If you are going away to college, it is often the first time you will be living away from home.
You will need to steer clear of college drugs.
Because you want to fit in, you might attempt to prove yourself when other peers are experimenting with drugs.
Often college campuses offer a higher frequency of partying and illegal drugs.
You need to be careful because college drugs are prevalent, and drugs on college campuses are no joke.
There are four main college drugs commonly abused: alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and OTC or over-the-counter medications.
Also, ecstasy and cocaine are common.
College Drugs: Alcohol
The most abused of all the college drugs is alcohol.
Although alcohol is legal for students 21 and up, it is not safe nor legal for anyone under 18.
College students also tend to binge drink when they drink on campus.
Binge drinking is the act of consuming more than three or four drinks in one sitting.
Alcohol is one of the easy college drugs to abuse because it is relatively inexpensive and very accessible.
Many college students are over the age of 21.
Reasons that college students drink alcohol include:
- Attempt to fit in
- Peer pressure
- Party and have fun
- Stress reliever
- To be more social
- Reduce anxiety or depression
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How College Students View Alcohol
People glorify alcohol in movies, music, and television. Most college students do not consider it to be a drug or see it as dangerous. Drinking alcohol looks fun, and young people have less impulse control than adults. College is also known as a time for being social by attending parties, which only increases alcohol use. Further, alcohol companies target young people with fruity or sugary alcoholic drinks. These make it easy to enjoy drinking alcohol without the bitter taste.
Dangers of Binge Drinking
- Sexual assault
- Health problems
- Drunk driving
- Police involvement
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College Drugs: Marijuana
The second most popular of all college drugs is marijuana. Marijuana is known as reefer, weed, pot, or “Mary Jane,” and around 47% of college students use marijuana. Due to its legalities in many states, marijuana is popular in the media and present in pop culture.
Although marijuana is not typically addictive, nine percent of users become addicted.
How College Students View Marijuana
Marijuana is easy to come by and much less expensive than other drugs. An 18-year-old can obtain a medical marijuana card in many states, while 21-year-olds can purchase it for recreational use in some states.
People commonly smoke marijuana, but college students often enjoy brownies containing marijuana. College students use marijuana to calm nerves, stop anxiety, fit in, or relax.
Dangers of Marijuana
- Loss of coordination
- Increased heart rate
- Lowered immune system
- Traffic accidents under the influence
- Police involvement
- Poor memory
- Slowed reaction times
- Breathing problems
- Lack of motivation
College Drugs: Prescription Drugs
There is an epidemic with drugs across college campuses in the form of prescription drug abuse. Often these medications are easily obtained through your prescription or that of a friend. Sixty-two percent of students with a valid prescription for ADHD medication, such as Adderall, give it to other students without prescriptions.
This use of college drugs is not only illegal but also very dangerous. Every day 100 people die in the United States from a drug overdose; many of these deaths are prescription drug-related. Additionally, in 2016, 10% of college students admittedly used Adderall.
But why do college students abuse prescription drugs? Because there is so much pressure to perform in college, one of the college drugs abused is Adderall. These help to improve focus and can act almost like a brain boost.
Narcotics and Benzodiazepines
Prescription drugs abused by students also include narcotics and central nervous system depressants. Central nervous system depressants are known as tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, and sleep aids. Valium and Xanax are benzodiazepines that are tranquilizers. These drugs help relieve the anxiety that many students find in college, but they are also highly addictive.
College Drugs: OTC Medications
Another class of college drugs often found on college campuses are over-the-counter medications, known as OTC medications. These are typically cough medicines available for purchase at any store. They contain dextromethorphan or DXM, such as Nyquil. Other than Nyquil, there are also hundreds of other options. Not only are these easy to obtain, but they are completely legal to be bought by anyone over the age of 18.
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How Are OTC Medications Abused?
College students will find ways to abuse drugs. Students might drink an entire bottle of cough medicine or take a whole box of pills at once. This amount can cause an out-of-body experience but can be extremely dangerous.
The most dangerous aspect is that college students do not understand the dangers associated with these college drugs. OTC medications can cause dizziness, nausea, and motor control loss, but severe side-effects and death are possible when combined with other drugs.
Mental Illness and College Drugs
If you are in college and dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness, you may look to college drugs to self-medicate. Self-medicating is not smart because you may misuse these drugs and cause more harm than good.
Drug Abuse Warning Signs for College Students
- Poor academic performance or change in performance
- Changes in weight: gain or loss
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Unidentified pill bottles
- Troubles with the law
- Traffic accidents
- Sudden outbursts
- Skipping classes
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Decreased focus
- Lack of motivation
Treatment for Addiction to College Drugs
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction in college, there are many treatments. Inpatient treatment is the most common and essential for severe addictions. Outpatient treatment is less intense and will allow you to go about your daily life. Otherwise, there are forms of treatment such as peer meetings and sober living that require weekly therapy sessions, accountability check-ins, and meetings.
If you cannot disrupt your college classes and want to go to treatment while attending school, you can do outpatient treatment. Outpatient is the best course of action for students with a moderate addiction. Rather than spend 30-90 days at a facility, you visit the treatment center three times weekly for two to three hours each. Outpatient will allow you to continue your life while still going to treatment and maintaining accountability.
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Free Yourself from College Drugs
If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol or any drug, we can help.
At Pathfinders, we offer a variety of treatment programs to help you get sober and stay sober.
Free yourself from college drugs and get healthy again.
Contact us today to learn about our programs and how you can utilize our free insurance verification for treatment.