UNT Urges Safety for Spring Break

UNT Urges Safety for Spring Break
Posted by FoM on March 16, 2001 at 08:04:54 PT
By Jennifer Radcliffe, Star-Telegram Staff Writer 
Source: Star-Telegram
Students need to think twice before taking club drugs such as ecstasy because they are commonly mixed with more dangerous substances that can cause harmful side effects. That is one of the messages given this week during the University of North Texas' Safe Spring Break Campaign 2001, a series of events designed to discourage students from drinking alcohol or using drugs while they are on break next week.
The two-week campaign included lectures on myths about drugs, a choir performance and a campaign that asked students to display alcohol-awareness posters in their homes."We want students to recognize the truth about excessive drinking among their peers," said Irma Jones, director of NT Challenge, a substance abuse education, prevention and counseling program at UNT. "We want to reinforce the fact that most students are making responsible choices, and we would hope that students adjust their behavior to the norms."Nationally, the number of underage students who drink is at its lowest level since records were first kept in the 1960s. One reason may be that colleges are starting to use an information-based prevention method, called the social norms approach, Jones said. The approach, which has replaced scare tactics, simply gives students the facts, as well as information about their peers' behavior, she said."It's not a Nancy Reagan `Just Say No Campaign,' " said Bob Gordon of CampusSpeak, a company that provides lectures, such as the one on club drugs given this week at UNT. "It's about making informed decisions."One of the most difficult decisions students face is whether to try the wide array of club drugs that are available, he said.Those drugs, Gordon said, include:* Rohypnol, often called the date rape drug. It is the brand name for flunitrazepan, which is manufactured in France and is legally prescribed in more than 80 countries. Rohypnol has an effect equal to taking about 10 Valium. It can cause drowsiness, dizziness and confusion. It also can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, difficulty in breathing and possibly coma and death.* GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate. It is sometimes called liquid X, and comes as a clear liquid or an odorless powder. It is a synthetic drug that acts as a depressant. When mixed with alcohol, it creates a euphoria effect, a perceived increase in sexual drive and a lowered inhibition. When mixed with other drugs, it can cause seizure, difficulty in breathing and tremors.* Ecstasy. The most common form is methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Known as part of the rave culture, ecstasy comes in tablets. The drug, which is a synthetic and a psychoactive, heightens the senses. It often is mixed with LSD or ketamine, which originally was used to tranquilize cats.While teen-agers are using less marijuana nationwide, the use of ecstasy is increasing, studies indicate. About 10 percent of high school students tried the drug in 2000, up from 7 percent in 1999, said Howard Simon, spokesman for Partnership for a Drug-Free America.Experts believe that use of the drug is increasing because some view it as socially acceptable and relatively harmless."Kids really don't perceive this as a dangerous drug, and the availability of it has just exploded," Simon said. "It's still a relatively new crisis."The agency is developing advertisements about the dangers of ecstasy, he said. But students also must be wary of drugs that they are not choosing to take, such as Rohypnol.The best advice for students who plan to party during spring break is: "Keep your eyes on your drink. Don't leave your drink unattended, even if it's just a soda or glass of water," Simon said.UNT junior Heather Hines, president of the Panhellenic Council on campus, said she appreciates what she learned during the campaign."Obviously, it's a gaining problem," she said about club drugs. "I hope it helped make people aware of what's out there before they do something they regret."Complete Title: UNT Urges Safety for Spring Break; A Program Seeks to Educate Students About the Dangers of Excessive Drinking and Club Drugs Such as EcstasySend comments to: jradcliffe Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)Author: Jennifer Radcliffe, Star-Telegram Staff Writer Published: Thursday, March 15, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, TexasContact: letters star-telegram.comWebsite: Articles - Ecstasy
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