Substance Abuse & Mental Health Treatment For

College Students

Is college truly where many students develop an addiction? What do the college student addiction statistics say, and when is rehab for college students appropriate?
Realistically, addiction in college students is quite common. The environment makes it easy for students to gain access to a wide variety of illicit drugs and alcohol they might not have otherwise had access to before and might not have access to again. Easy availability, social anxiety, and stress, among the multitude of other factors, can increase the serious risk of addiction. Thankfully if addiction does occur, there is help available.

Statistics of Addiction

in College Students

College students are generally defined as those between the ages of 18 and 22. Research indicates that on a daily basis, 2179 full-time college students drink for the first time and 1326 college students use illegal drugs for the first time.

In fact, on an average day, of the 9 million full-time college students in the United States:

  • 1,299 used marijuana for the first time
  • 649 used hallucinogens for the first time
  • 559 used prescription-type pain relievers without a medical reason for the first time
  • 447 used cocaine for the first time
  • 415 used licit or illicit stimulants for the first time
  • 166 used inhalants for the first time
  • 39 used methamphetamines for the first time
  • 19 used heroin for the first time

This means that college student addiction statistics show that there are hundreds if not thousands of students trying illegal drugs for the first time on any given day.

On any given day, 453 part-time college students are drinking alcohol for the first time, and 174 part-time college students are using illegal drugs for the first time. 

Of the 9 million full-time college students, 1.2 million drink alcohol over the last year. Of the 2 million part-time students, 230,212 drink alcohol on any given day.

College is the most common time for young people to initiate substance use. Both part-time and full-time college students typically consume alcohol and marijuana. Heroin and methamphetamine are the least frequently used for college students; however, heavy alcohol and drug use or binge drinking and addiction are significantly higher in college students than their non-academic counterparts. Additionally:

  • In recent years college students have regularly used ecstasy, LSD, or other hallucinogenic drugs in the form of micro-dosing. Micro-dosing uses smaller doses of hallucinogens to regularly achieve a diminished “high” effect throughout daily life.
  • Adderall and other stimulants have been regularly used to keep college students awake or enhance their focus when writing reports or completing exams.

College student addiction statistics indicate that when college students are compared to their non-college counterparts, they regularly abuse stimulants like Adderall

  • 11.1% of college students abuse or misuse Adderall compared to 8.1% of non-college students of the same age group. Broken down by gender, 14.6 percent of college males misuse Adderall compared to only 5.3% of non-college males. 

28% of all college students regularly binge drink compared to only 25% of their non-college counterparts. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in a row over the last two weeks.



College Students

Why College Students Are

More Susceptible to Addiction

Why are college student addiction statistics higher than non-college counterparts?

College is a time where young adults are told to discover who they are, an opportunity to live independently and cultivate lifelong friendships. College students are usually forced to adopt a new lifestyle where they are, for many, alone for the first time and free to do what they want, when they want. Because of the age group, alcohol is readily available on college campuses. Alcohol and drugs are commonly exchanged in classrooms and dorm rooms. In any situation, there is a serious risk of developing an addiction to any substance, no matter its intended purpose.

There are many reasons why college students are more susceptible. Top reasons why college students are more susceptible to addiction:

  • College students typically experience higher than normal levels of stress, with different living situations and a change in their social life. To help manage unpleasant or negative feelings, college students are more likely to use drugs or alcohol.
  • College students often find themselves in social situations where they want to relax or under pressure from their peers to engage in drinking or drugs socially.
  • Students who have a family history of substance abuse have an increased risk of addiction in college.
  • Many students believe that it is acceptable, in fact expected, to engage in binge drinking or illegal drugs because it happens around them.
  • Studies indicate that college students who are members of a fraternity or sorority have a significantly higher rate of binge drinking and substance abuse.
  • For many college students they are transitioning into adulthood and for the first time are completely on their own with no parental supervision, which means they are more likely to become addicted to drugs without someone warning them or disciplining them for their actions.
  • Similarly, drugs are readily available on college campuses. Having many students who are of age to purchase alcohol legally means that younger students often have unlimited access to alcohol throughout their studies.

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    When to Get Help for

    Your College Students

    There are many signs that it might be time to get help for your college students. Common signs of drug or alcohol abuse include:

    • College students are skipping classes, have recently faced disciplinary action, are dropping out of school, or have declining academic performance.
    • College students show poor personal appearance, no longer caring about their hygiene or health.
    • Your college students avoid their friends and family and no longer participate in the hobbies or activities they once enjoyed.
    • Your college students are spending a lot of their time either using drugs or alcohol or recovering from them, and they regularly lie about their drug or alcohol use.
    • College students have shown serious mood changes like irritability, anger, or depression.
    • You have noticed mental or physical problems like memory issues, poor concentration, or regularly bloodshot eyes, or withdrawal symptoms like cravings and headaches.
    • You noticed they need to use drugs or alcohol to relax or to have a good time.
    • College students regularly face legal troubles or engage in risky behavior like starting fights, using substances while driving, getting arrested, or having unprotected sex.

    It might be time to consider rehab for college students if you see signs of addiction. Talking to your college students about their substance abuse might not be easy. You cannot force them to get help, but you can certainly show your concern, provide resources, and talk to them about how MRC can help. 

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    How MCR Can Help

    At MCR, we offer rehab for college students. At Multi Concept Recovery, our name says it all. We believe in addiction treatment that is innovative and customized to your college student’s needs. We offer comprehensive treatment based on providing help not just for addiction but also for the mental health and circumstances that may have contributed to addiction. Given the vast array of reasons why college students so readily abuse drugs and alcohol, treating addiction in isolation is not sufficient if that student returns to the same college campus full of high academic stress, social anxiety, and access to drugs and alcohol. 

    Our program focuses on individual treatment plans for each person, helping to develop personal growth in a supportive environment that leads to long-term recovery. When you are ready to get help for your college student, we can create a program that treats the entire person, focusing on the underlying issues that might have led the way to addiction while concurrently ensuring that your college student gains the life and social skills they need to avoid significant relapses.

    Call MCR help you live your most abundant life. 

    taking the first step

    is all you need to begin healing from suffering.

    “Recovery is possible when denial is replaced by willingness.”
    – Eric Moore, COO

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