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This section provides information on current research and journal articles that are relevant to drug abuse prevention among college students.



University students’ self-reported reasons for abstinence from prescription and non-prescription stimulants and depressants

No previous publication has evaluated whether the importance of university students’ reasons for abstinence differ among prescription stimulants, prescription opioids, and two illicit forms of those medications (cocaine and heroin). In response to a recruitment email sent to all enrolled undergraduates at a large public university, 768 students who reported no prior recreational use of these four substances rated the importance of 17 reasons for lifelong abstention from each of the four drugs. Based on factor analyses, 16 of the 17 reasons comprised four subscales (Negative ConsequencesDifficult to AcquireNot EnjoyableSocial Disapproval). With few exceptions, importance ratings for each of the four subscales and the single non-loading reason (Against My Beliefs) were highest for heroin, followed in descending order by cocaine and the two prescription medications. Each type of reason was rated a more important influence on abstention from street drugs than from comparable prescription drugs. Reasons reflecting harmful consequences were rated most important and reasons reflecting acquisition difficulties were rated least important for each drug. To the degree that importance ratings are associated with continued abstinence, education and prevention messages could emphasize negative consequences as one means to reinforce continued abstinence from these drugs. Read more.

Examining the Relationship Between Strain and the Use of Nonmedical Prescription Drugs Among College Students

The study of nonmedical prescription drug use (NMPDU) on college campuses is of importance, as college students tend to engage in NMPDU more often than their same-age peers not attending college. Typical correlates of NMPDU include need for alertness, perception of peer use, desire to get high, and use of other drugs including alcohol and marijuana. Few studies have explored the relationship between strain, depression, and NMPDU among college students. Using general strain theory as the theoretical framework, the current study aims to add to the literature on NMPDU by exploring the role that strain and depression play in the prevalence of nonmedical prescription stimulant, tranquilizer/sedative, and pain reliever use at a midsize university. Results support the relationship proposed by strain theorists for both nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers and tranquilizers/sedatives, but not stimulants. Policy implications and future areas of research are discussed. Read more.


Marijuana use is associated with alcohol use and consequences across the first 2 years of college

College entry is associated with marijuana initiation, and co-use of alcohol and marijuana is associated with problematic outcomes, including alcohol-related consequences. The present study explored if: use of marijuana on a given day would be associated with greater alcohol use within the same day; use of marijuana within a given week would be associated with increased alcohol-related consequences in that same week; and the association between marijuana use and alcohol consumption and consequences varies across time or by precollege level of problematic alcohol use. Analyses revealed daily marijuana use predicted greater number of daily drinks and estimated breath alcohol concentration; weekly marijuana use predicted more weekly positive and negative alcohol consequences; the effect of daily marijuana use on alcohol use strengthened over time, while the effect of weekly marijuana use on positive alcohol consequences reduced over time; and precollege level of problematic alcohol use moderated the association between daily marijuana and alcohol use and weekly marijuana use and negative consequences. This study provides the first longitudinal evidence of the association between marijuana use and greater alcohol use and consequences in college students. Future research examining event-level measurement of alcohol and marijuana co-use is important for the prevention of alcohol-related consequences. Read more.


Prescription opioid medication misuse among university students

Prescription opioid misuse is an established problem in the United States. Less information is known regarding the clinical and cognitive characteristics of prescription opioid misusers, specifically in a college age population. This study sought to characterize individuals who misuse prescription opioids and the differences between current, past, and non‐misusers. This study found prescription opioid misusers to be more likely to live off campus, have a lower GPA, and exhibit increased impulsivity. Prescription opioid misusers were also more likely to report earlier age of sexual activity and were less likely to use barrier protection during sexual activity. This study identifies a number of risk factors for those misusing prescription opioids that can be used to develop and refine prescription opioid misuse screening tools for university health centers. It also identifies a number of concurring behaviors that can simultaneously be addressed when prescription opioid misusers are identified. Read more.

