For many, college is the first time they are away from home, away from parents and left to make most daily decisions for themselves. This extreme shift in responsibility can cause many teenagers and young adults to make scary decisions regarding drugs and alcohol. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that more than 20% of college students, enrolled in full-time classes, uses an illicit drug in the past 30 days. Additionally, the study also shows that a large portion of this population has used drugs for the first time since enrolling in college.
“Findings in this report show that, on an average day, alcohol and marijuana were the substances most frequently initiated by both full-time and part-time college students. Heroin and methamphetamine were the least frequently initiated substances by both populations,” explained the authors of the study.
According to the researchers, there are nine million full time college students in the United States, 703,759 used marijuana on an average day and 1,299 students used marijuana for the first time. Of the two million part-time college students in this country, 200,000 of these students used marijuana on an average day.
This information may not come as a surprise to many people. In fact, many parents and teenagers expect that college will broaden their horizons, and drugs like marijuana and alcohol are part of the college experience. However, experts caution people that excessive alcohol and marijuana use during this time is dangerous and can have an extremely negative impact on one’s future.
One reason why SAMHSA was compelled to conduct this study was because of a different study released by the University of Michigan entitled, Monitoring the Future. It was reported in this investigation that the number of college students that used marijuana on a daily basis was greater than it had ever been in 35 years.
While the college lifestyle tends to mirror sleepaway camp in a lot of aspects, drug use does not have to be part of the culture. Government officials recognize that many students continue to engage in drug use because they are unaware of the specific problems that can occur from substance use. Increasing education and awareness is extremely important if the amount of college students abusing drugs is ever to be decreased.