Multiple studies have shown that individuals who join college are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and drugs compared to those who don’t.
The pressure to drink alcohol and abuse drugs is overwhelming to college students.
Most of them engage in drinking and drug abuse because they see it as the best way to socialize and fit into a certain social circle.
Many college students don’t start binge drinking and drug abuse immediately.
Table of Contents
- 1. Why do college and university students engage in drug and alcohol abuse?
- 2. Drugs that are commonly abused by college students
- 3. How college students can prevent drug and alcohol abuse
Instead, it is a process that starts with one or two drinks but with time, they find themselves addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Today, college students are the largest abusers of alcohol and drug in the US. Studies show that 4 out of 5 students who join college are likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse. Alcohol is the most preferred substance among college students.
Alcohol is always present, be it in sports events, house parties or student get together.
A research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Alcoholism revealed that nearly half of college students who drink have engaged in binge drinking (drinking more than 5 standard drinks in less than 2 hours).
Why do college students engage in drug and alcohol abuse?
There are a number of factors that make college students engage in drug and alcohol abuse. Some of these factors include:
A. Peer pressure
Peer pressure is a term that refers to a group of people who are part of the same social group.
Not all peer pressures are negative. In fact, there are many peer pressures that have a positive influence on college students. However, there are some which are negative.
A study that was conducted by the University of Columbia revealed that college students are more likely to engage in drugs and alcohol abuse if they have friends who do the same.
Most college students behave and make crucial decisions based on what their peers are doing.
This means that if a student feels that abusing drugs and alcohol will make him earn respect amongst his peers, then that is a risk that he will most likely take. Most college students take their first alcohol seep just to please their peers.
Some students start drinking and taking drugs just to kill their curiosity. They have been told by their parents, high school teachers, and their current lecturers that alcohol is bad.
However, they see their peers who drink alcohol and drugs bragging about how good they feel. This raises their curiosity and hence opt to take drugs and drink alcohol just to kill their curiosity.
C. The pressure to excel in their studies
The pressure to perform well is real amongst college students. This pressure comes from parents, lecturers, friends and also within themselves.
As a result, they are forced to take drugs such as Adderall to help boost their energy and stay awake for a long time to study in order to boost their performance.
Most college students usually obtain these drugs without a proper prescription from a qualified medical practitioner.
College students are faced with multiple challenges that raise their stress levels.
Some of these challenges include social pressure, pressure from studies among many others. Many college students who are suffering from high-stress level usually turn to drugs alcohol drinking because they see it as an easy way to relieve their stress.
Drugs that are commonly abused by college students
Cocaine is extremely popular among college students. Most students take this drug during get-together parties, house parties, sports events among many others.
The main reason why many college students take this drug is to get high and fit into their social circle. Cocaine can be consumed in different forms.
There is some who choose to inject it directly into their bloodstream while others choose to smoke it. Whichever the way it is consumed, the fact still remains that this drug is very dangerous and highly addictive.
Many students who consume this drug usually record poor performance in school and in some cases, they end up dropping out of college.
Cocaine can affect both physical and mental health of the student.
College students who are struggling with cocaine addiction are encouraged to seek professional help.
Ecstasy tablets are extremely popular among college students. As a stimulant drug, this drug helps to boost the production of serotonin, a feel-good hormone that helps to boost the feeling of happiness and excitement.
Although most students don’t consider this drug dangerous, many people who use it consistently for a long period of time risk suffering from various substance abuse disorder.
Widely referred to as weed by most college students, cannabis is one of the most abused drugs among college students in the United States. This drug is consumed in many forms.
Some students smoke it while others incorporate it into baked foods such as cakes. Depending on quality and quantity and method of consumption, cannabis can stimulate brain cells to release a chemical known as dopamine.
This chemical creates a feeling of euphoria. Other effects of cannabis include trouble in concertation, hallucination, decreased ability to perform tasks that requires good coordination, feeling of fear and panic among many others. Obsession with cannabis can lead to addiction. Students who are obsessed or addicted to cannabis are advised to seek professional help.
D. Study aid drugs
As pointed out before, many colleges students are under pressure to perform well in their studies. As a result, some use stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall with the aim of boosting their performance. Study aid drugs contain stimulants that help to keep someone awake for a long period of time.
As a result, college students who use this drug are able to study for a long period of time. However, multiple studies have shown that continuous use of this drug is harmful to the body especially when used without prescription.
This the most abused drug among college students. In fact, drinking alcohol has almost become normal with college students.
Most students start drinking for fun. However, most of them usually end up being obsessed and eventually addicted.
Although many students usually view alcohol drinking a less version of a drug compared to other forms of drug such as marijuana and cocaine, studies show that alcohol drinking has equally as bad effect to the body and sometimes even worse than other forms of drugs.
Students who get involved in heavy and binge drinking risk suffering from both short and long-term ailments like diabetes, depression and high blood pressure.
Heavy drinking can also affect student social life.
Colleges students who are addicted to alcohol are advised to seek professional help.
How college students can prevent drug and alcohol abuse
A. Choose your friends wisely
One of the main reasons why college students engage in alcohol drinking and drug abuse is because of the negative influence of their peers.
One of the best ways to prevent drug and alcohol abuse is by choosing your friends wisely. Only associate with friends who have a positive influence on your life.
Avoid friends who drink alcohol or take other harmful drugs. If any of your close friends start to engage in alcohol and drug abuse, then you have to make a tough decision and end that friendship if he/she is not willing to change.
B. Only engage in activities that do not involve drug abuse
There are many positive events organized in colleges. However, most students don’t find events that do not involve the consumption of alcohol and drugs attractive.
Don’t be lured to attend events such as sports weekend or house party that involves the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Some students usually think that they can attend such an event but still not engage in drug and alcohol abuse.
However, that is not usually the case. The best way to prevent drug and alcohol abuse is by staying away from activities that encourage drug and alcohol abuse.
C. Engage in extracurricular activities
Idleness among college students largely contributes to drug and alcohol abuse. If you have nothing to do, then the first thing that is likely to come into your mind is drinking alcohol with your friends or engaging in drug abuse.
To avoid this, then you are highly encouraged to engage in extracurricular activities such as sports, drama, volunteering jobs among many others.
Extracurricular activities such as sports not only eliminate idleness but also helps to boost your self-esteem and confidence. Studies have shown that people who believe in themselves are less likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse.
D. Be open about your struggles
If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, then you need to talk about it in order to get help. Most college students usually suffer from their struggles in silence until when things get out of hand.
Don’t wait until it is too late to seek help. If you are not conformable discussing your challenges with your parents or friends, then you can speak with a trained counsellor. The earlier you seek help, the earlier you will get back to your feet.
Accept that you are indeed struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and seek help from a professional counsellor.
Keith stopped using drugs and drinking alcohol more than 10 years ago. He now spends a lot of time writing and editing content for this website. His mission is to assist people who are also looking to embrace addiction recovery. Keith believes a key way to accomplish this goal is through his writing.