College offers an independent life for many students. At this phase of life, as they take a step towards less constrained life, some students face the temptation to enjoy their freedom, experiment and explore new activities involving alcohol and other drugs.
According to a report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, nearly half (around 3.8 million) full-time college students binge drink and/or abuse illegal drugs. The report also states that 1.8 million or more than one in five full-time college students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and addiction. This report shows that many young college students are falling prey to harmful drugs, which eventually spoils their entire lives.
Entering the college life marks the symbolic end of childhood and represents a significant step towards maturity. Students experience a new culture, with a new environment where they feel less constrained and more freedom to experiment and explore the new activities. Also, the transition to college life can bring various uncertainties and pressures in their life. Most of the times they explore unhealthy habits and get into drug abuse juggernaut.
Emotional Confusion and Stress
Most of the college students may not be fully prepared for the emotional confusion they will experience when they enter a new environment. Whether they stay at home or stay away to attend college, this move represents an emotional separation for them from their parents. At this stage of separation, some students may get feelings of emptiness. In order to come out of this emotional confusion or stress, some of the students resort to harmful drugs.
Genetics and Biology
The risk for addiction is sometimes impacted by genetics and biology of the individual. Biological makeup of some individuals can influence them to take drugs. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction.
Family and Community Values
Vulnerability to abuse drugs differs from person to person. But in general, the more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance of abuse and addiction. An individual from a family or community where drug or alcohol abuse is a common practice is vulnerable to drug abuse and dependency.
Availability of alcohol and drugs is one of the main reasons for the increased abuse and addiction. Generally alcohol is available to college students at inexpensive price at off campus bars. In college campus, their fellow classmates may provide other illegal drugs.
Protective factors reduce a student’s risk of drug abuse and addiction. Due to lack of some of the protective factors such as self-control, positive relationships, parental monitoring and support, academic competence, and anti drug use policies at colleges, they tend to abuse drugs.
Alcohol and drug abuse culture at colleges is linked to poor student academic performance, depression, anxiety, suicides, property damage, vandalism, violence, number of medical issues and even deaths.
School administrators along with parents, alumni, state and federal governments should actively participate to reduce this growing public health crisis. To solve these problem effective practices of the alcohol and drug detection among the teens and young adults must be implemented.