By Mike DeNardo

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — Law enforcement officials were joining academics and health experts today at Villanova University for a summit on the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

The abuse of prescription drugs is now a more widespread problem than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines combined, says US attorney Zane Memeger.

He addressed a summit at Villanova, tackling how best to stem the tide:

“For a person with an addiction problem that needs treatment, criminal prosecution isn’t going to necessarily be the way to go,” he said.  “If you’re trafficking in these controlled substances, that’s a different ballgame.”

Dr. Mary McGonigle, director of Villanova’s student health center, gives the example of a student with a heart rate of 120 because he took his roommate’s Adderall to study for an exam:

“Those drugs are in a class of drugs that are stimulants,” she says.  “And used inappropriately, they can certainly adversely affect your health.”

She warns that some medications can be addictive, creating long-term implications to consider.


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