Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Students
Many of us still confuse substance abuse with drug addiction. In reality, they are quite
Substance abuse is when you consume legal substances, prescription drugs or alcohol the wrong
way. However, many people who are guilty of substance abuse can change or quit their
unhealthy behavior over time. However, addiction is a disease which needs medical
intervention or treatment because addicted individuals can’t change their habits, even if
their addiction is causing them harm.
Unfortunately, college students comprise the largest percentage of drug abusers in the U.S.
People between ages 18 and 24 are at an increased risk of addiction. It is also interesting
to note that college students are twice as likely to indulge into alcohol and drug abuse as
those who don’t attend college.
Both illegal and legal drugs feature chemicals that alter how your mind and body functions.
Students can easily get addicted to a pleasurable ‘high’ because it eases their stress and
helps them avoid problems associated with puberty, peer pressure and other challenges
associated with adulthood.
Reason why Students become addicted to Alcohol and Drugs
We can’t deny the fact that teenage years are tough. There are several triggers that can
compel students or teens to turn to drug and alcohol addiction. These include:
Curiosity:Since teens are exploring several other aspects of their lives
and personally, it is natural for them to experiment with drugs and alcohol. However, if you
go overboard with the consumption, you can easily get addicted which can result in
Peer pressure: Teens and students who are surrounded by people
performance-enhancing and recreational drugs are likely to try out these substances, which
can lead to addiction.
Stress: Tough course work, challenges of juggling part time jobs and
studies and social
obligations can make students resort to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism. Most
students are guilty of consuming stimulants, such as Adderall, simply because the drug helps
them stay awake to complete assignments. Since most of these prescription drugs are easily
available, students have access to them.
Common Choices of Drugs and Substances
Alcohol is largely associated with several addiction problems on most college campuses.
Since drinking is socially acceptable, it is difficult to recognize a drinking problem in
students. But addiction is not just limited to alcohol. A research conducted by University
of Michigan in 2014 discovered that 12th graders mostly consume:
Marijuana is popular all over the world for providing a high to users. But the substance has
undergone some major changes in its consumption techniques. Currently, students can use
marijuana not only by smoking, but also via vaporizers, edibles and pills.
The potent and highly addictive painkiller is frequently prescribed to patients who have
recently undergone surgery. But students typically consume Vicodin since it leads to a brief
euphoric high in addition to other effects, such as lethargy and cloudy thinking.
Although the stimulant is prescribed to sharpen the focus and improve attention levels of
ADHD patients, Adderall abuse is fairly common in high school and college students.
This type of marijuana is popular by many names including ‘K2’ or ‘spice.’ However,
synthetic marijuana does not feature THC, but triggers euphoric effects or a relaxing
feeling. In some cases, it leads to psychotic episodes that result in paranoia, extreme
anxiety and confusion.
The drugs lead students to experience visualizations of unreal objects or situations. Common
choices include LSD, or Psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms). Hallucinogens are one of the
most common drugs among students. In some cases, users can experience the negative effects
which result in what is referred to as a ‘bad trip.’ These effects include anxiety, paranoia
Molly, Ecstasy or MDMA is also referred to as the ‘club drug’ and is common among teens. MDMA
leads to extreme euphoria, but this sensation is soon followed by depression which is
because of the changing levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in the body. The
effects of drug usually last from three to six hours.
This is another popular drug; cocaine has been around for decades. The drug lowers inhibition
and increases energy levels, which makes it popular among students who want to study and
party at the same time. Owing to these effects, both college and high school seniors easily
get addicted to cocaine.
Interestingly, drug abuse is not limited to marijuana or Adderall. Students can easily get
addicted to several over-the-counter medicines or prescription drugs. The calming and
relaxing effects of cough medicines force high school seniors and college seniors to consume
the medications without any purpose.
There are some tranquilizers, like ketamine, that have been used in veterinary medicine.
Ketamine abuse is growing in popularity because the substance is capable of inducing
feelings of dissociation, which helps students ‘zone out.’
Students who are overwhelmed by the challenges of college and high school are at the risk of
becoming addicted to ketamine.
Probably, alcohol is the worst of all substances. Alcohol addiction is the most dangerous
forms of addictions because it is difficult to avoid alcohol at events, parties and
get-togethers. Since alcohol consumption is often condoned, it is hard for students to give
Students are guilty of binge drinking without realizing the overall impact of alcohol on
their physical and mental health. In some cases, students have succumbed to immediate
effects, such as cardiac arrest and even death.
Overcoming Alcohol and Drug Addiction
Not every teen immediately starts doing drugs or binge drinking at this age. But since most
students believe that alcohol makes socializing easier, they develop a drinking pattern that
ultimately leads to an addiction.
College is a place for self-discovery. However, for some students, the pressures of a
demanding college lifestyle can make them vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction. Colleges
around the nation are taking proactive measures to help students overcome excessive drinking
and drug abuse and design inventive programs to inspire good decision-making.
Here are a few ways to help student combat drug and alcohol addiction.
We know it sounds like a cliché, but there is nothing better than prevention to reduce your
dependence on substances. While most students consume drugs and alcohol thinking they will
do it only once, some of them falsely believe they can stop any time.
Naturally, not every student can control his/her alcohol and drug in-take. The best way to
avoid any sort of addiction is to control your substance abuse before it becomes an
Once you’ve made the decision to quit, you need to make clear and specific goals to
accomplish fruitful results. Your goals should look something like this:
Goal #1: I will be sober to live my life to the fullest.
My quit date is __________.
Goal #2: I will put an end to substance abuse to achieve personal and
My quit date is ___________.
Goal #3: I will only drink on Saturday and Sunday. I will also limit my
drinks to five drinks per weekend and reduce it gradually to make it just three drinks per
Don’t Succumb to Peer Pressure
Young adults or college students usually consume alcohol to become more popular and fit in
with other students. You can prevent drug addiction by not giving into peer pressure and
abstaining from alcohol and drugs.
Develop Close Family Ties
The support offered by a student’s family makes it easier for them to tackle life pressures
and avoid all types of addictive substances. Students should surround themselves with
friends and family who motivate them to accomplish their goals.
Nurture Healthy Habits
Exercising regularly and consuming a balanced diet strengthens your immunity as well as makes
it easier to deal with life stresses. As exercise triggers the production of feel-good
hormones in your body, stick to a healthy fitness regime to reap the benefits of a healthy
lifestyle. Eat healthy fats and vegetables/fruits rich in minerals, vitamins and protein.
These are only a few ideas that can prevent alcohol and drug addiction. But if you are
unable to practice self-control, you must seek medical and professional help to combat your
alcohol and drug addiction. Check into rehab and stand by your decision to live a
While it’s natural to overlook the fact that drug and alcohol addiction has serious
detrimental effects, it requires a great deal of support and motivation to change. If you’re
determined to put an end to your drug and alcohol addiction, you’re just one step away.
more about the local Narcotics Anonymous and Drug Anonymous Meetings in your local
area to share your experiences and live an addiction-free life.