Drugs and alcohol are more prevalent than ever in american colleges, and is only growing

The National Institute for Drug Abuse has recently published their findings into the number of drugs users and their drugs of choice in american colleges. “Daily marijuana use among young adults currently enrolled in university is at its highest since 1980… cocaine use among undergraduate students has grown by 4% from 2010 to 2015 and is steadily climbing, prescription opiates have also made a come back, jumping from only 3.5% of undergraduate students using them at least once a month in 2010 to almost 7.9% in 2015 … binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) has also exploded in recent years. From 16.4% of college students participating in 2010 to 27.9% in 2015.”

If this doesn’t worry you at least a little bit, you are either a contributor to these statistics or don’t know anyone who could potentially be a contributor to these statistics. So…why? Why do smart young adults decide to use these substances?

I will be the first to admit however, I have contributed to these statistics. Sue me. However, the reason people like my friends and I use these substances and still carry very good GPAs and test scores into college isn’t some sort of death wish. We are not blind bodies full of hormones searching for any and all types of euphoria and pleasure, no matter the cost. We are smart enough to know that Xanax, Marijuana and Vodka is not a healthy combination, yet they are all some of the most used drugs in colleges. Yet…a lot of us use these substances and more, at least semi-regularly.

You are most likely thinking “Are you all out of your damn minds!?”

The answer is yes. Our mentalities directly change and cause our physical behavior. The simple fact of the matter is that…yes, we are out of our minds in a way. Stress from school, and our uncertainty for the future and then over thinking that already sizable stress until it is amplified by a hundred in our heads, dulls critical thinking, the group atmosphere and peer pressure that is inflicted on us, then drink to relieve the stress, pop pills to feel better, smoke whatever to alleviate this and that.

The one thing you can count on drugs to do right, is to work. Every time. Drugs work as advertised, relieving problem until later, postponing stress, borrowing happiness from another time in the future. Someone under the stress previously described, and then drinking alcohol, will feel much better than someone under minimal stress and drinking on their own accord. The simple fact of the matter is that college students have problems that drugs and alcohol can directly address. For a cost of course, this being not only your money but also your physical and mental health.

Young people aren’t exactly known for their self-preservation instincts, something like a hangover might seem like a small price to pay for a night of fun and adventure with your closest friends. The real problems lay deeper. Every time you use, you develop a slightly stronger physical bond to that substance, and mental as well. True, you cannot get physically addicted to marijuana, but you can easily become psychologically dependent. It is true however that you can become psychologically dependent on just about anything, phone, internet, TV etc. Drugs are of course included on that list.

Drugs are also not very expensive, 8 oz of cocaine can go from anywhere from $120 to $200. One person paying, yeah this is expensive to most college students. Split it with your group of 4 friends? $30 to $50. Still a little up there but not out of reach for too many people, Get eight people to pay and it’s $15 to $25. It’s not unheard of for multiple groups of people to all pitch in $20 for the more expensive substances and end up with more than they even need. Today’s drug dealers are also much more knowledgeable on the subject of prices with their lower income consumers, such as most college students.

Yes. It is still wrong to use these substances. There’s no ‘good’ reason to be doing this stuff. Society doesn’t consider substance use morally right, condemning it with our stringent war on drugs policies. However, there is something that is generally overlooked by a lot of people, that doesn’t get much fault often.

Society still thinks drugs are cool. Movies, music, video games, TV shows and everything in between glorifies the use of drugs and alcohol, or at least paints them in a ‘not so bad’ light. Drugs and alcohol are easily obtainable, they have a reputation for being fun to use, people are easily pressured into their use, they are also now more affordable than ever. A part of me is almost surprised more people don’t use drugs, everything is facilitated to the user’s favor. There are very few reasons for students to not jump into the world of drugs, all in the name of fun and experimentation.