College is characterized majorly by the freedom that its students are accorded. It is at this point that most students first get to make their own decisions away from their parents. Experiencing new things, sights and meeting new people is a priority for most of them. To enable social interactions, these students plan parties where alcohol and other drugs will be undoubtedly served. By taking these drugs, most of them find that any social anxiety that they may have had is dispelled. Ultimately, making a habit of taking drugs to give one the courage to interact with other students culminates into addiction.
Campus Trends and Statistics on Drug and Alcohol Use
In the US, colleges are usually the base point for drug use and addiction, and in most cases, what students use spreads to the general public. The choice drugs change over time, as it is determined by the trend at the time.
Marijuana was introduced to colleges in the 50s, and by 1996, 2.8% of the students in campuses across the US were using it. This figure rose to 4.3% in 2006 and to 4.9% in 2016.
Cocaine was largely used across different social cliques of students in the 80s while the abuse of prescription pills surged at the start of the 21st century. These figures have only increased over the years.
The statistics from 2016 show that alcohol is the most abused drug in colleges today. There are two categories of students when it comes to taking alcohol; the binge drinkers and those who take alcohol to the point of intoxication. The former category comprises 32.4% of the students while the latter comprises 40.8%.
Clearly, these figures are concerning, seeing as these students are tomorrow’s adults. So what is leading them to abuse drugs and alcohol?
Why College Students Abuse Drugs
There are a number of factors that can be attributed to the abuse of drugs by college students at this point in time:
- Peer Pressure: There is a high probability that a student will be offered drugs for the first time by his or her friends. Most of them cave to the pressure in order not to be the odd one among their social circle.
- Stress and Anxiety: College is characterized by assignments, internships, a social life and trying to figure out what kind of person one wants to be. To cope, a student can turn to using alcohol.
- Experimentation: Curiosity is another reason for the abuse of drugs in colleges. A student may want to experience new things on campus, and the use of drugs is one of them.
- Social Interactions: One of the effects of drugs is that it enables you to lower your inhibitions, and this may reduce any social anxiety that you may have. Making a habit of using these substances in order to socialize during a party may lead to drug addiction.
Common Drugs of Abuse & Where They Are Found
The statistics above indicated that as high as 50% of campus students take alcohol, 40.8% of them to the point of intoxication, making it the most abused drugs. It is mostly used during social interactions like birthday parties and meet-ups.
Excessive drinking could be fatal, especially when you drink and drive. Moreover, it may hinder your ability to think clearly, hence leading to risky behavior such as unprotected sex. Alcohol poisoning, liver damage, and heart complications are other negative effects of the drug.
Alcohol is mostly encountered at parties, in dorm rooms, at sororities, and at restaurants and bars.
Marijuana is commonly referred to as weed and is the second most abused drug in colleges. This drug is mostly found at parties or before a social interaction. Most students smoke it to relax or to relieve stress.
Statistics show nearly 40% of students in college have taken marijuana at one point or the other, 4.9% of whom are regular users. Drug addiction to marijuana is one of the effects, and others include the depression, motor problems, and traffic accidents, among others.
3. Prescription Drugs
The abuse of prescription drugs by college students became rampant at the beginning of the 21st century. For students, the choice of prescription pills is dependent on the effects that they have on the student.
Some of these drugs include Adderall, Ritalin, and Xanax. Each of these has an effect on the brain activity of the user. For example, Adderall has the effects of making you hyperactive, hence used as a study drug where the student has a lot of assignments or studying to do. Ritalin has the same effect while Xanax slows brain activity, hence used to relax or manage stress.
These drugs can be found is student residences, libraries, sorority houses, and in classrooms.
Other commonly abused drugs by college students include:
The Risks of Using Drugs on College Campuses
Whether it is binge drinking, abusing Adderall or smoking marijuana drugs can affect people differently and cause different effects on the campus itself. This includes:
Addiction & Mental Illness
College addiction to drugs is the most common effect of the different types of drugs. In many cases, students may not realize that they are addicted, a condition that can develop within as little as two months. Even if they do realize that they are addicted, the battle to being free of the drug is a tough one.
Many times those who are abusing drugs can trigger co-occurring mental illness. Depending on the substance, family history and predisposition, some addicts may find themselves dealing with severe mental illness on top of the drug abuse.Addiction prevents you from achieving your full potential, and if you notice that you need help, seek assistance.
Health Problems from Substance Abuse
All drugs, from prescription pills to cocaine have health effects. It doesn’t matter whether you are the healthiest person you know or whether you feel immune, you are still vulnerable. Some of these effects are fatal, like liver and lung damage, while others have effects on your mental state like the development of ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
Right now in the United States, the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 is accidental, drug overdose. The numbers don’t lie. More and more young people are losing their lives to dangerous drug combinations.
Identifying That You Have A Drug Problem
College addiction to drugs is clearly a concern, but the bigger issue may be that the users themselves may not realize that they have a problem. If you experience the following signs in relation to your use of any drug or as an effect, you may have a problem:
- Poor grades
- Drastic weight changes
- Withdrawal from social activities and friends
- Risky sexual behavior
- Road accidents
- Violent outbursts
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Health problems
- Using more of your money to purchase drugs
The warning signs above may indicate that you have a drug problem and that you should seek assistance. College students can prevent addiction, but when you realize that you need help, seek it from a trusted drug rehab program. United Recovery Project in Hollywood, Florida is one of the top facilities in the country when it comes to treating those with a drug or alcohol addiction. Our highly-trained and caring staff provide clients with the individual treatment needed to overcome substance abuse once and for all. Contact us today at 1-888-699-9395 and verify your insurance benefits. Don’t wait any longer. Recovery is just a call away.