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Responding to Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse among college students interferes with academic performance, puts them at risk for serious accidents and even death, and can lead to addiction problems for a subset of individuals. Substance use and abuse among college students is often a misguided way to cope with anxiety, depression, and the stressors of college life. Research shows that the most abused substance is alcohol and that a large number of college students engage in binge drinking.

Signs that a student may have a substance problem include:

  • repeated failure to handle academics, work or personal responsibilities
  • a pattern of unexplained underachievement
  • substance-related disciplinary or legal problems such as assault, driving under the influence, and date rape
  • denial of the negative and harmful consequences of substance use, even in the face of serious problems.
  • Ignoring or making light of the problem.
  • Chastising or condoning the behavior.
  • Assuming that experimenting with drugs or alcohol is harmless.
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