College Substance Use – Support and Information

college 2 story building

Reaching out for help and information is a courageous step towards making informed choices about substance use. It can help maintain focus on academic and personal goals. Seeking information is a sign of strength and an important step towards taking care of yourself.

This page is meant to be a non-judgmental, 
supportive environment to find accurate information 
and resources to help navigate the complexities 
of substance use.

Alcohol

Alcohol is often seen as a central part of college life, from social gatherings to celebrating milestones. However, it’s important to recognize that alcohol use can vary widely among individuals, and what starts as casual drinking can, for some, develop into problematic behavior.

  • It’s not uncommon for students to enjoy a drink with friends, using it as a way to unwind, socialize, and celebrate.

Consider how often you drink, why you choose to drink, and the effects it has on your daily activities and responsibilities.

Adderall

Adderall and other stimulants are often prescribed to treat conditions like ADHD, helping individuals focus and maintain concentration. However, within college campuses, these drugs are sometimes used by students in the belief that they can enhance academic performance, concentration, and stamina during study sessions or exams. While the allure of a potential boost in productivity can be tempting, it’s important to understand the risks and realities associated with non-prescribed use of these substances.

Cannabis

Cannabis, often viewed through a lens of growing social and legal acceptance, is commonly used among college students for its perceived benefits, such as relaxation, stress relief, and social bonding. With changing laws and attitudes towards cannabis use, it’s important for students to be equipped with accurate information to make informed decisions.

  • Regular use can lead to difficulties with memory, concentration, and learning, which are vital components of academic success.

For some students, cannabis use can become a concern when it interferes with academic performance, motivation, or daily responsibilities.

Risk factors

Here is a graphic illustrating some of the primary risk factors of developing a substance use disorder.

risk factors for substance use disorder

Indicators of “Crossing the Line”

General indications that your substance use is starting to cause problems, including:

  • relationship
  • financial
  • physical
  • mental
  • emotional
  • academic

Substance Use Quiz – 8 Questions

This survey is intended for self-reflection and discovery as it relates to personal substance use. It is for “your eyes only.” It is simply a tool designed to review your own substance use in a safe and non-judgmental context. There is power in self-knowledge.

Answer each “yes” or “no”. Keep track of the number of the “Yes” answers:

  1. Frequency: Do you use mind/mood-altering substances (excluding caffeinated beverages, tobacco and prescribed meds) such as alcohol, cocaine, meth, opioids, adderall, benzos (xanax), cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants or sedatives more than 1 time per week?
  2. Quantity: When using, do you sometimes drink or drug more than you had intended?
  3. Impact: Has substance use ever had negative effects on school, work or home such as decreased performance, strained relationships, or neglect of responsibilities?
  4. Crave: Do you ever experience a strong urge or craving to drink or use?
  5. Withdrawal: Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms (irritability, headaches, depression, anxiety or nausea) the day after drinking or using?
  6. Risks: Have you ever drank or used in situations, such as driving or been in unsafe neighborhoods or locations?
  7. Legal: Have you had legal problems related to your substance use, such as arrests, possession, or DUI?
  8. Tolerance: Have you ever felt the need to consume more of the substance to achieve the same effect?

Answering “yes” to one or more of these questions is a possible indication of a substance use issue. The higher the number of “Yes” answers makes it more likely there is a substance use problem.

Locating Treatment Programs Nearby

SAMHSA

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. It provides access to the largest, most comprehensive, database of substance use and mental health treatment facilities in the United States.

It’s a free, private and anonymous resource for locating treatment facilities for mental health and substance use disorders anywhere in the US and its territories.

Search by zip code, radius, city, county or state

link to findtreatment.gov to nationwide database of treatment programs

SAMHSA – Live Assistance

A phone call is always answered by a live knowledgable person. They are happy to address any questions related to alcohol, drugs, detox, treatment and recovery. Staff is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  • This is a free, no-cost service.

For mobile users, click on the phone number and it will automatically dial.

click to call 1-800 662 4357.

Support and Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, remember that support and resources are available. Many colleges offer counseling services, support groups, and educational programs designed to help students make informed choices about alcohol. Seeking help is a sign of strength and the first step toward making positive changes.

Other Resources

AA – Alcoholics Anonymous

NIH – Pubmed: University Substance Use

Psychiatric Times: Student Substance Misuse

College Drinking Prevention – AIM program

Image courtesy of: psychiatryonline.org