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June 17, 2021

Common Drugs Used by College Students


College is a time of experimentation. College students take different classes, make new friends, and have new experiences. Many young adults are away from home for the first time and may find themselves with more freedom than ever before. The newfound freedom and a hint of peer pressure can lead to some questionable decisions. Some of those decisions can be riskier than others. Beyond the storied college binge drinking, there are also common drugs used by college students. Understanding the substances that your college student may encounter can help you to prepare them to make more informed and safer choices when you are not there in person to guide them. Arming yourself with more knowledge can also help you recognize the signs of drug use in your college students. Addiction can strike at any age, and The Nook is here to help your college student with the support of a sober living environment. 

Common Drugs Used by College Students

While recent research has shown that some drugs have become less popular with college students, other drugs have become increasingly popular. In fact, in its national study of adult drug use, Monitor the Future found that college students vaping marijuana and nicotine had increased significantly. 

From 2017 to 2019, the prevalence of vaping marijuana had nearly tripled, and vaping nicotine quadrupled. The overall use of marijuana increased considerably, with roughly half of all college students admitting to using marijuana in the previous 30 days. The same survey found that the rates of use for other drugs have not changed substantially. College students continue to engage in binge drinking and use drugs such as cocaine, prescription, illicit opioids, LSD, ecstasy, heroin, and sedatives. However, it is interesting to note that the researchers also found that using marijuana is much more socially accepted than other drugs. Marijuana is a common drug used by college students because it is socially acceptable. 

Signs of Addiction in College Students

You expect your child to grow, mature, and evolve while they are away at college. These expected changes can make it more challenging to identify the signs of addiction. However, you know your child better than anyone else. Trust your gut. You know the difference between your child sharing less information and completing withdrawing. You will likely know the difference between their struggling academically because college is challenging and their completing bombing out. If you can create and maintain an open line of communication with your college student, you’re more likely to be able to see the signs earlier than later. The specific symptoms will be related to the drugs that they are using. Some drugs, such as opioids, have telltale signs such as pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and more. Others such as marijuana may be less obvious as the signs may only show when the person is actively using. In general, you will want to look for changes in demeanor and physical appearance, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Paying less attention to their appearance
  • Changes in self-care habits
  • Increased or decreased sleeping
  • Dishonesty or secrecy
  • Appearing or reporting to be sick repeatedly

The challenging part of this equation is that many of these changes may occur even if your college student is not using drugs. However, you know them better than anyone, and you’ll likely see the difference. 

Live Sober at The Nook

At The Nook, we focus on lifelong recovery. We offer our clients support to live a life that allows for the maintenance of employment, educational and familial commitments. If your college student struggles with drugs and alcohol, we can provide a living environment that can support them while they pursue their college education.  Contact us today to see how we can help their life in recovery. 

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