Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among College Students
October 30, 2023
Colleges are institutions where knowledge, creativity, and innovation, among many other things, flourish. Students are allowed to thrive through this opportunity and create a bright future for themselves, and depending on the intentions of a student, this statement can be true. However, some students get distracted and put off-track by the use of drugs and alcohol. While most consider partying to be a part of the college experience, many take it too far and often put themselves and others in dangerous situations.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the brain produces a chemical called dopamine when people frequently use drugs. When dopamine is produced it is common for people to experience “euphoria”. This feeling caused by consistent surges of dopamine can cause the brain to reinforce the use of drugs forming an addiction. When students party every week, addictions can form fast. College students can abuse drugs without even knowing because these practices are considered to be “part of the experience”.
A study done by The National Library of Science shows students who use drugs or alcohol have a higher risk of being injured, both physically and mentally, are more likely to develop addictions later in life, and rates of sexual assault increase. With all those occurring, it is clear that there should be greater awareness and control over this situation. In order to understand how people get addicted to drugs and alcohol, we must begin with understanding why they started in the first place. There is a multitude of reasons college students do drugs or consume alcohol.
Culture and Curiosity is a big factor with the presence of fraternities and sororities. Colleges are an environment where partying is popular among students. With parties comes the presence of drugs and alcohol and consequently, addiction becomes more accessible to students. Romanticizing the use of drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, and normalizing its association with fun could condition the brain to rely on it for everyday use. Peer Pressure and Social Anxiety; when a person or group pressures someone to do drugs or alcohol despite a clear uneasiness of the person. It’s easy to give in to peer pressure when one is trying to fit in or feel or feel a sense of belonging to a group.
Other reasons include, Stress Relief and Self-Medication, college is stressful, balancing academics, becoming an adult, and dealing with mental health issues. Lee Health found that students often turn to unprescribed drugs in order to help manage all the stress. This can lead to worse mental health, falling behind academically, and poor relationships with family and friends. Finally, academic or athletic enhancement, according to The Mayo Clinic, steroids are commonly used by male college students in order to enhance academic and athletic performance. Certain types of steroids can help build muscle tissue and increase body mass because they act as the body’s natural hormone testosterone. However, there is no evidence that steroids improve performance and ultimately are dangerous to use in the long term. Additionally, Adderall is used as a “study drug”. It is thought to help with focus, to stay awake longer, and help with cramming before a test. The reality is there is a multitude of negative effects that come from Adderall and other stimulant drugs including anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, and extremes such as strokes, psychosis, collapsed veins, etc.
The abuse of drugs and alcohol among college students can have serious negative outcomes for the individual and others around them. The development of an addiction is more common than people think and can happen to anyone with the absence of awareness or denial of it. which causes the addiction to get worse and cause much harm if not acknowledged and dealt with.
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