Daily marijuana use among young people of university age has been rising in recent years. The number of young people abusing a number of prescription drugs, alcohol, OTC drugs, and other illegal drugs has also been on the increase.
Although this pattern of substance abuse among campus students is hardly new, psychologists believe that the climbing rates of prescription drug overseas and binge drinking is bordering on alarming.
According to a 2010 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among young adults aged 18 to 25, abuse of prescription drugs was second only to abuse of marijuana.
What this implies that is that thousands of today’s university students are abusing prescription drugs a lot more than was the case in the early 1990s. The research also found out that the number of campus students who use marijuana daily has more than doubled to an estimated 4%.
A Columbia University research study discovered that about 50% of full time campus students take excessive alcohol or abuse prescription drugs, and about 25% of that population fit the medical definition of a person who has a substance abuse or dependence problem.
Binge drinking culture
Whilst drinking alcohol is popular throughout the country and not considered very harmful in small doses, it is still considered a toxin and can hurt a person’s health if consumed in excess or persistently over a long period of time.
In many countries, people under 21 years old are banned from taking alcohol, but most students see binge drinking as a way to fit into the campus culture.
Students may also consider it as a good way to rid themselves of inhibitions and the stress of academic studies and exams. University parties are always a fertile ground to indulge in large amounts of alcohol.
Young university women who drink focus groups said that they indulge in the habit so they could keep pace and blend more with their male mates. They also report that alcohol helped serve as a dis-inhibitor when they find themselves under intense pressure to have sex.
Risks of substance abuse
Taking alcohol in excessive amounts can result in minor consequences such as a hangover, but can also result in fatality.
Drugs have similar effects, including outcomes such as irregular heartbeats, hepatitis and the more severe cases as brain seizures, heart attacks, overdose and strokes. Some lesser known risks include over-heating and drowning the self in water, as some drugs can inhibit the individual’s ability to understand their own temperature or hydration levels.
Students who abuse alcohol or develop dependence often struggle with their academic life, like missing classes, performing poorly in classes and getting low grades overall.
How can the problem be eradicated or minimised?
A lot can be done by both the student and the university administration.
Students (or their loved ones who suspect they may be developing substance dependence or abuse) should seek professional help with experts such as Addiction Helper and other addiction support specialists.
Campus authority now have the ability to ban alcohol in dormitories and stop the use of alcohol, its adverts or marketing on in certain parts of campus, on campus broadcasts and communications, campus parties and sporting events – however a blanket ban only happen in extreme cases and is not in effect at Birmingham University.
If needed, you could engage local authorities to help reduce the number of bars and stores selling alcohol to students in the campus environment. Also educating students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol is key.
Campus bars usually have strict on campus policies when it comes to serving alcohol to drunk students, so increasing the responsibility of establishments that sell alcohol can be beneficial to ensure that student drinking doesn’t become too harmful.
The problem of alcohol and drug misuse and abuse are not going to go away. Some may say it is up to leaders in academic environments to protect the young minds of those that are entrusted to them for their education. However, of course, it is really down to the individual. Drinking for fun, and abusing substances can start in a friendly environment, but your health is your own; ultimately it is down to you to take care of yourself.