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Drug Use in College Needs an Adjustment

Alcohol Addiction and Drug Use in College - Bergand Group

Education has proven to be instrumental in providing high school students with a basis of knowledge on the effects of drug and alcohol addiction and abuse.  However, the numbers and stories circulated about drug use in college are still frightening.  It may be that those who have been exposed to caution and warnings before going to higher education are overconfident in their abilities to imbibe with moderation, or it may be that the transition is simply too overwhelming for even well-intending high school graduates.

Getting Schooled on Alcohol Addiction and Drug Use in College

It isn’t for lack of trying that college campuses are seeing continuously high incidences of, for example, out of control drinking.  Many institutions have informational sessions, offer a number of alternate weekend/weeknight activities, enforce major consequences for rule-breakers who are caught, and so on.  Part of the immediate problem is that the numbers are so large and that the majority of students are, to some extent, involved with alcohol addiction or drug use in college.  It’s difficult to identify and chastise them all with the behavior running so rampantly.

Even if these students are offered cautionary courses during orientation or health services after a night of heavy drinking, they don’t seem to be diminishing in number.  Drug use in college has risen or, at the very least, stayed the same in recent years.  The situation is similar with binge drinking and people are quick to blame college campuses, also known as “the environment,” for the way that overindulgence has continued despite the often-seen consequences.  However, as with most things, there is “more to the story” than being able to contribute these numbers to a single source.

It’s true that the “social dynamics for students in the college transition” play a big role in recent statistics regarding drug use in college.  As with most things, there are a few groups that can be identified within this population and determining how at-risk the student is is often dependent upon this classification.  There are:

  1. “Non-Drinkers” (Or Non-Users)
  2. “Nursers”
  3. “Bingers”

While this break down is fairly subjective, it is a good way to begin thinking about the college experience.  Those in the “Non” category are fairly self-explanatory, choosing to not participate in these particular, social activities and instead opting for other groups, people, and locations to frequent instead.  “Nursers” more than likely associate with “Bingers” and can be found in similar places, but they take a more cautious, potentially healthier, approach and are more observers than major players.  These students have more minor experiences with substances in order to keep attention away from themselves and also to avoid dangerous behaviors.

“Bingers,” then, are the stereotype.  Not all within this group have the same habits or motivations, but there are a lot of common experiences and symptoms to be found.  These students tend to act impulsively, often dangerously, and enjoy a kind of spotlight in which others can witness and admire their behavior.  Without many of the inhibitions that come with sobriety, they can follow through with doing or saying things that they likely wouldn’t have otherwise, and they are the group most likely to suffer from alcohol addiction.

Part of the problem of alcohol addiction and drug use in college is that there are some serious misunderstandings that circulate and persist, such as the idea that prescription drugs aren’t dangerous.  They are often shared between students who don’t realize that they’re breaking the law and endangering others by doing so.  Whether it’s given out as a “favor” or sold, these drugs are hazardous in the hands of someone who doesn’t (medically) need them.  “What is clear is that few recognize the danger of potential side effects, reactions with other medication, or addiction.”

College is a crucial period in a young person’s life in which they develop senses of self-worth, responsibility, and choice and consequence.  Many will not adjust their behaviors until after their experiences have led to seriously negative impacts.  Many will also not change at all and are at risk to leave college with a true addiction.  Despite the disheartening results so far, there need to be improved efforts to educate and to provide support for those who want to decrease and eliminate their drug use in college but need help to do so.  A big part of this change lies in the hands of the students themselves, since they create and perpetuate the social environment in which these behaviors inspire admiration rather than wariness.

For more information about drug use in college and to help a student that you care about, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance or alcohol addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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