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Student Health Services

Other Drugs


  • Stats and Laws

    In 2022, 38% of undergraduate college students reported having ever used cannabis in their life, and 23.8% reported use of cannabis in the past 3 months (NCHA National Reference, 2022).

    Current federal laws restrict the use of cannabis. However, individual states have varied laws for medical and recreational use of cannabis.  South Carolina law restricts the use of cannabis, and the use of cannabis is restricted on all college campuses in the United States. 

    View a Map on Medical and Recreational-Purpose Cannabis by State

  • Impact of Cannabis Use on Your Body

    Cannabis has varied short-term and long-term effects on your body and brain. Short-term effects of cannabis can include increased heart rate, delayed reactions and impaired judgment. Long-term effects of cannabis use can include weakened immune system, altered brain development in young adults and memory problems.

    How Cannabis Affects the Body

  • Delta-8 THC

    Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. This substance is found in small amounts but has more recently been manufactured from hemp-derived CBD to create higher concentrations in different products.

    What are the risks of delta-8?

    Between a rise of adverse event reports and an increase in delta-8 THC marketing, the FDA warns the public of delta-8’s potential dangers:

    • Delta-8 THC products have not been approved or evaluated by the FDA for safe use in any context. It’s important to know that these products may be marketed in a way that puts the public’s health at risk. Some concerns include variability in product formulations and product labeling, other cannabinoid and terpene content, and variable delta-8 THC concentrations. Some of these products may be labeled simply as “hemp products,” which may mislead consumers who associate “hemp” with “non-psychoactive.”

    • There are documented reports of adverse events involving delta-8 THC products.

    • Delta-8 THC products have both intoxicating and psychoactive effects, which poses problems when these products are not regulated in their potency.

    • The creation of concentrated delta-8 THC in different products often involves the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

    • It’s vital that delta-8 products are kept away from children and pets.

    Delta-8 THC use has increased among college students in the United States. Serious health risks have been associated with use, including vomiting, hallucinations, anxiety, decreased motor control and loss of consciousness. Delta-8 THC products often have potentially harmful chemical additives based on the manufacturing of the product. The best way to avoid negative effects of delta-8 THC is to avoid use.

    Sources: FDA, CampusWell

Prescription Opioids

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant, with some made from the plant directly and others synthesized in labs. Opioids are used as a medication to relieve moderate to severe pain, in addition to other medical uses. However, opioids also create effects of relaxation and obtaining a “high.” These effects can lead to using prescription opioids for non-medical reasons. Non-medical use can be dangerous due to risk of addiction, overdose and death. 

Common prescription opioids:

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana®)
  • Morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Heroin is another opioid chemically similar to prescription opioids and can produce a similar high. However, it is unregulated and carries more risk than prescription opioids.

  • Misuse of Prescription Opioids

    What counts as misuse of prescription opioids?

    • Taking the medicine in a way or dose other than prescribed

    • Taking someone else's prescription medicine

    • Taking the medicine for the effect it causes (i.e. to get high)

    Be sure to follow your provider’s instructions when taking prescription opioids, and call if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Fentanyl

    Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid used in the treatment of severe pain. Two types of fentanyl exist, and both are considered synthetic opioids:

    • Pharmaceutical fentanyl:

      • A doctor-prescribed medicine used primarily for cancer patients and major surgery patients who are experiencing severe pain

      • Sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who have developed a physical tolerance to other opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

    • Illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF):

      • A heroin-like drug sold on the illicit drug market that is highly potent and addictive

      • According to the CDC, In 2022, provisional data indicated that more than two thirds (68%) of the reported 107,081 drug overdose deaths in the United States involved synthetic opioids other than methadone, principally illicitly manufactured fentanyls (IMFs)
      • It comes in a liquid and a powder, and unfortunately, it’s not easy to distinguish between fentanyl and other drugs – that’s part of what makes it so easy to mix IMF into other drugs, like cocaine or MDMA

    In addition, other synthetic opioids are being made to mimic fentanyl. These are known as fentanyl analogs and can range from less potent to 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

    How to Stay Safe from Fentanyl

    Fentanyl test strips:

    • Check for the presence of fentanyl in any drug by using test strips, which can test injectable drugs, powders and pills.

    • Test strips are becoming more widely available. DanceSafe, a public health non-profit that tests drugs on-site at festivals, concerts and other events, offers fentanyl test strips for sale on their website. Other popular vendors like Amazon and Walmart have also started to carry test strips online.

    If a drug tests positive, the FDA recommends disposing of fentanyl by flushing it down the toilet. Because of its potency, putting it in the garbage could lead to accidental poisoning of a child or pet if they end up in contact with it.

  • Life-Saving Tips

    Using the drugs listed above falls into the category of high-risk behavior. Here are some risk-reducing tips to keep in mind:

    • If you’re going to use drugs, never use drugs alone. Use with someone else who has naloxone (see below) and can call 911 if an overdose happens.

    • Make sure you have access to naloxone. A drug called naloxone (also called naltrexone or Narcan®) can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. If you or someone you care about uses any type of recreational drug, having this on hand can help prevent death by overdose. FREE opioid overdose kits (includes naloxone) are available at local health departments, and naloxone is available for purchase at the Redfern Health Center Pharmacy.

  • How to Recognize an Overdose

    Recognizing an opioid overdose can be difficult. If you aren’t sure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose – you could save a life. Signs of an overdose may include:

    • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
    • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
    • Slow, shallow breathing
    • Choking or gurgling sounds
    • Limp body
    • Pale, blue or cold skin
  • What to Do If Someone Has Overdosed | Naloxone

    Take the following steps if you suspect someone has overdosed:

    1. Immediately call 911. (Most states have laws that may protect a person who is overdosing or the person who called for help from legal trouble.)

    2. If available, administer naloxone (Narcan®). Naloxone quickly reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids. It can restore normal breathing within 2 to 3 minutes in a person whose breath has slowed, or even stopped, as a result of opioid overdose. More than one dose of naloxone may be required when stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved.

    3. Keep the person who has overdosed awake and breathing. Speak to them to make sure they’re conscious.

    4. Roll the person who has overdosed onto their side to prevent choking.

    5. Remain with the person until emergency services have arrived.

  • Xylazine

    Xylazine is a non-opioid, large animal veterinary tranquilizer that acts as a central nervous system depressant or sedative in humans. Xylazine is frequently cut into the drug supply — mainly with fentanyl and other opioids — and increases the risk of experiencing an overdose as well as drug-related wounds, including skin ulcers, abscesses and other related complications.

    Xylazine has already been linked to a number of overdoses across the United States. While responders recommend administering naloxone, it will only reverse the effects of the opioids present. Naloxone will not impact the sedative effects that xylazine has on breathing. Thus, moving someone into the recovery position (laying on their side with no obstructions in their mouth or airway) after administering naloxone is essential for a person’s safety following an overdose.

Student Health Services
Student Health Services | Redfern Health Center, 735 McMillan Road, Clemson, SC 29634