“Don’t Fly High” – Student Organization Aims to Lower Prescrpition Drug Abuse


Flyer by Kaleigh Kutka

A new student organization at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus was founded in effort to decrease the rate of prescription drug abuse. Nighthawks Against Prescription Drug Abuse, seeks to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse and provide UNG students with resources, education and a safe place in which to discuss and find guidance in the struggles they or their loved ones experience. 

Senior communications major Kaleigh Kutka says her organization is the product of an assignment from UNG Professor Toluwani Oloke’s social media class. “The purpose of the assignment,” says Kutka, “was to find a cause our group felt passionately about and to execute a social media page.” Along with classmates Isaiah Thompson, Diana Ramirez and Zachary Boyd, Kutka created an Instagram page for NAPDA, since her group felt the platform would have the greatest reach to other UNG students and organizations.

According to Kutka, only 12.7% of students actively acknowledge their addiction, which is why she believes it is important to educate students on what addiction is exactly. “We hope to shed light on how easy it is to become dependent upon an uncontrolled substance, but not actually feel like it,” Kutka says. Kutka says college students often ignore their habits or choose to justify their addictions to drugs like Adderall or Vyvanse by taking them only to study.

“Prescription drug abuse is serious and it doesn’t just start overnight.” -Kaleigh Kutka, senior communications major

Kutka says addiction develops over time as students grow to feel that they need such substances to perform better. 

She says students should consider the long-term health impacts of abusing prescription drugs, from liver damage and kidney failure to increased susceptibility to heart attacks and strokes. “Another concern,” says Kutka, “is where students are actually getting their substances from.” With a rising fentanyl epidemic, it is increasingly dangerous to take drugs not prescribed to you by your doctor. “We want students to live long, healthy lives and not get caught in the vicious cycle of drug abuse or to lose a friend because they were unaware of the dangers,” Kutka says.

Kutka believes NAPDA deserves to grow support online and to be adopted by UNG for years to come because its importance warrants the continuation of its legacy. Hosts of the NAPDA page are actively coordinating with student involvement to achieve their goal of becoming an active campus organization.

Next Monday, April 18 at 2 p.m., NAPDA is hosting an event in the lobby of the Nesbitt Building on the Gainesville campus. All students are encouraged to attend to “be a part of the conversation.” Students may also reach out via Instagram @nighthawks_apda.