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Pills Spilling
Pills Spilling
Ellen Gibbs / Spoon
Life > Experiences

Long Gone are the Days of Experimenting with Drugs in College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

TW: Substance use and overdose 

College can be a shock to the system. There’s a freedom and independence that hits all at once and you feel like an adult who can do absolutely anything. For many, partying hard and college go hand in hand, almost a rite of passage. With this new environment comes the opportunity to experiment with drugs.  

1.2 million people ages 12 and older initiated prescription pain reliever misuse in 2020. 40.3 million people of the same age group had a substance use disorder (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). 

Drugs have been around for centuries. When you think about the origin of experimenting with drugs I’m sure the sixties and seventies come to mind. Marijuana, LSD, Mushrooms, Cocaine, Heroin, and a number of other illicit and prescription drugs were used to alter the mind and body. It’s what drugs were created for, often as a way to escape reality and to feel a different way than your normal state.  

There are drugs that are stimulants, drugs that bring you down, and drugs with psychoactive qualities. With the illegality of these drugs comes buying them on the streets from a drug dealer. There’s no way to know what you’re really taking, increasing the risk of dangerous outcomes. Not only addiction but overdose and death.  

When I spoke to someone in my class about writing this, they scoffed and said, “Experimenting isn’t over. You just need to safely experiment.” I was shocked and responded almost instinctively, “Fentanyl.” Many people assume that fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is only found in heroin, but that’s not the case. It can be in almost any drug, cocaine, and pressed into pills that look like Percocet, Xanax, and more.  

Two years ago, we buried my brother-in-law who overdosed from drugs laced with Fentanyl. Last year, my little sister’s friend died from doing cocaine after a party that was laced with Fentanyl. This week a 13-year-old California middle schooler was arrested for bringing 150 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet to school.  Stories like this rarely make the news cycle, we typically only see it when large amounts of Fentanyl are seized, not when people overdose from drugs laced with it (Lee).  

This isn’t to scare you, but to make you more aware of how dangerous it is. Whether you know the person you’re copping from or not, you don’t know what you’re getting and you don’t know what it is, they probably don’t know exactly what it is because the chain of custody for drug supply is convoluted. The only way to ‘safely experiment,’ (which is NOT a thing) is to test any drug you plan on doing beforehand or don’t do them at all. 

Chelsie DeSouza is a freelance writer, covering all things beauty, culture, and parenting. She's forever a New Yorker but currently lives in Philadelphia. She's been published in Harper's Bazaar, HuffPost, Insider, Byrdie, and more.