Common Drugs Used by College Students And Treatment
Which adult age groups is drug abuse most common? It exists among all age groups, but the rates tend to be higher among younger groups. For example, cocaine use in college-age adults was 4.3% in 2015. However, the use of certain drugs dropped sharply in recent years. Use of synthetic marijuana dropped 80% from 2011 to 2015, and use of Salvia plummeted 90% between 2009 and 2015.
However, many of the statistics related to drug use/addiction among college students are disturbing. For example, full-time college students are 2x as likely to abuse drugs/alcohol as non-college students. Beginning a college career can cause anxiety for several students. Alcohol becomes an effective way for students to socialize with their fellow students. It doesn’t always turn into binge drinking and drug addiction, but in many cases, alcohol use/abuse leads to drug use within time. Several factors explain high drug use among college students. They include stress, curiosity, course load, and peer pressure. Alcohol is the top item used for substance abuse among college students.
Some X-factors explain the popularity of certain drugs on college campuses. Adderall is a stimulant and is known as the “study drug.” These drugs are popular among college students who are under extreme pressure to complete homework, study for exams, and so on.
Another issue is that the US is moving towards marijuana legalization. Over half of the US states and the District of Columbia have laws that broad legalize marijuana use while marijuana is a natural plant cigarettes and alcohol have been processed significantly in a factory. For example, cigarettes produce 100+ toxic chemicals after being lit. In fact, on some campuses marijuana use is higher than alcohol use.
What are the drugs most commonly used by college students? They include the following ones:
- OTC drugs
- Prescription meds
A USA Today survey reported that half of the US’ full-time college students admitted to binge drinking or drug use 1+ times per month. It shows that both issues have become epidemics on US college campuses.
Marijuana is the most popular drug about college students and follows alcohol regarding substances. A survey by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that nearly half of college students had tried weed, pot, and Mary Jane at least one time. Meanwhile, 30% of the respondents shared that they had used marijuana at least once during the past year.
The legalization of marijuana has become a hot button issue in the US. It’s been legalized in several states for medicinal purposes, but only a few have legalized the plant for recreational use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also reports that 9% of weed users become addicted to the drug.
So-called “party drugs” or “club drugs” are also popular on college campuses. They include ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, and LSD. The use of illegal drugs including cocaine and heroin sky-rocketed over 50% between 1993 and 2005.
Meanwhile, Ecstasy is a popular club/rave drug. It’s a stimulant/hallucinogenic drug that’s derived from meth. Monitoring the Future reported that nearly 13% of college students admitted they had used ecstasy one or more times during their lifetime. These types of drugs enhance sensation and alter moods. They function as stimulants/uppers and sometimes these drugs function as hallucinogens.
Abuse of prescription meds is also becoming an epidemic on US college campuses. These meds are easy to get with their prescription or from another student. A recent study showed that students on ADHD medications were sharing their meds with other students without prescriptions. It’s important to note that using a drug outside its intended function is defined as abuse and can become dangerous. The CDC has reported that 100 people die every day in the US alone due to a drug overdose. Most of the cases involve prescription drugs.
Another type of drug abuse on college campuses involves over the counter (OTC) drugs. They include cough medicines like Nyquil and hundreds of other products. Since these products are legal, they’re easy to get and be found in a medicine cabinet or purchased at a local store.
People can take all the pills or liquid contained in one bottle at one time to get a buzz. Research shows that over 10% of teens have abused such OTC drugs. They can cause side effects like dizziness and nausea. When the OTC meds re combined with other substances like antihistamine they can cause other side-effects.
Today’s college students can use several channels to get substances they use for drug abuse. For example, they can buy products on the Internet. For example, several OTC drugs are containing DXM that can be bought on the Internet.
College students can also find new ways to abuse drugs through combinations and cocktails via blogs and social media. In fact, there are even websites that are designed for teenagers that encourage them to try different combinations of substances. It makes the dangerous OTC abuse more available to college students.
The US has been dealing with drug abuse/addiction as a social problem for almost a century. It might be surprising that several of the illegal drugs were prescribed by doctors as legal prescription and over the counter (OTC) meds.
Marijuana is one of the oldest drugs in Us history. The Jamestown settlers grew it around 1600. In fact, it was used widely as a medicinal drug from 1850 to the late 1930s. The drug became popular on US college campuses in the 1960s and especially among white “Beatniks.” Since then many politicians and citizens have supported decriminalizing marijuana since it’s a natural plant.
Cocaine was used as a medicinal drug in Europe before arriving in the US. In fact, when Coca-Cola was launched in 1886 it contained a syrup from cocoa leaves. Cocaine was outlawed by the US in 1914. There were about 10.4 million users in 1984. It was considered to be a relatively safe drug until crack cocaine was introduced in 1985.
