You went to college, even if it now feels like another life as your own child heads off for that first semester. You know what it’s like. Maybe you and your spouse even met in college, your relationship blossoming around exams and thesis papers.
You remember how often students, both on campus and off, used drugs. You worry that your own child may run into legal trouble. You start wondering what drugs students use today and how likely your son or daughter is to encounter them.
Frequency of use
The first thing you should know is that the frequency of drug use, according to some studies, has not been this high in decades. One study claimed that 43 percent of students participated in illicit drug use. That study only asked them about recent use, within the last 12 months. The percentage would likely be even higher if it considered all use, and it still means that the fraction of students using drugs is greater than two out of five.
With that in mind, here are a few of the most common:
Alcohol may be common and legal for anyone over 21, but it is still a drug. Moreover, it’s illegal for many college students. If students tend to start college at 18 years old, they cannot legally drink for three years. If you go to a typical college party and everyone is drinking, it’s very possible that roughly three out of four students are breaking the law.
Alcohol also needs to be mentioned because students use it far more than any other substance. One out of three college students participates in binge drinking. They think of it as part of the experience. When you compare heavy drinking statistics from college students to young people in the same age group who did not attend college, students drink far more.
Amphetamines such as Adderall are prescription drugs. Again, under the right circumstances, they’re legal. Reports show that college students illegally abuse them quite often. Some students start taking them to help them study, but they run a serious risk of addiction.
Like alcohol, marijuana is seeing more use than ever on college campuses. One study claimed that a full 5 percent of students used it every single day. When asked if they had used it in the last 12 months, 40 percent said they had. Marijuana laws have been changing across the United States, but it is still illegal in Indiana. First-time possession can lead to $1,000 in fines and 180 days in jail.
You care about your child. You hope he or she makes all of the right choices. At the same time, it’s very important to know what rights and options your child has if he or she gets arrested for illegal drug use in college.