Almost Half of College Student Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involve Alcohol

Almost half of all admissions for substance abuse treatment that involve college students are primarily related to alcohol, according to a new government report.

The report, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found the rate of alcohol-related treatment admissions is much higher among college students than for non-college students who are the same age—46.6 percent versus 30.6 percent.

College students are less likely than their non-student peers to abuse drugs such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, Reuters reports. For instance, 16.1 percent of non-students ages 18 to 24 seeking treatment were abusing heroin, compared with 7.2 percent of the college students. Cocaine admission rates were more than twice as high among non-students (4.2 percent versus 1.9 percent), and methamphetamine admissions were more than four times as high (4.4 percent versus 1 percent).

Marijuana accounted for about 30 percent of both student and non-student admissions.

SAMHSA analyzed data from 2009, when about 374,000 people ages 18 to 24 were treated for substance abuse or dependence in the United States. Most of them—362,000—were not enrolled in college or post-secondary school.

“This report confirms the pervasive and potentially devastating role that alcohol plays on far too many college campuses,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “Other SAMHSA studies have shown that one in four full-time college students have experienced past year alcohol abuse or dependence. SAMHSA is working with the academic community and its partners in behavioral health to help students prevent exposure to the dangers of alcohol misuse and encourage those who have a problem to seek treatment.”

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    Addiction Myth

    August 6, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    Most of the students admitted for alcohol or drug abuse will be subjected to a 12 step program, which teaches that they are powerless under the drug, and that the only solution is abstinence. However, both of these prescriptions are false, and will only lead to more trouble down the road. Students should instead be taught that excessive drug use is a sign of emotional problems like anger and loneliness, and that they can control their drug use only by recognizing these underlying problems.

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    February 8, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I’m disappointed that again a study on “substance abuse” leaves out $igarettes (6 million fatalities worldwide compared to alcohol, 2.5 million– WHO, May 30, 2011). But there may be a connection: student efforts to “fit in”, “be sociable” etc. by drinking set in motion a process which includes (a) smoking or inhaling side-stream smoke at a drinking party; (b) “a cigarette or two” to postmedicate a headache or hangover; (c) “a cigarette or two” to stay up all night a few days later, last-minute cramming for the big test, etc.

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