Drug abuse or addiction inhibits an individual’s ability to control the use or consumption of illicit drugs or high-dose prescription drugs. Due to peer pressure and the environment, school children are more susceptible to opioid overuse or other types of drug abuse. It impacts the ability of the student to perform at school, behave properly, and focus on educational development.

Hence, this article will discuss the signs, symptoms, and impact of drug abuse. Read on to understand opioid overdose prevention techniques.

What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a family of drug compounds that are produced from opium poppy plants. The therapeutic dose of this drug is manufactured to relieve severe surgical pain. It is also used to relax the body of the patient in case of heavy stress. This is the reason why the overdose of prescription opioids is common.

Prescription opioids and illicit opioids such as heroin attach to the receptors in the brain to release endorphins. The release of a large amount of endorphins helps relieve pain and stress, thus, producing a euphoric effect. However, this euphoric impact is short-term, which encourages regular use to sustain a lasting outcome.

Below we have explained the types of opioids that may be misused by students or college goers:

  • Prescription opioids which are prescribed to a patient to relieve excessive pain after an injury, surgery, or accident. Approximately 29% of individuals misuse prescription opioids.
  • Heroin, which is produced from morphine. This is an illicit drug that is available in the form of a whitish powder which is consumed through snorting, sniffing, or injecting.
  • Fentanyl is a counterpart of morphine-produced heroin and it is stronger than heroin. Therapeutically, fentanyl is not prescribed, it is only injected or usually consumed in the presence of medical practitioners. However, when consumed illicitly with heroin, the combination severely harms the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Overdose

When under the influence of opioids, students and young adults may exhibit various signs and symptoms of intoxication and addiction. Below we have explained some of these symptoms and signs.

  • Poor concentration levels and state of confusion.
  • Watery or drowsy eyes.
  • Slurred or garbled speech.
  • Slow and poor gait.
  • Flu-like physical symptoms.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Mood swings and stress.
  • Irritation and annoyance.
  • Lack of motivation and concentration.
  • Depression or addiction to the feeling of euphoria.
  • Panic bursts or anxiety attacks.
  • Withdrawal from studies, friends, and family.
  • Spending more money than usual.
  • Involving in risky behavior and activities due to the burst of emotions.

How to Identify Opioid Abuse?

Since drug abuse can impact the health and education of youngsters, preventing drug abuse is imperative. For which, it is necessary to first identify the primary symptoms of opioid abuse. Here are some of the methods to identify opioid abuse:

  • Low level of concentration in studies which leads to skipping homework and assignments, frequent absence from the classroom, a drop in academic performance, and overall disinterest in academic tasks.
  • Lack of proper appearance and spiraling anxiety. The student would seem confused all the time and their appearance would decline. This means that the lack of grooming would lead to a poor physical presentation.
  • Changed behavior, which leads to bursts of aggressive, impulsive responses, high-pitched voice, or passive responses.
  • Decline in personal relationships, which may include a lack of communication with friends and family members.
  • Monetary problems as these youngsters would often need to take a loan from friends and family to satisfy their opioids or drug needs.

Opioid Prevention

Since prescription opioids are often given to patients for relieving pain, getting addicted to them is easy. This makes prevention techniques and methods very important. Below we have explained some opioid overdose prevention methods. Through careful and mindful usage, the risk of opioid overdose can be minimized and even prevented.


Consult a medical practitioner and educate the students about opioid overuse. Explain how the drug impacts brain receptors and the overall health of individuals. This would enable the youngster to think of the consequences before taking prescription medicine without the recommendation of a doctor.

Provide Directions

Encourage students to follow the directions given by the medical practitioner strictly when an opioid is prescribed. Taking an extra dose is not acceptable, as even one extra dose may lead to a desire for more.

Here, parents have an important role to play. Hence, we need to educate parents to keep a keen check on the opioid prescription schedule of their kids.

Improve Understanding

Help students analyze how opioid helps their body and what the side-effects of it are. Make youngsters understand the difference between therapeutic usage and overuse. It is also necessary to deliver the knowledge of side-effects; how opioid harms the functioning of the body.


Educate students to never consume the medicine without the prescription of a doctor. It is harmful not only in the case of opioids but also every other type of therapeutic drug.

Further, encourage parents to keep prescription opioids away from the reach of teenagers and students.


The regular consumption of prescription or illicit opioids may alter the functioning of our brain. The brain can adapt to the schedule, which means in the absence of the drug, several psychological and physiological changes will occur. These changes trigger addictive habits or withdrawal.

Hence, opioid overdose prevention is imperative. The correct approach is to closely monitor the behavior of students to detect drug abuse early. The school authorities should additionally educate students on the right usage of prescription medicines. Both these activities combined can reduce the risk of drug abuse and improve educational success in teenagers.

For drug prevention & awareness, REAL Prevention has initiated a program called keepin it REAL (kiR) which is a scientifically proven, effective substance use prevention and social and emotional competency enhancing program designed to focus on the competencies linked to preventing substance use and abuse.