Though trends and motivations are ever-changing, substance use among college students is a widespread and persistent issue. The college environment presents stressors that encourage drug and alcohol experimentation. Over 40–50% of students who did not drink in high school begin drinking their first year of college,1and the highest prevalence of drug use occurs in individuals ages 18 to 24.2
Despite the high rate of substance use compared to other age groups, young adults remain the least likely to seek treatment. 3Colleges and universities may lack resources for students seeking help or guidance. Moreover, students are often unaware of the support options available to them. The consequences of unchecked usage are potentially devastating and long-lasting, ranging from low academic performance to future challenges in the job market.
College substance use is a complex issue that cannot be understated or ignored. By the time most students graduate, they have stopped their substance use, suggesting that college itself plays a vital role. According to recent data, underage drinking decreased as campuses closed their doors for the Covid-19 pandemic, 4further solidifying the notion that college life facilitates alcohol and drug consumption.
As the popularity of different types of drinks and drugs fluctuates, educators must remain vigilant and proactive. By using technologies such as mobile apps and interactive websites, school administrators and other support systems can spread essential information to lessen the chance of substance abuse.