ADHD, depression, and substance abuse risk among beginning college students

This study examined differences in substance use, depression, and academic functioning among ADHD and non-ADHD college students. Participants included 1,748 students with and without history of ADHD. ADHD students were more likely to have engaged in frequent alcohol use, binge drinking, regular marijuana use, and to have used other drugs in the last year. They reported higher depression symptoms than non-ADHD students, although substance abuse risk remained high even when controlling for depressive symptoms. ADHD students had lower overall GPA than those without ADHD. However, this difference was no longer significant when controlling for depression and marijuana use. College campuses should consider programing aimed at identifying ADHD students at risk for developing substance abuse problems and emotional difficulties. Read more.

Marijuana's Effects on Brain Structure and Function: What Do We Know and What Should We Do? A Brief Review and Commentary

The recent Federal Drug Administration approval of the marijuana constituent cannabidiol as safe and effective for treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy has raised hopes that others of the 500 chemicals in marijuana will be found to be therapeutic. However, the long-term consequences of street marijuana use are unclear and recent studies raise red flags about its effects. Changes in brain maturation and intellectual function including decreases in intelligence quotient have been noted in chronic users and appear permanent in early users in most but not all studies. These studies suggest that at a minimum, regular marijuana use should be discouraged in individuals under the age of 21. Read more.

Oregon recreational marijuana legalization: Changes in undergraduates’ marijuana use rates from 2008 to 2016

There have been few studies of marijuana use before and after recreational marijuana legalization (RML) in affected states. Researchers tested whether marijuana use rates increased more among college students in Oregon than in non-RML states following Oregon RML in July 2015. Changes in marijuana use after RML did not differ significantly for participants under and over age 21 years. Some study limitations would be addressed with higher survey response rates, inclusion of other Oregon institutions, and controls for marijuana and other substance policies. Still, findings are consistent with an effect of RML on rates of marijuana use among young adult college students, which may have important public health implications. Read more.


Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO: Effects of a personalized feedback plus protective behavioral strategies intervention for heavy marijuana-using college students

Marijuana use is common among U.S. college students. Liberalization of marijuana use policies is hypothesized to decrease social norms discouraging use, which protects against marijuana use. This may increase the importance of protective behavioral strategies to reduce marijuana use harm. Results demonstrate preliminary support for the adapted Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO in reducing marijuana use for “heavy college-aged users.” Future research should test adapted Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO sustained effects over time, and examine whether program effects on harm reduction manifest after sustained (e.g., booster) program implementation. Read more.

Motives for and impairment associated with alcohol and marijuana use among college students

Alcohol and marijuana use are prevalent on college campuses. As recreational marijuana use is legalized, more undergraduate students may use marijuana in combination with alcohol. The motives for, frequency of, and impairment associated with dual use (alcohol and marijuana) compared to alcohol-only use may differ. We examined motives for, frequency of, and impairment associated with alcohol use and dual use at a university in a state where recreational marijuana has been legalized.  Analyses indicated that among alcohol-only users, social motives predicted more alcohol use, while among dual users, enhancement motives predicted more alcohol and marijuana use and impairment. Coping motives predicted more marijuana use among dual users, but not more alcohol use. Frequency of alcohol and marijuana use predicted more impairment across both the alcohol-only and dual users.Future research should examine the influence of marijuana use over time to understand how motives may change for previous alcohol-only users. Read more.

Simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use among underage young adults in the United States

The current study examines the prevalence, stability, and correlates of simultaneous alcohol and marijuana (SAM) use among underage US young adults, a population at high risk for participating in this behavior. SAM use among young adults aged 19/20 in the US is relatively common, but especially so for those who began such use by age 18, highlighting the early onset and stability of this behavior. Among underage drinkers, SAM risk varies by sex, race/ethnicity, college status, and living arrangements. Read more.

Prescription drug use, misuse and related substance use disorder symptoms vary by educational status and attainment in U.S. adolescents and young adults

Prescription drug misuse (PDM) rates are highest in adolescents and young adults. Little research in these high-risk groups has examined PDM differences by educational status or attainment. This investigation attempted to further our understanding of adolescent and young adult prescription drug use and misuse through examining PDM type (i.e., nonmedical misuse, medical misuse, and mixed misuse) and substance use disorder (SUD) symptoms from PDM by educational status/attainment. In adolescents and across medication classes, the highest rates of any use, PDM, medical misuse, nonmedical misuse, and presence of two or more SUD symptoms were seen in those with poor school adjustment or not in school. In young adults, opioid-PDM and related outcomes were more prevalent in those not in school, especially high school dropouts. For stimulants, rates were highest in full-time college students and college graduates. Read more.

