It’s no coincidence that college corresponds with the age of experimentation in most young adults. Unfortunately, many of these young adults will use their newfound freedom in ways that may be detrimental to their health in the long-term. Alcohol abuse and the use of so called “party drugs” are high around all college campuses regardless of demographics.
College students always seem to stay one step ahead of law enforcement and campus staff when it comes to obtaining drugs both legal and illegal. As many college students are old enough to obtain their own prescriptions from doctors, they don’t even have to go to the underground market to get the party drugs everyone is seeking.
The negative effects of alcohol and party drugs must be communicated to these people, even as they celebrate their perceived invincibility. Alternatives must be introduced into college culture so that young students have healthier choices when it comes to having fun with their peers.
The Incidence of Alcohol Abuse Among College Students
Alcohol abuse among college students is high. At any point in time, more than half of the student population is able to obtain alcohol legally because they’ve passed the age of 21. These students usually have no problem sharing with their underclassmen. In fraternity culture, young pledges often have to prove their mettle by overdosing on alcohol on a regular basis. In some cases, staff and parents who came out of the same culture may actually turn a blind eye to the practice because of the perceived hypocrisy they’d be instituting.
The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism has noted that four out of every five students on a college campus drinks alcohol. Of the students who drink, half of them binge, or drink with the purpose of getting drunk.
Every year, 1,825 students die as a direct result of alcohol overdosing. However, this is hardly the extent of injuries that can be attached to the use of alcohol. There are over 97,000 cases of sexual assault on college campuses that are alcohol-related. There are over 600,000 cases of non-sexual assault that include alcohol as well.
Just over one percent of students have stated that they’ve tried to commit suicide as a direct result of drinking too much. Because alcohol is a depressant, as many people tend to forget, it can certainly induce these feelings in a college-age student.
None of these statistics even come close to depicting the full effect of alcohol, however, as the missed classes and failed tests due to abuse of the substance will likely never be calculated correctly.
Current Party Drugs and Associated Dangers
The party drugs in which college students indulge constantly change. However, any new, popular prescription drug that has an effect on the central nervous system is bound to be somewhere in the mix. Use of drugs such as Adderall spike when they first hit the prescription market.
The prevalence of the dance music scene on college campuses has created a high demand for the drug “ecstasy,” which is a synthetic, more powerful form of MDMA. This is despite the fact that top acts in the genre, such as rapper Diplo and DJ Poniiboi, have tried to cut off access to the drug at their events.
Many experts also believe that marijuana will grow to be a highly abused drug on college campuses as it becomes legal around the United States.
Although the effects of each of these drugs is different, there’s a theme to the types of substances college kids like to use – they all seem to affect the central nervous system directly. When this is the case, the negative effects can be quite serious.
Any drug that throws the central nervous system into an unnatural rhythm or attempts to disrupt it can cause heart attacks, coma or death, at its worst. At times this effect can be completely unexpected, such as in the case of many cocaine overdoses. Even if a drug isn’t fatal, it can cause disorientation and confusion that can lead to other negative activities like sexual assault or battery.
Approaching a College Student About Substance Use
It can be difficult to approach a college student about substance abuse. The young adult feels at her most powerful during this stage in life. The limitations of living with parents have recently been shattered, and there are very few students who are looking to re-attach to anything that even resembles a killjoy.
If you’re a colleague of the student, you may be accused of being “nerdy” or “no fun” when approaching the individual about using substances. You must put all of these insults to the side. The side effects of alcohol overuse and drugs are incredibly serious. Although you may not have any direct involvement in the death of a friend who overdoses, would you be able to live with the knowledge that you could’ve stopped it with a word or two?
Approach a college student with alternatives. It’s best if you allow the person to make her own decision; however, there must be other choices that are actually viable. If you care about a person, you won’t worry about having to negotiate or offer some sacrifice of your own so that you can “suffer” with your friend to the benefit of you both.
800-447-9081 is the hotline number to call if you feel that you or any of your friends are in danger from alcohol abuse or party drugs. Addiction specialists aren’t there to ruin anyone’s good time; they simply want to keep everyone safe and well. Make sure you don’t put your fear of possible legal ramifications in front of saving a life. No matter how drugs or alcohol are obtained, the first priority of treatment centers is to make sure those who seek treatment leave as healthy, sober people.