When students go off to college, they often are excited about the freedom that will bring. They are ready to make decisions on their own and enjoy the full college experience. For many students, the college experience includes going to big parties, where they may decide to experiment with illegal drugs and binge drink alcohol, even if they are under 21.
In fact, in 2019, about 43% of college admitted using marijuana, a historic high. About 33% of students between ages 18 and 22 admitted to binge drinking – drinking at least four or five drinks within two hours.
Drug use among college students
When it comes to marijuana use, likely part of the reason more college students are using it is that recreational use is now legal in 15 states. However, Georgia is not among those. In the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers introduced multiple bills to legalize recreational marijuana or to allow voters to decide to legalize it. Yet those bills died without getting a vote.
Other than marijuana, college students are more likely to abuse prescription medications for stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin. Students use these drugs to help them stay alert and get more studying time. Overall, about 4% of college students admit to using “study drugs” and often get them from a friend who has ADHD and has a prescription for them.
Binge drinking among college students
Those under age 21 engage in binge drinking more than any other age group. Some of the problems college students who engage in binge drinking face include that:
- They are more likely to assault another student.
- They are more likely to become victims of sexual assault or rape.
- Excessive binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and even death.
For those who binge drink more than three times a week, it can affect their academic performance. They are more likely to miss class and do poorly on tests and projects.
Illegal drug use and binge drinking likely will never disappear from college campuses completely. Yet students need to understand how continued drug and alcohol use can impact them and hinder their studies. For some, college drug and alcohol use will lead to a lifelong struggle with addiction. For others, these activities can lead to making a poor decision with long-lasting impact. College students who want to avoid these consequences have to figure out how they can still have fun without abusing drugs and alcohol.