Serenity Issues Guide For Addiction Prevention On College Campuses

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Addiction often begins in college years and Serenity Recovery wants to help prevent and reverse the statistics

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Substance abuse on college campuses often carries additional risks, including lasting health consequences and risky behavior.

There are more than 13 million full-time college students in the United States right now, and a staggering 23% of them meet the medical criteria for substance abuse or dependence (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse calculation). That means three times as many college students are dependent on drugs or alcohol, than the general population. Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan has issued a guide specifically for college campuses to help educate and prevent addiction.

In many cases, college students lack the facts about drugs and alcohol. “Say ‘no’ to drugs” campaigns of adolescence traditionally don’t translate well to college campuses, where young people face different forms of peer pressure and stressors.

College students encounter many forms of drugs and alcohol consumption, but primarily three categories of potentially addictive substances: alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. Through information about addiction, college students are better equipped to understand and combat the risks of each.

While underage drinkers only consume about 11% of all alcohol, an estimated 90% of that is in the form of binge drinking (PDF). Serenity Recovery recognizes the need to educate young people about safe alcohol consumption and healthy socialization without binge drinking.

Many young people do not know what constitutes “one drink,” and therefore intoxication levels. The delayed effects of alcohol, compounded by a drinking atmosphere, can lead to dangerous levels of alcohol consumption. Statistically, regular alcohol consumption more frequently leads to addiction, possibly creating a life-long dependency.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released figures on college marijuana use, finding that daily marijuana use is higher than any year since 1980, surpassing cigarette smoking on college campuses. In many cases, young people have misinformation about marijuana, believing it to be non-habit- forming or even healthful, yet missing data about potential risks of marijuana consumption.

New evidence suggests that marijuana can indeed be addictive, particularly when consumed regularly by younger people. Even in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, the legal age is 21, like the legal drinking age. As laws and research emerge, college campuses need resources for educating staff and students.

Another category of substance abuse, unfortunately on the rise at college campuses across the United States is the misuse of prescription drugs. Pain killers, anti- depressants and ADD/ADHD stimulants (so called “smart drugs”) are among the most widely abused on college campuses. Recent polling revealed that 28% of students legally taking a prescription medication would share or sell it, making this category of illegal drug use readily available on many campuses. Those who misuse prescription drugs site stress, academic pressure and dieting purposes as the primary reasons to illegally take prescription medications. Since doctors prescribe such medications, college students may not be aware of the potentially harmful side effect of use or misuse of prescription drugs. Even the severity of the law in regards to illegal prescription drug use (a felony in Michigan and many other states), may be unknown on college campuses. Other common drugs on college campuses include cocaine, synthetic drugs and hookahs.

Substance abuse on college campuses often carries additional risks, including lasting health consequences and risky behavior. As a further educational step, our guide educates young people about the potentially life-altering consequences of drug and alcohol consumption.

Beyond education, effective prevention includes law and rule enforcement. National regulation, such as legal drinking age and laws involving possession of controlled substances, work in conjunction with sensible local policy to create safer campuses. Enforcing the legal drinking age includes campus enforcement and cooperation from local retailers and bars, managed by public safety officials.

Considering the staggering cost of addiction, in terms of treatment, crime, healthcare and law enforcement, cooperation across agencies with colleges and universities improves the lives of students but also the health of communities.

Serenity Recovery is committed to assisting the community in education and substance abuse prevention and recovery.This issued guide is just one of the ways Serenity is furthering this education. For more information, please visit the Serenity Recovery website, or call them at 1-855- 218-3775.

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Derry Hallmark
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