Drug Abuse among College Students

Essay by lecattonUniversity, Master'sC+, June 2013

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Drug Abuse among College Students

College students are more likely to have problems with alcohol abuse or with alcoholism rather than with drug abuse or dependence; however, drug abuse is also a problem for many students. Some students are illicit abusers of prescription drugs, while others use illegal drugs: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs. Peer pressure and/or loneliness or other factors may lead college students to substance abuse, although some students had previously abused alcohol and/or drugs in high school.

In general, college students have a lower risk of using illicit substances than their peers who do not attend college; for example, college students were much less likely to abuse cocaine than their same-age peers, and only 9.5 percent of college students have ever abused cocaine, compared to 16.5 percent of their same-age peers. Among college students, the next most frequently abused drug after alcohol was marijuana, which was abused by 49.1

percent of college students and 57.8 percent of their same-age peers not in college.

However, research from the annual Monitoring the Future study, released in 2005, reveals that college students have higher rates of abuse than their age peers for some specific drugs, such as flunitrazepam, gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and ketamine. These drugs are all considered date rape drugs, or drugs that are administered to others without their knowledge or permission for nefarious purposes; however, these drugs are sometimes used voluntarily and knowingly by students.

In addition, college students are more likely to abuse methylphenidate (Ritalin) than their noncollege peers; about 5 percent of college students abuse methylphenidate compared to less than 2 percent of their peers not attending college.

In most cases, males, whether in college or not, were more likely to abuse drugs than females. However, females were slightly more likely to abuse alcohol...