Prescription drug use, misuse and related substance use disorder symptoms vary by educational status and attainment in U.S. adolescents and young adults

Prescription drug misuse (PDM) rates are highest in adolescents and young adults. Little research in these high-risk groups has examined PDM differences by educational status or attainment. This investigation attempted to further our understanding of adolescent and young adult prescription drug use and misuse through examining PDM type (i.e., nonmedical misuse, medical misuse, and mixed misuse) and substance use disorder (SUD) symptoms from PDM by educational status/attainment. In adolescents and across medication classes, the highest rates of any use, PDM, medical misuse, nonmedical misuse, and presence of two or more SUD symptoms were seen in those with poor school adjustment or not in school. In young adults, opioid-PDM and related outcomes were more prevalent in those not in school, especially high school dropouts. For stimulants, rates were highest in full-time college students and college graduates. Read more.

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A mediated multigroup model examining marijuana use consequences by sexual orientation in us college students

Marijuana use holds a curvilinear relation to sexual orientation, whereby bisexual individuals reporter higher frequency of use than exclusively hetero- or homosexual individuals. This relation differs by gender, with more pronounced differences among women. Bisexual individuals are at greater risk for negative consequences of marijuana use, such as dependence. To mitigate potential risks, individuals employ protective behavioral strategies (PBS). While differences in use are known, research has yet to examine if consequences and PBS use vary by sexual orientation. This study seeks to address the relations between sexual orientation, consequences, gender, and PBS. It was hypothesized that orientation would be associated with consequences, mediated by PBS, and these relations would vary by gender. Results indicated a curvilinear relation between sexual orientation and consequences among men, however not women. Moreover, PBS use mediated the relation between orientation and consequences among men, and negatively predicted consequences among women. Conclusions include that mixed sexual orientation men experience higher consequences through lower PBS use. For women, PBS use buffers against consequences. These findings reflect a general effectiveness of PBS use for mitigating negative marijuana-related consequences. The implications of these results are discussed. Read more.

Stimulant Use Among Undergraduate Nursing Students

Research reveals a decade-long increase in prescription drug misuse (PDM) of stimulant medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and college students in particular are at the highest risk for these behaviors. However, PDM has not been specifically studied in undergraduate nursing students, and thus, this study fills a gap in our knowledge of PDM of stimulants. This descriptive study used a cross-sectional, convenience sample of undergraduate nursing students (N = 249) attending a large midwestern university. The study’s purpose was to examine the medical use, medical misuse, nonmedical use, and diversion of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder stimulant medications as well as to compare CRAFFT scores among these four groups of stimulant users. Results showed that 10.4 percent of respondents used prescription stimulants non-medically in the past 12 months, and over half (51.5 percent) of respondents screened positive on the CRAFFT, an indication of possible alcohol and drug misuse behaviors. In addition, there was a strong association between medical misuse and nonmedical use and positive CRAFFT scores. The high percentage of positive CRAFFT scores is a concern and indicates a pressing need for nursing faculty to evaluate and address substance use by nursing students. Read more.

NCAA Drug Testing Policies and Penalties: The Role of Team Performance

Under National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules, all Division I and II student-athletes are subject to year-round drug testing. In addition to these NCAA-mandated tests, the NCAA encourages each member school to establish its own drug testing policy. Drug testing has been studied frequently, often from the legal, athlete motivation, or economic perspectives. Yet, on the collegiate level, it is unclear the extent to which drug testing policies vary across institutions and divisions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the drug testing policies of high- and low-performing athletic programs to determine whether student-athletes competing on successful teams in revenue-generating sports are held to different standards than those participating on less successful athletic teams. Drug testing policies were collected from “high-performing” Division I and II athletic programs (i.e., those ranked in the top 25 in football, men’s basketball, or women’s basketball between 2012–2017); these policies were compared with those of “low-performing” athletic programs (i.e., those ranked in the bottom 50 of the Directors’ Cup between 2012–2017). The results indicate several contrasts between high- and low-performing athletic departments in how they penalize athletes for positive drug penalties, particularly at the Division I level. Read more.

