College Drug Abuse – Alcohol and Drug Addiction in College Students

Prevent addiction by discussing college drug abuse in students early on

For many, college is the first opportunity to break away from the watchful eye of parents. With this new found freedom comes the opportunity to try new things, one being alcohol and drug use by college students. It isn’t uncommon for college students to want to fit in with their new surroundings. This desire to fit in with others may lead to trying new things or succumbing to peer pressure. In addition to studying, going away to college is also synonymous for meeting people and attending parties. Drinking and drugs are not difficult to find in and around college campuses, which highlights the crucial need for parents to discuss the dangers early on.

Some of the most common college drugs abused by students include alcohol, marijuana, prescription medicine, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and over-the-counter drugs. USA Today recently published a figure stating 5.4 million students who attend college full time admit to using drugs or binge drinking at least once a month!

Alcohol is the most popular substance to abuse when it comes to college students. With a figure of four out of five students drinking alcohol, according to The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), it is important to keep in mind that many of these young men and women are under age. In addition, it is estimated that as much as half of the students on college campuses that do consume alcohol and take part in binge drinking. Binge drinking is an attempt to get drunk by consuming three or more drinks very quickly. NIAAA defines binge drinking as a drinking pattern that raises blood alcohol levels to 0.08g/dL. This blood alcohol level can typically be reached by women consuming 4 drinks and men consuming 5 drinks in less then two hours.

Alcohol abuse in college students can cause a wide variety of problems. Consuming alcohol causes changes in one’s brain, which can lead to someone being unable to make sound decisions and judgments. Alcohol intake can also cause coma, hallucinations, seizures, stroke, toxicity and death by overdose. Drinking alcohol can lower someone’s inhibitions, and college students may see alcohol intake as a way to relieve stress and relax, or as a good response to peer pressure.

In addition to alcohol, using marijuana and a variety of other drugs is also popular on many college campuses. Many illicit drugs alter brain activity and carry a range of short and long-term side effects, and possibly withdrawal symptoms. College students are also misusing prescription drugs. A recent Journal of Addictive Diseases article states that 62 percent of students who were given a prescription for ADHD medication were in fact giving it to students who were not prescribed the medication. College students who want to stay awake and alert to study or complete projects often abuses these types of medications

As a parent, recognizing alcohol or college drug abuse in a student could prove challenging, as you may not see your son or daughter very often. Warning signs of college drug abuse may include a decrease in academic performance, isolation, legal troubles, depression, decrease in motivation, unusual outbursts, and changes in weight or hygiene.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.