College freshman are likely to think abusing prescription drugs is not as dangerous as using cocaine, but they do think it is riskier than smoking marijuana.
Researchers at the University of Maryland surveyed over 1,200 students during their first year of college and followed them for a year. They found students who were "sensation seekers" and those who didn't think harm could be done by taking prescription drugs without a medical reason were students most likely to abuse them.
White males affiliated with Greek organizations or those with poor academic performance were among the highest abusers. Experts say more needs to be done to educate students about the serious risks linked to abusing prescription medication.
More than 175,000 emergency room visits were linked to prescription drugs in 2005, although that number is not limited to college students.