Why Not Pot?: A Review of the Brain-based Risks of Cannabis

In this review, researchers provide a historical perspective on marijuana, and survey contemporary research investigating its potential negative effects on the brain. The researchers discuss the evidence regarding cannabis dependence, driving under the influence of cannabis, underachievement, inducing (or worsening) certain psychiatric conditions, and the potential for progression to use of more dangerous drugs-summarized by the acronym DDUMB, a cognitive tool that may help healthcare providers in their risk/benefit discussions with patients who use cannabis. The researchers also review and discuss the impact of marijuana use on target populations, including adolescents (who are at increased risk of harm); heavy users; and people suffering from-or at high risk of-mental illness. While cannabis presents certain subjective, health-related, and pecuniary benefits to users, growers, and other entities, it is also associated with several brain-based risks. Understanding these risks aids clinicians and their patients in making informed and balanced decisions regarding the initiation or continuance of marijuana use. Read more.

Hookah Use Among College Students: Recent Use, Knowledge of Health Risks, Attitude and Reasons for Use

Notwithstanding the efforts of health educators and other health professionals regarding tobacco and smoking cessation, research indicates that hookah smoking among college students remains a health concern. Research shows an upward trend in college students’ hookah use. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe potential patterns/differences in college students’ hookah use, and the relations among attitudes toward and knowledge about hookah use and use of this drug. Results indicated increased prevalence rates (53.8 percent) among participants of this study. Participants’ recent hookah use was consistent with that of current research. Study findings supports current research, which found that college students have low negative perceptions of the health risks (addictive and detrimental properties) of hookah use. Analyses also determined that college students’ attitudes toward hookah was associated with use of this drug. Regarding reasons why students may use hookah, data analysis indicated statistical significance in lifetime hookah use based on reasons for use. Study provide information for health educators creating hookah risk awareness educational programs aimed at reducing rates of hookah smoking among college students. Read more.

Reefer madness or much ado about nothing? Cannabis legalization outcomes among young adults in the United States

In 2012, Colorado became one of the first two U.S. states to legalize cannabis for recreational use for adults 21 and older. Given that cannabis use holds potential physical and mental health risks, particularly among adolescent users, concerns have grown regarding changes in use following this change in policy. Based on past literature, two hypotheses were made for this study. First, college student cannabis use would increase after recreational legalization, however just for those 21 years old and older. Second, there would be a positive relation between the influence of cannabis legislation on out-of-state student’s decision to attend a Colorado university and their cannabis use. Data from 5,241 undergraduate students was available to test study hypotheses using Pearson’s Chi-square, negative binomial regressions, and path analysis. Results indicated that cannabis use increased since recreational legalization for all students, but more so for those over 21 years. No differences in past month use frequency were found between pre- and post-legalization. Influence of cannabis laws on non-resident student’s decision to attend a Colorado college predicted lifetime and past 30-day use. Additionally, out-of-state students reported higher past 30-day use than in-state students. These findings may help inform other states considering recreational legalization of potential outcomes, as well as potential interventions. Read more.

Poor mental health, peer drinking norms, and alcohol risk in a social network of first-year college students

College students with anxiety and depressive symptomatology face escalated risk for alcohol-related negative consequences. While it is well-established that normative perceptions of proximal peers' drinking behaviors influence students' own drinking behaviors, it is not clear how mental health status affects this association. In the current study, researchers examined cross-sectional relationships between anxiety and depressed mood, perceived drinking behaviors and attitudes of important peers, and past month alcohol consumption and related problems in a first-semester college student social network. Read more.

How Collegiate Fraternity and Sorority Involvement Relates to Substance Use During Young Adulthood and Substance Use Disorders in Early Midlife: A National Longitudinal Study

This study’s purpose was to assess how social fraternity involvement (i.e., membership and residence) in college relates to substance use behaviors and substance use disorder symptoms during young adulthood and early midlife in a national sample. National longitudinal data confirm binge drinking and marijuana use are most prevalent among male fraternity residents relative to non-members and non-students. The increased risk of substance-related consequences associated with fraternity involvement was not developmentally limited to college and is associated with higher levels of long-term AUD symptoms during early midlife. Read more.

