Substance abuse in college students is increasingly common but highly dangerous. College students use different drugs, including alcohol, for a variety of reasons and substance abuse permeates almost every aspect of the college experience.
Facts and Statistics on College Drug Abuse
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drug and alcohol use among college students is a problematic trend at universities across the country. In measuring drug abuse in college students, statistics show that illicit and prescription drug use is on the rise among college-age individuals.
College Students and Alcohol Abuse
Drinking alcohol and getting drunk are almost synonymous with American college culture. However, excessive alcohol use in college can have serious consequences for the students who drink, and everyone around them.
Alcohol abuse facts associated with drinking in college include:
- Almost 1 in 4 students report academic repercussions from drinking, including missing classes and receiving poor grades
- Studies show that each year, 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related injuries
- Approximately 696,000 students are assaulted by a drunken peer each year
- An estimated 4 million college-age (ages 18–25) adults met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder in 2017. This figure represents 10 percent of all young adults.
Problematic alcohol use in college, like heavy drinking and binge drinking, can mean short-term ailments and long-term negative health effects, including the development of an alcohol use disorder, which may require professional treatment to heal from. With centers across the country, The Recovery Village offers treatment options for adults and college students who face alcohol addiction and other drug use disorders.
Many people, including college students, may misunderstand the difference between normal drinking behaviors and binge drinking. In answer to, “What is binge drinking?” a straightforward binge drinking definition differs for women and men. For women, binge drinking means consuming four or more standard drinks within two hours. For men, having five or more drinks in two hours is considered binge drinking.
Among college-age adults, or people between the ages of 18 and 25, binge drinking is a common issue. Students may binge drink at parties, sporting events and on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. However, this behavior can have immediate repercussions, like bodily injury from a car crash, and long-term consequences, like liver disease and alcohol addiction.
Preventing Substance Abuse in College
In preparing for college, few students plan for how they’ll handle drug or alcohol use, but this kind of planning may be necessary, given the rise of substance use disorders among college students.
Many universities aim to help young adults lower their risk of developing substance use disorders through substance abuse prevention programs for college students. These programs may focus on maintaining physical and mental health despite the challenges of college life. forming healthy coping mechanisms, getting involved in campus activities and forming healthy friendships. Substance abuse prevention tactics for college students can include:
- Getting involved in on-campus events
- Joining a team sport
- Forming healthy friendships
- Befriending sober students
- Engage in activities that don’t involve substance use
Treatment Options for Students
If you struggle with a substance use disorder, there are a variety of drug and alcohol programs for college students, including comprehensive treatment programs offered through The Recovery Village.
However, before you enroll in treatment, speak with a counselor or medical professional to discuss your situation.
- Speak with campus health center physicians:Substance use disorders deserve medical attention. If you do not have a primary care physician, make an appointment.
- Take advantage of on-campus mental health counseling: Many colleges free offer counseling and psychological services for students. Given that counseling sessions at private practices can be expensive, it’s worthwhile to check if your university offers free or discounted therapy options.
- Talk with a trained counselor on a hotline:Most national drug abuse hotlines are toll-free, confidential and available during the day and night. Representatives on these hotlines can answer your questions about substance abuse and may be able to guide you toward affordable treatment options.
- Find local chapters of national support groups:Groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous are open to anyone who wants to stop using drugs or alcohol. In these group meetings, participants offer advice and support to each other.
When you’re ready to begin treatment, you can find drug and alcohol programs for college students in several ways.
- Use the SAMHSA treatment services locator: With this interactive map, you can narrow down rehab facilities by city, programs offered and specific treatments available.
- Call The Recovery Village: If you struggle with addiction, professional treatment can empower you to maintain long-term healing.
Speak to an Addiction Intake Coordination Specialist now: 866.319.6246
About the Author
The Recovery Village offers a variety of drug and alcohol programs for college students and adults alike. Rehab programs range from medical detox to inpatient and outpatient care to help you overcome addiction. Additionally, individual and group therapy for co-occurring mental health conditions is included in each program at every facility across the country.