycodone alone was responsible for 491 deaths between 2009 to 2012 in Ontario, according to the Office of the Chief Coroner.

Poitevin also says the narcotic family is popular among students experimenting with ways to “convey independence.”

“The medicine cabinet has become the most common drug dealer,” said Poitevin. “It is where the majority of youth are finding (prescription drugs.)”

During his last visit to the college in 2012, Poitevin conducted a drug workshop discussing the reasons for use with professors, social workers and General Arts and Science students. He presented many factors which contribute to the student drug scene and the aforementioned statistics for youth in drug treatment.

He still stand behind the same theories.

“You can blame the media,” said Poitevin. “As long as popular culture continues to portray the college lifestyle as a hub for partying, marijuana, alcohol, sex and pill-popping, the number (of students submitting to drugs) will rise.”

Poitevin conjectured the reasons behind GHB use, saying the depressant’s ability to mimic the effects of alcohol without the hangover makes it “easier” for users — students — to commit to a daily academic work-load.

GHB is also known to potentially increase the effects of alcohol while still in the bloodstream.

Spreading awareness of the health risks behind drug abuse is failing to fix the problems facing the student drug scene in Ottawa and across the country, Poitevin said.

He believes the study of context and reasons behind substance use and abuse is an effective, comprehensive approach that goes “a longer way than health warnings.”

“Why are they using — why are they implementing it into their lifestyle, far past the experimentation stage?” said Poitevin. “That is the real question behind the issue.”