Within the United States, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that the largest demographic of people who abuse drugs and/or alcohol are between the ages of 18 and 25, and many college students fall into this demographic. Nearly a quarter of people in this age group abused illicit drugs in the month prior to the 2014 survey.
In Texas, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission surveyed over 20,000 undergraduate students attending nearly 50 colleges and community colleges within the Lone Star State to determine rates of substance abuse. The Texas College Survey of Substance Abuse for 2015 reports the following:
- Alcohol is the most commonly abused mind-altering substance on college campuses in Texas.
- Four out of five college students in Texas report prior-year alcohol consumption.
- Over 80 percent of Texas college students consumed alcohol in the previous year, and 40 percent reported past-month binge drinking at least once.
- In Texas, male college students reported binge drinking at least six times in the past month – twice as often as female college students.
- Almost three-quarters of Texas underage college students reported obtaining their alcohol from friend who was 21 or older.
- One out of every three college students in Texas admits to using marijuana in the prior year.
- About 1 percent of college students reported prior-year use of synthetic marijuana (down from 3 percent in 2013).
- About 5 percent of college students reported using cocaine in the previous year (up from 3 percent in 2013).
- Male college students were more likely to report past-year illicit drug use than female college students in Texas.
- One out of every five college students in Texas reported misusing a prescription drug at least one time in their lifetime.
- About 8 percent of Texas college students reported past-year abuse of a prescription painkiller.
- About 9 percent of college students in Texas admit to abusing a prescription stimulant in the past year.
- Approximately 7 percent of the college students in Texas report misusing prescription sedatives in the previous year.
- Over half of those students who reported past-year prescription drug misuse obtained the drugs from a person who had a legitimate prescription .
- Ecstasy (MDMA) was abused by 4 percent of college students in Texas in the year leading up to the survey.
Alcohol and marijuana are some of the most commonly abused substances by college students in Texas. Both of these substances can lead to consequences and impact brain development. Alcohol poisoning deaths in Texas were 5.4 per 1 million people between 2010 and 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns that around a third of those who currently use marijuana battle addiction to the drug.
Study Drugs and College Students
Prescription stimulant abuse is another alarming trend among college students. These drugs (which are typically ADHD medications containing amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, or methylphenidate like Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin) may be abused as “study drugs” in an effort to increase focus and stay awake longer to study or work on school projects. As many as one-third of college students may abuse these prescription medications to try and get ahead, USA Today publishes.
Use of a prescription stimulant without the need for it can have serious side effects, including addiction, suppressed appetite, restlessness, dry mouth, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, heightened body temperature, trouble sleeping, anxiety, paranoia, headache, and dizziness. Adding alcohol to the mix increases the risk for alcohol poisoning, as the stimulant action of amphetamines can counteract the depressant nature of alcohol, and a person may not realize how drunk they are.
Even though these drugs are taken to enhance intelligence as “smart drugs,” students who abuse them actually have lower GPAs than those who don’t, NIDA publishes. Any use of a prescription medication without a legitimate and necessary need for it can be potentially dangerous and is considered to be drug abuse.
Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment: Types and Options
There are two main forms of treatment for substance abuse and addiction: inpatient (or residential) and outpatient treatment. Both offer a variety of services, from detox programs to therapy, counseling, educational programs, and support groups.
Many treatment facilities offer specific programs for different demographics, including those for adolescents and young adults. These programs will be tailored toward the specific issues and concerns that affect this population. Group therapy, counseling, and support groups that are made up of peers can be highly beneficial as well. People of similar age and circumstance are liable to be empathetic and offer much-needed support to each other during treatment and recovery. Recovery services often include peer-based and 12-Step groups that begin meeting during a treatment program and can continue offering support and encouragement into recovery. Many of these groups even meet on or near college campuses and are designed for college students in recovery.
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On-Campus College Programs for Sober Students in Texas
There are over 100 colleges and universities spread out over the large state of Texas. Below is a list of some of these colleges that have programs for sober students:
Most colleges, community colleges, universities, and local communities have resources for students in treatment and recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a behavioral health services locator tool to help individuals find local treatment services. Both AA and NA are national organizations that offer meetings all over the country and within the state of Texas; they are sure to have local meetings in college communities or even on college campuses that cater to student populations.
College counselors and health services professionals can help students find services and treatment programs as well. Most campuses will also have a hotline or crisis services for students who require immediate assistance. Even though college is known to be a hotbed of alcohol and drugs, universities and colleges strive to promote a sober environment by offering sober activities and numerous support services to their students.