Policy Implications and Research Recommendations: A Review of Hookah Use Among US College Students

The rate of hookah use among college students during the last decade is about 30 percent. Although college students perceive hookah use as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, hookah use increases the risk of disease and nicotine dependence, and therefore remains an area of concern. This review attempts to assess empirical literature relating to hookah use while focusing on the consequences for regulatory policy. College students who use hookah are generally not aware of the increased risks for tobacco-related diseases as it relates to their behavior. In addition, few public health messages target college-age adults with anti-hookah messages. A lack of information regarding the dangers and potential harms of hookah use may be misinterpreted as a sign of “safety” which inadvertently may imply a suggestion of no need for safety measures. Hence, a research agenda that would inform about health policy actions has been proposed. Read more.

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College Party Culture and Sexual Assault

This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17-24 year old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17- to 24-year- old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but the researchers also found significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim. Read more.


Low rates of alcohol and tobacco use, strong cultural ties for Native American college students in the Southwest

College attendance is associated with an increased risk for substance use, yet we know little about substance use among Native American college students and its regional variation. This study examined alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and their relation to gender, institution, age, and cultural involvement among Native American college students in the Southwest. Read more.


Substance Use, Risky Sexual Behavior and Delinquency Among Students at a Historically Black College

This study aimed to explore the relationship between substance use and abuse, delinquency, and risky sexual behaviors among college students at a Historically Black University (HBCU). This study recruited a total of 150 participants ages 18-24 from a Historical Black College in the Mid-Atlantic. This study implemented a cross-sectional and quantitative design utilizing survey research to assess relationships between the independent variables under investigation. Results revealed that there was a significant positive relationship between substance use, dependency, and delinquency. Results also revealed there was a significant positive relationship between risky sexual behavior and delinquency and between substance use/dependency and risky sexual behavior. Given the increase in opioid use among this population there is a need for further research. Read more.

How Collegiate Fraternity and Sorority Involvement Relates to Substance Use During Young Adulthood and Substance Use Disorders in Early Midlife: A National Longitudinal Study

The purpose of this research was to assess how social fraternity involvement (i.e., membership and residence) in college relates to substance use behaviors and substance use disorder symptoms during young adulthood and early midlife in a national sample. National longitudinal data confirm binge drinking and marijuana use are most prevalent among male fraternity residents relative to non-members and non-students. The increased risk of substance-related consequences associated with fraternity involvement was not developmentally limited to college and is associated with higher levels of long-term AUD symptoms during early midlife. Read more.


A longitudinal study of risk perceptions and e-cigarette initiation among college students: Interactions with smoking status

Recent data suggest that lower perceived risks of e-cigarettes are associated with e-cigarette use in young adults; however, the temporality of this relationship is not well-understood. The researchers explore how perceptions of harmfulness and addictiveness of e-cigarettes influence e-cigarette initiation, and specifically whether this association varies by cigarette smoking status, in a longitudinal study of tobacco use on college campuses. Read more.


Using deviance regulation theory to target marijuana use intentions among college students

Several large epidemiological studies have shown increasing trends on a number of indices of marijuana use among college age samples. This may be due to changing attitudes about marijuana use linked to legalization efforts. Interventions that can target problematic use on a broad scale are lacking. Recent research has shown that deviance regulation theory (DRT) can be used to design effective Web-based substance use interventions. DRT relies on the interplay between perceived norms and an appropriately framed message about the given behavior. The current study examines the use of DRT to change marijuana use intentions. Participants completed measures of marijuana use and marijuana use norms. They were then assigned to receive a positively framed message about marijuana abstainers or a negatively framed message about marijuana users. Following the manipulation, participants rated intentions to use marijuana over the next three months. Consistent with DRT, there was an interaction between message frame and marijuana use norms. The positive frame attenuated the association between marijuana use norms and use intentions. A negative frame resulted in the lowest levels of use intentions among those with low use norms. Results suggest that DRT may be used to modify use intentions in college students, a population that has shown increasing rates of use. Read more.

