Preventing College Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The Key is Understanding in Preventing College Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Troubling statistics continue to emerge that point to rampant misuse of drugs and alcohol in the nation’s educational institutions. With a staggering 1 in 4 college students meeting the medical threshold for substance abuse and addiction, preventing college drug and alcohol abuse has become a major concern nationwide. As former U.S. Secretary of health and Welfare suggests; college presidents, deans and trustees must become part of the solution for preventing college drug and alcohol abuse.

Over the years, failure to zero in on college drinking prevention and substance abuse prevention for college students has facilitated a problematic drug culture in these academic organizations.  The increase in substance abuse also means a greater number of young adults will have become saddled with drug or alcohol addictions even before starting their careers.  In fact; experts suggest that preventing college drug and alcohol abuse is so important that it is expected to significantly reduce drug overdose deaths, alcohol poisoning, sexual assault incidents as well as reflect an improvement in academic performance.

In the last few decades, the steady increase in drinking and drug use made it an almost accepted standard practice among the student body in college and university campus’s all across America.  Unfortunately, the problem presents a serious public-health issue on many levels that is increasing in intensity. Based on a combination of new and existing research, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that:

  • There has been more than a twofold increase in daily marijuana use by college students since the 1990s.
  • The use of cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs rose by 52 percent.
  • Prescription drug use by college students rose by:
    – 343% for opioids such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin
    – 93% for stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin
    – 450% for tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax;
    – 225% of sedatives such as Nembutal and Seconal

This study was recognized as one of the most comprehensive of its kind. Unfortunately, the use of illicit drugs and alcohol has not abated.  In fact, it has continued its upward climb claiming many lives and spiking the number of people turning up in emergency rooms and drug rehab centers for treatment.  As such, it is clear that college drinking prevention and substance abuse prevention for college students need to be stepped up to curb this epidemic.

Part of the problem, as observed by experts, is that the average college student today does not view drinking and drug use as a harmful activity that could impact their lives long term.  In fact; studies in 2014 show only 35% of individuals between 19 and 22, saw substance use as dangerous.  And, as one college student indicated; ease of access and the emphasis on partying in modern movies coupled with minimal efforts aimed at preventing college drug and alcohol abuse help to perpetuate the drug culture happening on campuses today. As one college student said “you don’t have to look far to find people doing it” referring to people selling, buying and using drugs and alcohol.

Effect of Substance Abuse on College Students

The impact of extensive use of drugs and alcohol on America’s college campuses has widespread consequences.  In addition to the pain and suffering produced by these activities, addiction cost taxpayers an estimated $534 billion relative to health care, criminal activity, law enforcement services and other expenses annually.

Steps to Prevent College Drug and Alcohol Abuse includes…

  1. Continuing to provide scientific proof in an educational forum to students about the negative long term effects on their health and appearance based on substance consumption during college years.
  2. Stricter enforcement of laws to limit underage drinking and dangerous substance abuse.
  3. Proactive substance abuse prevention for college students by school officials
  4. Enforcing the legal drinking age has shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce alcohol-related problems.
  5. Greater oversight to prevent the sale of drugs and alcoholic beverages on college campuses.
  6. Restrictions to limit the proximity of bars and liquor stores to campuses.
  7. Increase steps to challenge student’s understanding of the potential effects of substance abuse.

More than any other time in history, we have the tools for preventing college drug and alcohol abuse.  With advancements in technology that enhance study parameters and enable in-depth insight on the true effects of drugs and alcohol, science now has the tools to help college students to avoid the substance abuse trap that can derail their lives.


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.