Substance Abuse on Campus: Challenges First-Year College Students Face

(Campus Safety) As many college students head home for winter break, some are going home for the first time since they moved away for college. While first-year college students enjoy exciting opportunities to make new friends, boost their knowledge, and gain independence, they also face challenges that increase their risk of alcohol and drug abuse.

Over time, these challenges can lead to addiction, a disease that makes you feel unable to control your substance use, and the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.

While it is recommended that loved ones keep an eye out for potential signs of substance abuse as students return home, it is also helpful to understand the challenges students often face in their first year of college that may lead to abuse.

Peer Pressure

It’s not always easy to enter a new social environment. To fit in, many students start abusing alcohol or other drugs. For example, at a party, a student may try to impress their peers by binge drinking