Does social context matter? An ecological momentary assessment study of marijuana use among college students

Past research has shown that marijuana use occurs commonly in social situations for young adults, though few studies have examined the association between immediate social context and marijuana use patterns and associated problems. The current study examined the impact of demographics, marijuana use and problem use, alcohol use, craving, and social context on the likelihood of using marijuana with others via ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Cannabis dependence, more time using marijuana in the moment, and using for social facilitation purposes were positively associated with using marijuana in the context of being with others. Daily users had more variability in terms of the social context of their use. This study illustrates the complex relationship between social context and marijuana use. Read more.



Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2016

This report uses the most recent data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to update trends in drug overdose deaths, describe demographic and geographic patterns, and identify shifts in the types of drugs involved. Read more.


Sports involvement, injury history, and non-medical use of prescription opioids among college students: An analysis with a national sample

To more effectively deal with the devastating outcomes associated with non-medical use of prescription opioids (NUPO), research is needed to identify populations at increased risk. The current research builds on a small number of studies that have shown that adolescents involved in competitive sports are more likely to report NUPO. Specifically, we examine the relationship between athlete status, injury history, and NUPO among college students. Looking at factors individually, having an injury, being a varsity athlete, and being male were all significantly associated with NUPO. By combining these factors together we were able to determine that male athletes, athletes with injuries, and male athletes with injuries were at the greatest risk for NUPO, after controlling for relevant covariates. Read more.


College students' perceived benefit-to-risk tradeoffs for nonmedical use of prescription stimulants: Implications for intervention designs

Few studies have examined the benefit-to-risk tradeoffs undergraduate students perceive when engaging in the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NPS). This study examined the variation in college students' perceived risks and benefits for NPS. These findings identify subgroups of college NPS users that could have vastly different trajectories in terms of future drug use and college performance. Given this heterogeneity among students regarding perceived risks and benefits of NPS, interventions should be designed to assess motives and provide personalized feedback. Further research is needed with larger, more diverse samples and to assess the prospective stability of perceived risks and benefits. Read more.


Correlates of cannabis vape-pen use and knowledge among U.S. college students

The proliferation of electronic devices, such as vape-pens, has provided alternative means for cannabis use. Research has found cannabis-vaping (i.e., vape-pen use) is associated with lower perceived risks and higher cannabis use. Knowledge of these products may increase likelihood of subsequent use. As policies for cannabis shift, beliefs that peers and family approve of this substance use increase and there has been an increase in vape-pen use among young adults (18–35 year olds); however, correlates thereof remain unknown. Young adults often engage in cross-substance use with cannabis and alcohol, making alcohol a potential correlate of cannabis vape-pen use and knowledge. Therefore, researchers examined alcohol use and other potential correlates of vape-pen use and knowledge among a sample of university students. Alcohol use was correlated with cannabis vape-pen use and knowledge. Frequency of cannabis use, peer injunctive norms, and positive expectancies were associated with increased likelihood of vape-pen use. Lack of premeditation, a facet of impulsivity, was associated with cannabis vape-pen knowledge. Given the unknown nature and consequences of cannabis vape-pens, the present findings offer valuable information on correlates of this behavior. Further, correlates of knowledge of vape-pens may point to areas for education and clinical intervention to prevent heavy cannabis vape-pen use. Read more.


Association between nonmedical use of prescription drugs and sleep quality in a large college student sample

Poor sleep and nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) are both common among college students. Since lack of sleep adversely influences academic performance, this study examined the association between NMUPD and subjective sleep quality among college students. Any NMUPD, nonmedical use of stimulants specifically, and nonmedical use of painkillers specifically were associated with getting fewer days of Enough Sleep, more days of Early Awakening, Daytime Sleepiness, and Difficulty Falling Asleep. Nonmedical use of sedatives was significantly associated with Daytime Sleepiness, more days of Early Awakening, and Difficulty Falling Asleep. NMUPD is associated with poor sleep among college students. Therefore, behavioral medicine screening and treatment of this vulnerable population should consider sleep health, NMUPD, and the potential that these problems may be comorbid. Read more.


Marijuana use and associated motives in Colorado university students

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among college students, with heavy use leading to negative outcomes. Use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in select U.S. states has been controversial, with concerns surrounding increased prevalence rates and harm. The current exploratory study aimed to assess marijuana use in college students in Colorado, demographic differences in frequency of use, and motives for using. Prevalence rates of marijuana use were high in this sample of college students in a state with legal recreational marijuana use. Particular students (eg, students who use marijuana to cope) may be at higher risk for problem marijuana use. Developing effective, tailored interventions for university students is warranted. Read more.


