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Drug Addiction and College Students

scrabble letters laid out on table spelling out the word addiction with pills spilled out of their containers in the background.

The issue of drug abuse amongst college students has been recently recognized as a global health issue that requires immediate and proper intervention. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of college students who abuse at least one form of an illegal drug is increasing on a daily basis and therefore in the coming few years, almost half of higher education students will be struggling with an addiction problem. In research carried out by monitoring the Future Organization, back in 2015, the number of college students who were actively engaged in drug abuse was 23%. This research further revealed that 7% of the surveyed students had substance use disorder relating to illegal drugs. When the same parameters were compared to the statistics of 1999, the trend was that of increasing abuse as well as the diversity of illegal drugs. These statistics are worrying and something needs to be done, otherwise, we will be risking having unproductive youths in the future.

Campus life as the main predisposing factor

College life is characterized by increased academic pressure as well as freedom and separation from guardian supervision. During this period, students have got immense opportunities to try out psychoactive substances including illegal drugs. However, the progression to drug abuse is dependent on the way individual students choose to utilize the opportunities presented. For instance, instead of abusing drugs, some students will utilize the chances given to do some productive activities such as socializing or engaging in other co-curriculum activities. Therefore, although campus life can be a good environment for abusing drugs, due to the freedom and many fun activities, it all comes to personal decisions, attitudes, and of course individual preferences.

Why college students start using drugs

Most of the time, college students will indulge in drugs due to various reasons such as peer pressure and the need to overcome college stressors. The former is whereby students will be influenced by their friends to participate in drug abuse in the name of relaxation. This is the most common cause of drug abuse and the only way to overcome that is by the students to make wise decisions on the choice of friends they decide to have. When it comes to stressors, the focus is more on those elements which make the students become stressed. Such elements include intense academic work which can lead to the use of study drugs which have also been proven to be highly addictive in the long run. Apart from these two main factors, there are other aspects which have been shown to contribute to the abuse of drugs by students. These include the virtue of being a male, high income, and living outside the campus. However, there is still hope for recovery for students with addiction. Especially with the help of various outpatient rehabilitation programs, which over the years has helped in curtailing the prevalence of addiction. It is important to note that this is only possible if the addicted students have the will to commit to the treatment process.

Most common drugs abused by students

Alcohol: Approximately 9.9% of fresh college students engage in alcohol consumption. Alcohol is legally accepted but only to the people above 18 years of age. In most cases, students will engage in abuse of alcohol due to its availability as well as its association to adulthood.

Marijuana: This is the second most popular drug after alcohol amongst many college students. Its popularity is owed to the “high” feeling which it gives to the users. Although this drug is considered harmless to the body, the repercussions resulting from its influence are devastating. For instance, the use of marijuana may hinder proper judgment leading to car accidents during driving.

Prescription Pills: The most common of these are Adderall and Ritalin. They are used by students to enhance their memory as well as concentration during and after studying. These drugs are considered illegal and the culprits’ risks $10,000 fine in addition to a 10-year jail term.

Ecstasy: Since its introduction to the market, the use of this drug has increased by 1,200%. Ecstasy is used in clubs and other music events whereby it makes the users have an immense feeling of happiness due to the dopamine released from the brain. Once the effect of this drug has been eroded from the system, the user is left depressed and there is increased chances of self-harm.

Cocaine: Studies have shown that 69% of cocaine users started the practice while they were in college. This drug is highly addictive and it is estimated that 1 out of 4 people who try it get addicted. This leads to the destruction of life and if proper outpatient addiction treatment is not carried out, the addict is likely to end up having a miserable and devastated life.

How drugs affect student

The impact of drugs is not influenced by the status nor the education of a person. Therefore, what drug abuse will cause a non-students will be similar to that of schooling individuals. However, in this case, the focus of impact is limited to the education perspective. Generally, most of the drugs abused by students will affect cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, and attention. The effect is more on lessening the performance of these activities which ultimately will deteriorate the academic performance as well as the relationships with fellow schoolmates.

Treating addiction without leaving college

The most recommended way of assisting college drug addicts is by enrolling them in outpatient drug rehab. In this, students are able to continue with their education while still undergoing the appropriate treatment process. The good thing about an outpatient rehab for substance abuse is its ability to offer services in either online or physical-approach mode. The former is whereby an addict will receive counseling and rehabilitation services via an online channel such as a webinar or in a teleconferencing option. However, this method requires discipline and dedication from the side of an addict when it comes to adherence to the terms and conditions of therapy while still refraining from the relapse-prone practices. On the other hand, the physical technique is whereby a victim will visit a clinician on a specific physical location to receive the necessary treatment. Both of these methods are highly effective and they can assist individuals to recover faster from their addiction challenge.

For more great information on all things related to college life, check out the other blogs on College Basics.