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College and university students Use of Drugs

Facts You Need to Know about College and University students Use of Drugs

Joining college is often the first time that college and university students are away from home. There will be no parental oversight to enact or enforce rules. They will normally have a good amount of money to cater for their various college and personal needs.


Some college and university students therefore tend to start partying and illegal drugs as they enjoy their new-found freedom. They end up getting high in place of getting a higher education. According to DoSomething.Org, 30% of students abuse prescription drugs when in college.

Michigan University observed that marijuana use in colleges hits the all time high since 1980. Another survey deduced that stimulants have also become popular.

As much as the responsibility of keeping off drugs and alcohol is on the students themselves, the parents too have a role. They at times fund the indulgences by giving the students excess money for ventures that they don’t bother to question. The colleges also have a duty of ensuring that the students under their care are safe from drug use. They can achieve this by:

  • Banning alcohol in dormitories
  • Putting strict rules on class attendance
  • Getting students educated on alcohol and drug abuse
  • Banning beer advertising during athletic events which draw large college audiences.
  • Stop all marketing of alcohol on campus.
  • Plead with authorities to limit the number of bars and liquor stores around campuses.


Reasons Why College and university students Abuse Drugs

  1. Due to endless work load: In order to cope with the strains of a competitive college curriculum the college and university students turn to stimulants in order to stay awake.
  2. To relieve stress: As a way of coping with the high demands of college life in areas of studies, relationships and financial issues.
  3. To make socialization easier.
  4. As a rite of passage.
  5. Curiosity: Students can sometimes use drugs in order to explore themselves.
  6. Peer pressure: in order to fit into a particular group.
  7. Female students indulge in drugs in order to keep up with their male counterparts.
  8. As a disinhibitor: Because of the pressure to have sex, students hide behind alcohol in order to let go of the inhibitions.
  9. In order to relax and have fun.
  10. As a way of temporarily forgetting their problems.
  11. In order to lose weight they abuse diet pills.


College and university students tend to underestimate the potential harm associated with alcohol and drug abuse. Their knowledge of health and social dangers is limited. This ignorance is especially with the careless use of over the counter drugs without prescription or supervision.


Drugs Commonly Abused by College and university students

  1. Sedatives: These are prescription drugs that induce sleep. The ones commonly used in colleges being Nembutal and Seconal. Over dependence on sedatives results in tolerance, so students have to increase the dosage in order to feel their effect. Withdrawal will make a student develop insomnia and in some cases, anxiety.
  2. Tranquilizers: These create a state of relaxation in the user and thus can be used as a method of escaping pain. Xanax and Valium are the two commonest in this category of drugs. Once dependency develops, stopping is very difficult due to the severity of the symptoms. They range from night sweats and confusion, to major ones like seizures and convulsions depending on the length of use.
  3. Stimulants: They induce temporary boost to mental and physical functions of the body. They could either be prescription medications like Ritalin and Adderall, or illicit substances such as cocaine. College and university students use them to enhance their academic performance.
  4. Pain killers: Percocets, Vicodin and Oxycontin are favorite opiates for students in college. Initial use by a student is to make them get high but eventually they form a craving which makes it difficult to discontinue use.
  5. Diet pills: The need to lose weight makes students begin using diet pills. They act by altering the appetite and making a student eat less. They are highly addictive and tolerance to them builds fast. Chronic mood swings and heart problems are common results of abusing these pills.
  6. Marijuana: this is a common illicit drug that goes by very many street names. It is normally smoked and its long-term use has been linked to mental illness. Its availability and low-cost makes it a preferred social drug for students.


The effects of abusing drugs and alcohol in college are diverse. Below are a few of what can be expected from a college student who is abusing substances.

  • A student gets into fights often
  • Has signs of depression and anxiety.
  • Has notable poor academic performance as a result of skipping classes.
  • Experiences a host of medical problems
  • Gets involved in vandalism and property damage
  • Gets arrested constantly
  • Often has unexplained injuries
  • Gets involved in risky sexual behaviors
  • Has altered brain chemistry
  • Experiences drastic changes in weight
  • Stays in isolation
  • Withdraws from friends and activities
  • Has decreased focus
  • Gets agitated
  • Is forgetful
  • Lacks motivation
  • Sleeps excessively
  • Often has violent outbursts
  • Gets involved in traffic accidents
  • Asks for money from parents often.
  • Changes appearance and hygiene


Most college and university students assume that they don’t have a problem with substance abuse and think they are just having a good time. This is especially with the use of marijuana which is often considered harmless. But considering the many associated effects of the continual use of drugs and alcohol, there’s need to keep off drugs.

For those that are already involved in alcohol and drug abuse and don’t have a strong self-will to stop, it’s advisable to seek appropriate help. Involving parents in this process could make it a lot easier.

It is also important for a student to be aware of his own risk factors such as a genetic predisposition to addiction. This will make him avoid situations that can make him get into drugs and alcohol.

College and university students should also understand that as easy as it is to get away with substance abuse while in college, it may not be the same in a work environment. Getting to work late and failure to meet deadlines will result into getting fired.

In situations where addiction has already developed, a detox program can be organized. This can be done in a rehab if the situation dictates so. Anti craving medications also work well to eliminate the need for continued dependency.


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