College is a memorable experience for many since it provides fresh opportunities, new relationships, and independence. Besides, universities’ positive attributes to new arrivals, there is a severe concern about drug abuse among college students. Many reasons contribute to substance abuse and addiction; curiosity and the desire to belong are typical causes. Additionally, environmental factors play a significant role in beginning college addiction.
Contributing Factors Causing Drug Use Among College Students
The overall reason to experiment with a drug is different depending on the person. For instance, much of the drug abuse in college students begins with peer pressure. New friendships or love interests may invoke a person to try drugs. Others may use drugs to feel lively or have a euphoric sensation while at social events or college parties. Besides desiring to feel “high,” students will turn to drugs due to high stress and anxiety levels. Alcohol and drugs are commonly used as a coping mechanism or distraction to avoid overthinking or “self-medicate.” However, other ways to self-medicate do not include potential addiction or overdose. If a student feels as though dependency on certain drugs is becoming an issue, then it is wise to seek professional help or rehabs that offer an easy detoxification process. Other than wanting to feel better, substance abuse in college students also stems from wanting to do better. When a student feels they are lacking in performance, choosing substances such as stimulants enhances their mood and focus for a temporary period unless the drug is consistently misused.
Popular College Drugs
According to national survey results, 5.2% of students have used hallucinations like LSD or acid. Also, nearly 6% have misused cocaine, and less than 5% used MDMA. As of 2020, 35.4% of students who use alcohol and marijuana also take illicit drugs.1 Marijuana was at an all-time high in use in 2019 but has stayed stagnant even today. Nearly 50% of drug abuse in college students comes from cannabis use. Here is a list of the most popular used substances in colleges:
- Opioids or painkillers
- Stimulants like Adderall
- Prescription Medications for ADHD like Ritalin
College student addiction is attached to these substances among, other less commonly reported drugs. Alcohol is the primary cause of addiction and tragic deaths. As 9% of college students are reported to have alcohol use disorder, and around 110,000 students aged 18-24 are arrested each year for alcohol-related violations.2 The consequences that follow alcohol abuse may be life-changing and lead to many negative side effects on the mind and body.
Drugs Used by College Students to Study
College students regularly use stimulants to study to boost their grade point average. Besides Adderall, widely used for learning, Concerta is taken to increase attention and focus. Concerta and Focalin are consumed so long hours can be put into studying, but frequent use of these drugs leads to unwanted side effects. Headaches, sleeping problems, digestive issues, or loss of appetite may disrupt a person’s body. Also, caffeine pills get taken by students to help increase alertness and study hours. You may wonder, why not just drink a cup of coffee? Caffeine pills provide an extreme energy boost while enhancing long-term memory and pattern separation. Yet, too much of anything can cause brain developmental issues and physical problems.
The Most Abused Drug in College Sports
You may not be surprised to learn the most abused drug in college sports is alcohol. However, the statistics of drug abuse in college students who are athletes depends on gender. Overall, alcohol, cigarettes or nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana, are regularly reported substances college athletes misuse. Yet, many bodybuilders or football players do get caught when it comes to taking steroids to increase muscle mass.
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- Monitoring the Future – mtf-vol2_2018.pdf
- Finances Online Demographics – 54 Essential College Drug Abuse Statistics: 2021/2022 Data & Demographics