Empirical Profiles of Alcohol and Marijuana Use, Drugged Driving, and Risk Perceptions

The present study sought to inform models of risk for drugged driving through empirically identifying patterns of marijuana use, alcohol use, and related driving behaviors. Findings suggest that college students’ perceived dangerousness of driving after using marijuana had greater influence on drugged driving behaviors than alcohol-related driving risk perceptions. These results support targeting marijuana-impaired driving risk perceptions in young adult intervention programs. Read more.

The Use of Substances Other Than Nicotine in Electronic Cigarettes Among College  Students

Electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity, especially among youth and young adults. Although e-cigarettes were originally intended to vaporize a liquid mixture containing nicotine, there appears to be an increasing trend in other substance use in e-cigarettes (OSUE). Little is known regarding the health effects of cannabis and cannabis derivatives delivered through e-cigarettes. Concern may also be warranted regarding the potential dangers of this young population using substances more dangerous than cannabis in e-cigarettes. Knowledge is limited regarding the public health impact of vaping cannabis or other illicit substances among college student populations. This study stresses the need for continued research regarding the vaping of cannabis and other illicit substances among college students. Read more.

Nonmedical use of over-the-counter medications is significantly associated with nonmedical use of prescription drugs among university students

This study’s objective was to examine the association between nonmedical use of over-the-counter medications (NMUOTC) and nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD).  The majority of respondents were women, undergraduate, Caucasian, and not affiliated with Greek life. NMUPD and NMUOTC were reported by 21.4 percent and 11.2 percent of students, respectively. Secondary analyses showed a relationship between over-the-counter (OTC) cough medication misuse and NMUPD, OTC stimulant misuse and prescription stimulant misuse, and OTC sleep aid misuse with prescription depressant misuse. Results suggest the importance of both measuring the prevalence of OTC misuse and incorporating its misuse into assessments of polydrug use in the university population. Read more.

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A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Substance Use Counseling on Campus

This article presents an integrated approach for counselors providing substance use counseling to college students with sensitivity to the students' gender, culture, development, and readiness and motivation to change. Incorporating the use of relational–cultural therapy and motivational interviewing, the author organizes these complementary modalities along the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change and discusses practical implications for counselors to reduce harm in the context of the college environment. A case illustration is included. Read more.


Opiate abuse in the United States is on the rise among the college student population. This public health crisis requires immediate action from professionals and stakeholders who are committed to addressing the needs of prospective, current, and recovering opiate users using comprehensive prevention methods. Such approaches have been used to deliver primary, secondary, and tertiary intervention to alcohol and other drug users but are underutilized in the case of opiate abuse among college students in the United States. There is a definite need for involving college campus faculty, staff, students, and others in efforts to prevent opiate abuse at all levels. Our recommendations include specific strategies to address this imminent issue using an innovative application of the traditional Levels of Prevention Model. Read more.



Perceived academic benefit is associated with nonmedical prescription stimulant use among college students

College students are at higher than average risk for nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NPS). A commonly identified motive among students who engage in NPS is to improve grades. Several research studies have observed that NPS most likely does not confer an academic advantage, and is associated with excessive drinking and other drug use. This study documents the proportion of the general college student population who believe that NPS will lead to improvements in academic performance. Read more.


Academic Doping: Institutional Policies Regarding Nonmedical use of Prescription Stimulants in U.S. Higher Education

Academic integrity policies at 200 institutions of higher education (IHEs) were examined for the presence of academic prohibitions against the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NMUPS) or any other cognitive enhancing drug (CED). Researchers used online search tools to locate policy handbooks in a stratified random sample of IHEs drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System database, searching for NMUPS/CED use as violations of either academic integrity or alcohol and other drug (AOD) policies. Of 191 academic integrity policies found online, NMUPS/CED prohibitions were present in only one. However, NMUPS was addressed in all but two of the 200 IHE AOD policies, often with language referencing IHE adherence to federal or state law. NMUPS/CED prohibitions are predominantly absent in IHE academic integrity policies, raising questions about whether colleges and universities are concerned about the use of enhancement drugs as a form of cheating. Implications for fairness, health promotion, and future research are discussed. Read more.

