We all know that North Carolina is home to some of the finest institutes of higher education in the world. With so many incredible universities and colleges around our state, it might be surprising to find just how common drug abuse is at local universities in the research triangle.
Let’s take a look at some stats, which universities rank the highest for partying, and finally, take a look at why addiction occurs in college.
How Common Is Drug Abuse In College?
College will always be accepted as a time and place for experimentation, exploration of freedom, and the testing and establishing of boundaries with yourself and others. That being said, it is also very common that some of this experimentation involves alcohol and other addictive substances.
When looking at students between the ages of 18-22, nearly a quarter (23.6%) reported having tried illicit drugs in the last 30 days. While that number can seem staggeringly high, it is important to remember that this includes individuals experimenting with marijuana, not just those in full-fledge addiction.
Still, even with that consideration in place, the truth remains – more students are using drugs and alcohol than in years past.
North Carolina Universities & Partying
If anywhere in the world proves the old adage of “work hard, play harder” true, it appears to be the Research Triangle of North Carolina. When reviewing a list of the top partying schools in North Carolina, quite a few from the Research Triangle make the list.
Since drug and alcohol use was measured through the self-reporting of students, larger campuses likely got a boost in their overall “party school” score. Regardless, it still goes to show that even the campuses of Duke, and UNC-Chapel Hill aren’t immune from drug abuse and rising addiction rates.
Luckily all of the major universities throughout the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill have excellent student wellness departments with procedures and resources in place to help students who are struggling with drug and alcohol use. These resources can be accessed easily by any active student. So while the Research Triangle might have a higher than average amount of partying, it also backs that up with higher than average levels of care for its students.
Why Drug Abuse Occurs In College
College students abuse drugs for tons of reasons. These range from the belief that they need something extra to focus or accomplish their work to experiencing freedom for the first time and are testing personal boundaries with themselves. Let’s break down some of the major reasons drug abuse occurs in college.
Some students struggle in college and begin to self-medicate. While college is supposed to be an exciting place where lifelong friendships are forged, some students can find it overwhelming and difficult to make connections.
This can throw individuals into depression, social anxiety, as well as trigger dormant mental illness. To cope with this unexpected change in their mental health, some students turn to drugs and alcohol. Preexisting Trauma can also come back to the surface during college. Simply being away from home and in a new environment can trigger difficult emotions or trauma reactions from past events.
Coincidentally, the college years are also when some forms of mental illness start to reveal themselves for the first time. Schizophrenia and some forms of Bi-Polar start presenting themselves in the late teen years and early 20’s. A mental illness such as this can also result in drug abuse.
Many students report using prescription medications that do not belong to them to help with studying. Stimulants used to treat ADD and ADHD can help students focus in the short term.
The problem with this strategy is that when Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, etc. are used by individuals who do not have a prescription, the result is no better than a night of cramming over cans of Red Bull. In short, cramming, even prescription medication-based cramming is not an effective study strategy.
After marijuana, prescription drugs such as stimulants and anti-anxiety medication are the most abused drugs on college campuses. The belief that Adderall can have supernatural study effects is definitely partially responsible for this surprising statistic.
Too Much Freedom, Too Fast
Some students who are experiencing freedom from parental restraints for the first time ever can find themselves having difficulty self-regulating their substance use and general wellness.
All of a sudden these young adults can eat what they want, sleep when they want, and go where they want. That can result in some new students struggling to find a working balance for fun and general wellness.
College can also present new opportunities for young adults to try drugs that they were not able to get when they lived at home. While it is normal for some level of dysfunction and experimentation to occur while a new student finds their footing living alone for the first time, it is important to talk to your son about how to seek help for whatever they might experience.
IOP For Students In Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill
Regardless if you are looking for primary care, or a step down after inpatient care, Green Hill recovery can help. Our IOP is typically made up of students from our local colleges, as well as other men looking for support in the next steps of their recovery journey.
Are you or a loved one a student at Duke, UNC, NC State, or another local Raleigh college and need help with addiction? Contact Green Hill today, we can help you or your loved one get back on track with minimal disruption to life and studies. Contact us now to learn more.