College is an incredible time for academic pursuits, building new friendships, and discovering a new sense of self. With the endless amount of opportunity during the college years comes the potential for life-changing decisions. Many students embark on their college careers with open minds and eager hearts, ready for the new challenges that might present themselves along the way.
Some students however, may not necessarily anticipate the confrontations they may face with drugs or alcohol. Whether the decision to use drugs or alcohol is anticipated or not, understanding how college students are impacted by substance abuse is crucial for awareness and prevention measures.
Substance Abuse Has Become a Major Problem On College Campuses
Though it may not be widely acknowledged, substance abuse on college campuses across the nation has become a problem that negatively impacts both individuals and communities. According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, abuse of prescription drugs is second only to abuse of marijuana .
Additional research has found that almost half of full-time college students misuse prescription medications or are involved with binge drinking, with approximately 25% of those college students meeting the criteria for having a dependency or problem with substance abuse . These findings are significant and clearly demonstrate the reality of substance abuse among college students.
Substance Abuse: Is It Really Typical for College Students?
Interestingly, one of the major obstacles that have been identified in promoting more effective prevention is the perception by the general public that drug and/or alcohol abuse is typical for college students and culture . Since it largely accepted that college is a time that students experiment with drugs and alcohol, it may be difficult to reinforce awareness of the complex issue of substance abuse.
With so much at stake during the collegiate years, it is essential to be aware of the catastrophic nature of substance abuse, such as it’s effects on:
- Physical health
- Mental wellness
- And more
How You Can Prevent Falling into Substance Abuse While At College
If you are preparing to enter college for the first time, be aware of the challenges that you may possibly encounter in your environment.
- Develop a strong support system of mentors and friends who can positively uplift you during your transition to college.
- Find extracurricular activities on campus that support your growth as an individual and help you achieve your personal goals.
- Get to know the resources available on campus that are offered to students, such as:
- Peer support groups
- Counseling services
- Wellness options
College Is An Important Experience – Keep It That Way
As a college student, you have the ability to achieve greatness with the world at your feet. Becoming involved with substance abuse will only hinder the potential within you, dampening the hopes of what you dream of achieving. With many schools beginning in full force, take the time to reflect on your goals through your college experience. Having a deeper awareness of substance abuse challenges within college culture can only fortify you against any obstacles you may encounter.
: 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, http://www.samhsa.gov/data/nsduh/2k10nsduh/2k10results.htm
: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, http://www.casacolumbia.org/newsroom/press-releases/2007-wasting-the-best-and-the-brightest