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Compliance at Michigan Community Colleges

This study analyzed public reports from Michigan community colleges to evaluate compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and to examine their alcohol and drug programs. The study’s author provides a rationale for why colleges should invest in improving compliance and the quality of alcohol and drug programs, and offers seven recommendations to community college administrators on how to do so. Read more.

University Student Perceptions About the Motives For and Consequences of Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs

The current study’s purpose was to increase qualitative understanding of student motives for and consequences associated with nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Qualitative findings extend previous research by suggesting differences in students' perceived motives for using and consequences associated with the different classes of prescription drugs. These findings provide implications for development of preventive interventions. Read more.

Freshman Year Alcohol and Marijuana Use Prospectively Predict Time to College Graduation and Subsequent Adult Roles and Independence

This study examined how freshman year substance use prospectively predicted time to college graduation, and whether delayed graduation predicted postponed adoption of adult roles and future substance use. Results indicated that frequent binge drinking and marijuana use during freshman year predicted delayed college graduation. Those who took longer to graduate were more likely to have lower incomes and were less likely to obtain a graduate degree. Taking 5-6 years to graduate was associated with greater likelihood of alcohol-related problems. Read more.

Mobile Health Interventions Helped Young Adults Reduce Alcohol Use

Young adults who received educational information via mobile technologies successfully reduced heavy drinking days, decreased risky single-occasion drinking and increased the percentage of days avoiding alcohol, according to an AHRQ-funded literature review. The use of mobile phones and other wireless technologies in health care – known as mHealth – is a strategy for engaging young adults who may not be reached by in-person interventions. The review examined 12 research articles, most of which focused on adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Researchers analyzed the use of mHealth apps that included motivational and educational materials, support tools and instruments to track alcohol use. Eleven studies indicated mHealth interventions are most useful when apps maintain regular contact, do not require the participant to initiate contact, vary messages and provide feedback. The study was published in the May issue of Journal of Health Communication. Read more.

Longitudinal influence of alcohol and marijuana use on academic performance in college students

Alcohol and marijuana are the two most abused substances in U.S. colleges. However, research on the combined influence (cross sectional or longitudinal) of these substances on academic performance is currently scant. This study validates and extends the current literature by providing important implications of concurrent alcohol and marijuana use on academic achievement in college. Read more.

Alcohol-Related Blackouts, Negative Alcohol-Related Consequences, and Motivations for Drinking Reported by Newly Matriculating Transgender College Students

Many transgender college students struggle with identity formation and other emotional, social, and developmental challenges associated with emerging adulthood. A potential maladaptive coping strategy employed by such students is heavy drinking. Prior literature has suggested greater consumption and negative alcohol-related consequences (ARCs) in transgender students compared with their cisgender peers, but little is known about their differing experiences with alcohol-related blackouts (ARBs). This study examined the level of alcohol consumption, frequency of ARBs and other ARCs, and motivations for drinking reported by the largest sample of transgender college students to date. Read more.

The Influence of College Attendance on Risk for Marijuana Initiation in the United States: 1977 to 2015

This study examines a potential increase in marijuana initiation among U.S. college students as compared with their age peers not in college before and after 2013, a watershed year for increasing tolerance of marijuana use in the United States. Read more.

Marijuana and College Students: A Critical Review of the Literature

The purpose of this study was to evaluate existing literature on the associated effects of marijuana use on U.S. college students’ academic success, including conduct/legal issues, negative outcomes, normative perceptions, and physical/mental health. Read more.


Magnitude and Trends in Heavy Episodic Drinking, Alcohol-Impaired Driving, and Alcohol-Related Mortality and Overdose Hospitalizations Among Emerging Adults of College Ages 18–24 in the United States, 1998–2014

This article estimates percentages of U.S. emerging adults ages 18-24 engaging in past-month heavy episodic drinking and past-year alcohol-impaired driving, and numbers experiencing alcohol-related unintentional injury deaths and overdose hospitalizations between 1998 and 2014. Read more.


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