Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Treatment Options For Substance Abuse In College & University Students

Substance abuse is one of the fastest growing drug intake problems in the US. While the condition is often linked to adults, stats about substance abuse and students are alarming. According to (1) the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, abuse of prescription drugs is second to abuse of marijuana among adults in the age range 18-25.

DrugWatch further reports (2) that college students today are abusing more drugs than was the number in early the 90s. The source also cites a Columbia University study, stating that almost 50 percent of full-time students abuse prescription drugs or develop the habit of binging, and almost 25 percent of those students are categorized as having a medical issue related to dependence or substance abuse.

Why do students become victims of substance abuse? Some find it the best resort to relax, have fun, relieve stress of studies, and forget problems. Female students may become victims due to these reasons or in an attempt to keep up with male students, while some may be under relationship pressure and rely on alcohol to disinhibit the desire. College trustees and societies are busy in holding events, raising funds, introducing new facilities, so the substance abuse issue gets low priority.

Also, students with the tendency to seek thrills or perform extraordinary well in exams may be at a risk of substance abuse due to the ‘high’ feeling achieved from drug intake. While everyone enjoys the adrenaline from appropriate sources, some students rely on substances to get feeling, and it causes them to continue their consumption despite the negative consequences. A student with low self-worth may also engage in abuse behaviors to counter degrading factors in his/her life. Another possible reason could be to enhance their performance in sports and other similar activities.

As a result, educational institutes need to realize that substance abuse on college and university campuses across the country is pervasive, and reliance on alcohol, drugs, and other substances can inhibit a student’s ability to be professionally and academically successful.

Treatment options

To bring a significant change to this trend, college and university staff members need to work with societies, alumni, parents, and federal and state organizations. As parents bear significant responsibility of their children, they should educate the college-and-university going teens to spend their funds wisely and about the dangers of living a substance-fueled lifestyle.

According to Future of Palm Beach (3), immigration may also bring challenges and experiences to a student. With a new culture to adapt in, and trying to get recognition in a foreign land, new students face many tests and may engage in addiction when they feel homesick or when they are under pressure to assimilate. Cultural clash may also tempt them to abuse controlled substances. In such and other instances mentioned before, students can seek help by joining recovery groups or speaking to a counselor about their condition.

Lastly, college and university should introduce substance abuse prevention and success programs to encourage responsible behavior among students through compliance, education and awareness about campus policies and state laws. With best practices, an institute can reduce substance abuse risk and its negative consequences among its students. The programs can be coordinated with community and educational partners for greater reach.


This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

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