Opiates were popular in the US during the 1800s for medicinal purpose. It was introduced in the 1980s by Chinese railroad workers. Morphine was later developed during the US Civil War. Heroin was later given to morphine addicts, which resulted in high rates of heroin addiction. Heroin was also popular during the Beatnik scene of the 1950s. It was also popular during the Vietnam War era and the 1990s.
This drug was researched by the US military and CIA as a “truth drug.” The Psychiatry sector became interested in the drug as a type of treatment for patients. It was made illegal in the US in 1966. It was popular in the 1960s as part of the “hippie” culture. LSD use dropped in the 1970s/1980s but returned in the 1990s.
Meth was popular among the US medical community in the 190s. It was used for various functions like blood pressure, central nervous system, etc. Amphetamine abuse started in 1930. Various people like drivers and athletes started taking the drug. Meanwhile, students also used amphetamines to improve their studying.
Amphetamines were popular in the 1960s but declined in popularity until the 1990s. That’s when crystal meth emerged. Since then it’s been a popular drug among groups like high school and college students.
- Mood swings
- Lies/excuses about activities/behavior
- Random sexual activities
- Constant smell of drugs/alcohol
- Close friends are drug users/heavy drinkers
- Sick in mornings
- Defensive behavior
It is important because it gives the college student the ability to interact with a trained psychologist/psychiatrist. There are various types of counseling available including innovative ones that take new approaches to dealing with the problem. Trained professionals should do the counseling to the best results.
One of the main benefits of counseling is it can help to get to the cause of the drug abuse. It might be related to different factors including peer pressure, the stress of college, or other problems. Dealing with the drug addiction is important, but it’s even more important to find out what’s causing the behavior.
- Rehab drugs
- Relapse prevention
When a college student is dealing with drug addiction, it’s important to take steps to prevent relapse. It will help to make a recovery from drug abuse a long-term one.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a common practice for boosting mental health. The goal is to help a person develop customized coping strategies that deal with current problems and altering unhealthy cognitions like thoughts and attitudes. CBT was originally used to treat depression but is now used to treat several types of health conditions.
This approach can be effective for drug abusers. It helps them to deal with cognitions and behaviors that could be triggering their drug use. The process can also help them to develop solutions to deal with those issues more effectively.
- Support Groups
It is helpful because it allows the person to participate in groups of other college students. It helps them to realize there are other people their age who are experiencing the same thing. Attending college can be tough and especially when students are attending school away from their hometown. Talking with other students can be an effective method.
It’s important to recognize the various signs that a college student might be suffering from drug abuse/addiction. Here are some of the main signs:
- Mood swings
It can include anger outbursts and emotional instability. A drug addict might seem happy one moment then irate the next. It is one of the biggest behavioral changes among drug abusers that can be observed, so it’s an important one to watch out.
- Being secretive
The college student might be sneaking around with their friends or failing classes without their parents knowing it. If the student is spending more time in their dorm/apartment, there’s a chance they might be abusing drugs. Another sign is when they constantly lie when questioned about their behavior.
- Money problems
Attending college can be tough for anyone. However, if a student is always broke and asking for money it could be a sign they’re using drugs. Another sign to watch out for is if they start stealing from people they know. Money management is a common problem among teenagers as it takes time to learn how to use money responsibly. However, if it’s a continual problem, there’s a chance they might be addicted to drugs.
- Schedule changes
When college students have become drug addicts, it often results in their eating/sleeping patterns changing. There are variously related signs to watch out. For example, if an energetic person becomes malacology, or they have problems keeping jobs or relationships they can be red flags of drug usage. Other signs to watch out for are weight loss/gain and loss of motivation doing things they used to enjoy.
- Drug Rehab/Recovery
It is a medical/psychological treatment for people who have a dependency on substances like drugs and alcohol. The goal is to help the patient to deal with an addiction to all kinds of drugs. That helps to make them mentally and physically stronger. A rehab program can include various kinds of treatments like medications, counseling, support groups, and so on.
If you or a loved one who’s college-aged might be suffering from drug addiction, it’s important to consider a rehab/recovery program. A mistake that many people make is that willpower is enough to kick the drug addiction. It’s certainly needed, but it’s better to take a holistic approach that deals with the physical, psychological, and social issues related to drug addiction. That will help to produce the best results.
It’s a good idea to have a person tested if you suspect they’re dealing with drug abuse/addiction. No guarantee ‘s the case, but it’s better to have the person screened just to make sure it will help to protect them and the people around them.