Under the bright lights of college campuses across the nation, a fierce drug war rages.
Deemed as a way to rise above the influence of drugs and alcohol, colleges and universities contrarily serve as a catalyst for substance abuse. Stress, pressure and curiosity are just a few reasons for such behaviors.
Ashley Bailey, a sophomore political science major at Drexel University, has seen her fair share of peers finding solace in substances.
“Of course I know people that have tried out a few drugs, but I honestly don’t think it’s as big of an issue,” Bailey said. “College is an experimental phase, many people try it and then they’re over it by graduation.”
According to a 2005 study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, substance abuse among American college students has been on the rise since 1993.
The study shows marijuana and alcohol as drugs of choice for many college students. Temple’s Campus Alcohol and Substance Awareness discovered that 33 percent of students admitted to using marijuana and 70 percent of students drink “occasionally” during the week. The overall percentage of students using any type of illicit drug rose to 36 percent in 2005, 6 percent higher than in 1993.
However, more recent studies done by the CORE Institute report that 82 percent of students reported drinking “occasionally” during the week compared to 30 percent of students using marijuana in the past year. The study, funded by the United States Department of Education, was published November 2011.
Both CASA and CORE agree that although statistics for harder drug usages–like cocaine, heroin or inhalants–hover below four percent, college and universities should continue to take an active role in promoting alcohol and drug awareness.
Temple’s H.E.A.R.T. Education Awareness Resource Team and CASA are just a few of many university resources students can take advantage of to learn more about drug and alcohol use.
College takes on many more forms than just an academic institution for higher learning, one of them being a safe haven for students to experience life without the protection of their parents. Making mistakes and gaining valuable life experience are just a few of the benefits that accompany it.
As the statistics show, college drug use isn’t as big of an issue as balancing the national budget, and it fluctuates yearly. Students are dealing with many pressures when going off to college, and times have changed greatly since the early 1990s.
Attending college is a life changing experience filled with intangible gains unlike any other, but it’s more important that students make it all the way to their graduation ceremonies safely. It is my hope that people are using the many Main Campus resources that Temple has provided to help those abusing drugs and other substances.
Najee Clancy can be reached at email@example.com.