It is important to note that drug abuse prevention programs on college campuses should take a multidisciplinary approach. Ideally, it should involve the entire campus and the student community.
In addition, it must include law enforcement and campus safety officials, who witness firsthand the devastating effects of drug and alcohol use. Creating a culture of responsible choices is important to help young people make healthy decisions and prevent drug and alcohol abuse.
Why College Students Choose to Use Drugs or Alcohol
Binge drinking, marijuana use, illicit drugs, and prescription drug use occur on college campuses. There are many different reasons why this happens, but some of the most common include the following:
Relaxation or stress management
Part of the college lifestyle
Relief of social anxiety
Maintaining Social Interaction
The best method for preventing drug and alcohol misuse within college communities is talking about it and maintaining social interaction.
College students face significant academic and social pressures and may use drugs or alcohol to cope. However, there are always warning signs, and it is up to all of us to speak up and interact with others.
Some of the warning signs may include:
- Isolation from friends and a decreased interest in activities.
- Sudden increase or spike in drug or alcohol use.
- Changes in behavior or mood.
- Using drugs or alcohol alone.
Anyone can start the conversation, but social interaction is critical on college campuses. Students need to know they have access to support and can speak about difficult things they encounter as a student.
Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies
Every college campus implements prevention strategies to keep students informed of the consequences of substance abuse and ensure they can make responsible choices. Effective prevention should include some of the following:
The Enforcement of Rules and Laws
There are many laws in place that limit underage drinking. However, enforcing the legal drinking age has always been one of the most effective ways to reduce alcohol-related problems. Much responsibility falls to retailers, bar owners, and school administrators.
Students should be informed of the negative effects of alcohol and drug use, which keeps them educated about their decisions with drugs and alcohol. Something as simple as understanding what excessive alcohol use can do to the body makes a huge difference.
Proximity to Bars and Liquor Stores
Underage drinking is also reduced by limiting the proximity of bars and liquor stores to one another and on campus. Alcohol-related incidents are more likely more to occur where drink specials are heavily advertised targeting college-age adults.
Challenge Each Student’s Understanding of Drugs and Alcohol
Most college students believe they may become more sociable or desirable from consuming drugs or alcohol. However, when they realize this is not true, it could be too late, or they stop using these substances altogether.