Substance Abuse Risks Among College Students

College is a wonderful time in the life of most students. Community colleges, state colleges, private colleges, and major universities offer students an opportunity to learn and prepare for the future. There is also stress involved with time management, difficult classes, and some social pressure. This can lead to substance abuse as a way to cope with problems.

Alcohol and Underage Drinking in College

The legal drinking age is usually 21 in most states, but that does not stop college students in their late teens. Beer, wine and hard liquor are all available at parties. Fraternities and sororities have members age 21 and over who supply the booze even though it is generally illegal to provide alcohol to minors. These private parties can get out of control with too much alcohol consumption.

While occasional social drinking is not a problem for people over 21, habitual drinking is a form of substance abuse. College students who drink extensively in their late teens may become alcoholics by the age of 21 if they are not careful.

Each person reacts differently to one ounce of alcohol. Some people become sleepy while others experience major behavioral changes and become aggressive. Students must know their limits if they are drinking in a social setting.

Drugs Misuse and Abuse in College

Marijuana is legal for people over 21 in some states. The legal age requirement does not stop younger people from smoking pot. Marijuana is a growing business and many people feel that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol for relaxation and that it’s a cure for depression. This is not always the case, especially with teenagers.

Many college students use prescription medications to sleep or as stimulants. These drugs are legal and easy to obtain. A recent study from Ohio State University on prescription drug use showed that many students admitted to misusing pain, sleep, and stimulant medication at 26 colleges in the survey.

Illegal drugs that include cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates are available everywhere. Drug dealers target college campuses and try to hook students on a lifetime of drug use.

College Substance Abuse Counseling

Many campuses have special counseling services to work with substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration works closely with colleges and universities across the country to educate all students about abuse prevention. They work with colleges to provide treatment resource information for adolescents and young adults when necessary.

Students of any age are encouraged to take time for themselves without pressure. They should seek counseling on campus if they feel depressed. Personal athletics and artistic endeavors are important for emotional health. Meditation and even games can relax students and give them the self-confidence necessary to succeed.


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