Alcohol is the substance with the highest amount of abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, 80% of college students drink, and 75% of them are under the legal drinking age of 21. Among them, 50% engage in binge drinking, which is drinking for the express purpose of getting drunk. Another alarming fact noted is that 75% of these young adults were already “set in their ways” in regard to alcohol and drug use when they were teens!
Drugs widely abused include marijuana, steroids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and study drugs. Other drugs such as cocaine and hallucinogens are also used. All of these drugs are easy for students to get, and even encouraged at times by the older adults in their lives. Drugs can be found on campus or off-campus. According to Addiction Resource, a survey by the Washington Examiner shows that “49% of students surveyed say they actually bought drugs in their dorm room”.
There is also culture of acceptance on many college campuses that drug and alcohol use is just part of the college experience. According to a survey on 400 college administrators conducted by CASA, a majority of deans, college presidents, and alumni accept drinking and drug use as part and parcel of college life, even a rite of passage”.
Some older adults actually contribute to this culture by encouraging drug use. Some coaches hand out steroids to improve a player’s performance. Parents encourage prescriptions of certain drugs for their kids to keep them relaxed and performing well in school. Rather than learning coping skills, students are being taught to numb their anxiety with drugs.
Peer pressure is also a huge component of the alcohol/drug problem among young adults. Fraternities, college parties, and casual get-togethers often revolve around alcohol and drugs. At a time when young people are trying to find their place in this world, this pressure can be overwhelming at times. There are many instances where students have traded sex for drugs when they did not have the money.
Addiction Resource gives several helpful tips for college-aged young adults to avoid getting involved in drug and alcohol use:
If young adults find themselves in a situation where substance abuse might become a problem, it is important to seek counseling. Drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We are here to help, give us a call and we can help you build a sobriety plan that works for you!
Zakiya Futrell is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate at Lifeologie Raleigh. Zakiya is one of our counselors who specializes in depression, anxiety and stress as well as working with teens!