Beware Of Those Legal Drugs

Four decades after Timothy Leary implored a generation to "turn on," getting high remains a common college pastime. Only the methods have changed. Many of today's most widely abused drugs are perfectly legal--at least when prescribed by doctors. But that doesn't mean they're harmless.

Caffeine-based stimulants such as NoDoz and Red Bull are safe in moderation. But steer clear of products containing ephedra (a.k.a. ma-huang). This herbal stimulant, which raises blood pressure and heart rate, has caused several deaths in recent years. Prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are also best avoided unless your doctor prescribes them. Though useful for treating attention problems (and less dangerous than cocaine or methamphetamine), they can foster depression and dependency when abused.

Even more dangerous are prescription painkillers such as morphine, codeine, OxyContin and Vicodin. These drugs are addictive and can be deadly when taken in large doses or mixed with alcohol. So vote with your feet: when someone offers you a "vike," take a hike.

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