Drug abuse too common in college

A New Jersey Institute of Technology student was found dead in his dormitory in Newark, New Jersey last Sunday. According to authorities, the student died of a drug overdose.

On Tuesday, Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie pledged to use his remaining time as Governor of New Jersey to stop drug addiction during his final State of the State address.
While college is supposed to be fun, the obligations that come with being a student can be stressful. Balancing your studies and social life is not quite simple. With these pressures, some students find themselves abusing drugs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , there is an increase in cocaine, heroin and ecstasy use among college students. Prescription medications like adderall and ritalin are being abused as well.

Addiction Center Facts reports college students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Young adults between the ages 18-24 are already at a heightened risk of addiction, with those enrolled in full-time college programs being twice likely to abuse drugs than those who don’t attend college.

Many students may feel stress that comes with the high demands of coursework, part-time jobs, social obligations or internships as genuine reasons for substance abuse. Peer pressure can be another factor. Depending on the city you reside in or the friends that you hang out with, there’s no telling what sort of substance you may encounter.

Little is known about the upward trend of college students and cocaine. Like heroine, cocaine is highly addictive and deadly. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, overdosing, heart attacks and strokes are some of the severe health consequences that may come with cocaine use. The study also pointed out that there is an increase in cocaine use among the ages 19 to 28 years.

Ecstasy is one of the more popular “rave” drug symbolizing its close association with parties and raves. It’s also known as “molly.” It’s a stimulant and hallucinogenic. The Massachusetts General Hospital states those who use the drug do so to enhance their state of well being while feeling more energy and arousal.

Ecstasy came under scrutiny in 1985 when the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration banned its use due to the potential it has to damage the brain. Today, it still remains on the list of drugs prohibited for sale or use.

On the other hand, adderall contains both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine according to Mayo clinic. It‘s used in treating patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. Adderall has proven easy to obtain through medical prescriptions from a doctor or from another student’s prescription.

A study in the journal of Addictive Diseases showed that 62 percent of a group of students with a valid prescription for ADHD medication purposefully diverted it to fellow students.
A students admitting that they take these stimulants for the “right reason,” to be more productive in classes and to stay afloat in the sea of intense competition. Unlike cocaine and ecstasy which are “rave drugs,” adderall has been labeleda “study drug.” These drugs alter brain chemistry and can bring about severe withdrawal symptoms.

Sonoma State University students are fortunate to have some of the best counselling and health programs offered. Counselling and Psychological services offers confidential counselling to students.

The Student Health Center is paramount in providing high quality medical, public and health education services. Other drug and alcohol awareness programs like ‘Save a Seawolf’ are accessible to students.

Let us take advantage of these resources, so that we don’t end up with a tragedy similar to the one at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Local community resources such as the County Department of Health services, Petaluma People Services and Drug Abuse Alternative Center in Santa Rosa are all open seeking to help.