Addiction in College

college students

Substance abuse is a widespread issue all over the world, and it affects everyone, regardless of demographics. Anyone can be a victim, sellers do not have a specific niche as their target and college students are no exception. 1 out of 4 college students is a victim of addiction.

Students in college can be overwhelmed by the change of atmosphere, they get the chance to be out of their comfort zones, they experience new environments, opportunities, friends, and so much more. These new experiences and discoveries that students have in college can be good or they can be bad.

Why do college students depend on drugs?

The thing about being a college student is you finally have the ability to make decisions on your own. Such young and adventurous students are willing to try just about anything they couldn’t growing up. Being a student is both fun and terrifying, you have to juggle normal studies and personal life issues as well.

The biggest reasons as to why these adventurous, young adults turn to substance abuse are because of peer pressure, curiosity, stress, and the college party life. With these individuals still being in a developing, impressionable age, they are far more likely to develop an addiction.

Peer pressure

At a young age, responsibility is not a strong suit for people growing up. Their responsibility to manage their time gets disrupted by so many things. Those who are entangled with their studies and personal issues tend to seek ways of coping from the wrong people. Parties are common in college which means access to alcohol and drugs is far too easy. In college, people all around you will try to get you to engage in the party lifestyle, this is called peer pressure. Many students dream to be accepted in a certain group, they are willing to do whatever they can to fit in.


Some students are naive about things like substance abuse so they do not realize how dangerous it can be. Even for adults, curiosity hits time to time. For a student who possesses those traits most likely be tempted easily. Being curious about things like drugs can jeopardize every plan you’ve created for your future.


Stress is a huge issue for college students, and their level of stress can cause depression or even suicide. College is stressful, you have to manage your time between doing academics, part-time jobs, and developing social relationships. Moreover, many college students can develop mental health disorders which are very dangerous when neglected.

A student should prepare not only for the best college can offer but also for the worst setbacks. They should learn to master their coping mechanisms so as to not fall into addictive/unhealthy habits.

There are signs which you can use to find out whether or not a person has developed a substance abuse disorder.

Signs of Substance Abuse Among College Students

Failing Grades

Failing grades for a student who otherwise does good in school may be a sign that there is something wrong. This usually means their priorities are being taken over by something else. Academic performance of a student will be the first to suffer from substance abuse because it can affect a person’s concentration, making it harder for a student to study and learn.

Lack of Attendance

College students who are abusing a substance may tend to skip class because they no longer see it as a priority. Their new priority is substance abuse.


Another sign that students may be abusing substances is their lack of motivation. Students who suffer from addiction often become unproductive because they feel lethargic and unproductive. They may even come to class under the influence of a substance, in which case they will be unable to function and learn properly.

Financial Difficulties

Buying new clothes and shoes are an investment and you use them over time. However, using substances is not an investment because you will never get them back, you’ll just need to buy more and they are by no means cheap. Paying for substances may be a struggle for a college student who does not have enough money, to begin with, creating even more financial struggles. Some students may resort to asking for more money from parents or even stealing from friends.

Change of Behavior Towards Other People

When toxic chemicals from any substance enter the brain, proper functions will be affected. People who struggle with substance abuse tend to separate themselves from others, and they can develop things like mood swings or anger management problems.

What Are Some Substances Abused By College Students?


Alcohol is a very common substance that is abused by college students. Because the substance is legal, anyone who is of legal age (21 years old) can easily access this substance. For those who are not of age, they can easily ask someone to obtain alcohol for them. It is one of the most common things people consume at college parties.

Party Drugs

Party drugs are common in college. Cocaine, ecstasy, and molly are all very common because they are considered “uppers” which cause a person to feel energetic and talkative. Many college students use these substances so they can be more social and be the life of the party.


Because this substance is becoming legal in a few states across the nation, it is becoming more easily accessible and more socially acceptable. Though this drug may not seem as dangerous as something like meth, addiction to marijuana occurs far too often. You can easily develop a dependency on this drug for its euphoric effects.

If addiction remains untreated, a college student may suffer mentally, physically, socially, and financially. Students become dependent when they develop a tolerance of a substance; this is how addiction starts. It is advisable to seek treatment/therapy as soon as you notice any of the symptoms we mentioned above. Treatment centers are available to help people suffering from addiction, they will guide you throughout the process and they will help you defeat your dependency.