Can college students stay sober?

The amount of drug and alcohol abuse by young adults in college is alarming. Alcohol is the substance with the highest amount of abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, 80% of college students drink, and 75% of them are under the legal drinking age of 21. Among them, 50% engage in binge drinking, which is drinking for the express purpose of getting drunk. Another alarming fact noted is that 75% of these young adults were already “set in their ways” in regard to alcohol and drug use when they were teens. Drugs widely abused include marijuana, steroids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and study drugs. Other drugs such as cocaine and hallucinogens are also used. All of these drugs are easy for students to get, and even encouraged at times by the older adults in their lives. Drugs can be found on campus or off-campus. According to Addiction Resource, a survey by the Washington Examiner shows that “49% of students surveyed say they actually bought drugs in their dorm room”. There is also culture of acceptance on many college campuses that drug and alcohol use is just part of the college experience. According to a survey on 400 college administrators conducted by CASA, a majority of deans, college presidents, and alumni accept drinking and drug use as part and parcel of college life, even a rite of passage”. Some older adults actually contribute to this culture by encouraging drug use. Some coaches hand out steroids to improve a player’s performance. Parents encourage prescriptions of certain drugs for their kids to keep them relaxed and performing well in school. Rather than learning coping skills, some students may be inadvertantly taught to numb their anxiety with drugs. Peer pressure is also a huge component of the alcohol/drug problem among young adults. Fraternities, college parties, and casual get-togethers often revolve around alcohol and drugs. At a time when young people are trying to find their place in this world, this pressure can be overwhelming at times. There are many instances where students have traded sex for drugs when they did not have the money. Drugs and alcohol lower inhibitions and use can result in making unhealthy or unsafe choices. Some students may find themselves faced with circumstances they did not anticipate such as unwanted pregnancy, lower academic performance or even a sexually transmitted disease.

Addiction Resource gives several helpful tips for college-aged young adults to avoid getting involved in drug and alcohol use:

· Avoid parties that focus on drinking and drug use.

· Get involved in volunteering, academic clubs, or activities that will help you to stay sober.

· If you must attend a party, leave early before things get out of hand.

· Fight stress with exercise and meditation and learn healthy coping skills.

· Take care of yourself by eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep.

· Secure a place to live where you can be safe and free from those who use.

· Find friends who have similar values and are committed to sober living.

If young adults find themselves in a situation where substance abuse might be or already is a problem, it is important to seek counseling. Drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We are here to help! We teach relapse prevention, healthy coping skills and stress management skills. College students can stay sober and learn to live without drugs and alcohol. #esupportcounseling #counselorshelp #counselorsrock #soberliving #healthyliving

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