Both Drug and Alcohol Use Can Have a Devastating Effect on Adolescent Health and School Performance

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A profound rap lyricist who goes by Kendrick Lamar once said in a song, “I don’t smoke crack, motherfucker, I sell it!”. In today’s society, teens and young adults are indulging themselves in the world of drugs more than ever before. The lingering question behind the use is questioning whether or not drugs and alcohol impede on a students academic performance. According to an article by AddictionCenter, “Those who are enrolled in a full time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than those who do not attend college”. The short answer is that the use of both drugs and alcohol can be devastating on a teens health and performance in school. Alcohol misuse is well known on college campuses, however facts about drug misuse are becoming more relevant in today’s world (Palmer).

Academic impediment, prevalent misuse, as well as short and long term effects of both drugs and alcohol are causing red flags to pop up around the country. Leading news headlines and becoming a serious issue around college campuses in America today are alcohol related death. Written in an article by SeattlePi, “On average, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 to 24 die each year due to alcohol-related injuries” (Miller). 48 hours after the consumption of alcohol, lingering cognitive effects are still eminent.

Many students who consume alcohol are underage. As well, the consumption of alcohol is not done responsibly. Students in college most of the time binge drink; drinking to get drunk. ‘Intoxication is produced by temporary impairment of brain receptors key in creating long-term memories in the hippocampus’, said Jeff Georgi, a coordinator at the school’s Alcohol and Addictions Program. There are numerous of effects from alcohol that can disrupt one’s academic progress.When studying hours for a class then going out to drink, a disruption witn your ability to consume the material you had studied prior takes place. Dr Schwartz, a university coordinator at St. Lawrence had stated, “Sleeping off a buzz, a common practice, can interfere with the sleep cycle, resulting in an increase in anxiety, jumpiness, and irritability the next day, and fatigue the day after that”. The accessibility to alcohol is very attainable.

Many students can pay others of age to get them alcohol, use fake IDs to acquire it, as well as attending parties where most of the time you pay to get in and can consume as much alcohol as you please after getting in. Being exposed to alcohol in a college environment induces students to consume alcohol at a very high rate. Ultimately, when alcohol is consumed at an abusive level on college campuses across the country, students wellbeing are at a very high risk. Everyone loves taking a hit here and there of the devils lettuce, there is no denying that. But does an individual know smoking marijuana can internally as well externally affect them? Many internal effects take place on the brain when THC in instilled in ones blood stream.

A big part of impaction of marijuana is motivation and lack thereof. “This could be due to the effect of THC in the body blocking the passage of nutrients through cells, the neuronal suppression in the hippocampus, or the decrease in energy accompanying the fatigue that follows night time use” (Schwartz). In association with grades and academic achievement come drug abuse. Pot smoking teens in college usually are coincided with partying. The more time spent partying, the less academic achievement a student can have. Students using marijuana are known to have difficulty concentrating, a diminished long-term memory, as well as a lack of good judgement when it comes to making decisions. “Studies have shown marijuana is the most frequently used drug amongst college students” ( Marcus).

A study done from 2006-2008 shows that 25-33% of college students had used marijuana in the past year. Smoking marijuana in the eyes of a teen the most safest and best way to endure drugs. No death have ever been recorded from smoking weed.One drug that has seen a drastic rise over the years on college campuses is Adderall. People are often prescribed this drug if they have ADHD and it helps them to calm down and go about their day. However, “America diagnoses more kids with ADHD than anywhere in the world at 11%”. Our country has seen a rise of children on stimulants, with numbers increasing by nearly 3 million from 1990 to 2011. In this documentary, Take Your Pills, one college Junior said “ I do not know anyone that is prescribed it that does not sell a little on the side”.

Due to the prescription that is given to them, they are now partaking in an illegal exchange of drugs which is highly illegal. If a student were to be caught buying and/or selling illegal drugs on a school campus, it would negatively affect them in multiple ways. Liz Jorgensen, a Psychotherapist, made the point that “Just like opiate painkillers are heroin in a pill, ADHD medicine is a small dose of meth in a pill” and this is one of the reasons these students are after this drug. Although many students have found this drug to help them with their workload, exams, and even social well-being. (Klayman)Many of the students who are not prescribed Adderall, and that are taking it, are doing so to achieve better grades. This is not a new trend, “The first article about college abuse of amphetamine to study was published in Time Magazine in 1937”.

Students will go to a quiet place like a library, take their wonder pill, and then sit and study for a longer time then they would be able to without the drug. One college student from Lehigh University spoke about how it is hard, minus all the ethical implications, not to take it because it is so easy and available to access on campus. Another valid point this student brought across was that if they were to not take the pill and another student in their class were to take the pill, that person may be ahead of the curve due to the time they spent studying while on the drug. Adderall may be helpful in the classroom but it is the abuse of the drug that is detrimental to the students. (Klayman)

What happens to your body when your on this drug can hurt you if the drug is abused. Adderall can make you restless and will not allow you to sleep, which will automatically impact your physical and mental health. Another effect of Adderall is that the appetite of the drug user will change and they may not be hungry for a long period of time. Once again immediately impacting the abusers physical and mental health. The worst thing college students do is pair this stimulant with alcohol. It is easy to overdose on alcohol if you are taking a stimulant because you will be able to drink a lot more which directly correlates to a negative health implications.

Dr. Carl Hart made clear that “the only difference between Amphetamine and Meth is one additional methyl group on the methamphetamine compound”. Adderall is a prescription drug for a reason and should only be taken by those who need it. It is not something that should be abused due to the negative health implications that come along with it. (Klayman) One of the most dangerous and addictive drugs found on a college campus is Cocaine. Students chose to do Cocaine due to the euphoric feeling and feeling of friendliness towards others. Also due to a combination of stress, more freedom in college life, easier access to drugs, and due to college students brains not being fully matured. About 1.5 million people over the age of 12 use cocaine, and 20% of them have use crack cocaine which is even more dangerous and addictive. Coke sends more than half a million people to the Emergency Room every year, the highest of any drug.

Cocaine also impacts your brain and heart like no other drug, making it that much more dangerous. There has been a significant spike in the use of this drug by full time college students between 2013 and 2014. The number had jumped from 2.7% to 4.4% of students that have used this drug. This drug is not used to improve academic performance like Adderall, making it purely recreational and highly illegal. This is one of the few drugs that a person, especially a college student, should always steer clear from. (Seikel) In closing, the effects of drugs and alcohol on college students are harmful and detrimental to their health and well being. The facts are there. Some use these drugs to escape reality, others to cope with internal issues. But experimenting with these harmful substances without knowing any knowledge about them is not safe.

Both drugs and alcohol can ruin everything in one persons life, eliminating everything they have worked hard for up to that point. But why use? To fit in? In an attempt to stop using, there are numerous of alternatives to keep a person healthy and enjoy life just as much as if they were using these substances. It is our duty as citizens and students to keep not only the streets, but the youth clean from drugs. Therefore, if you know or see someone being negatively impacted by drug or alcohol use, don’t be a bystander. Be the change you wish to see.


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Both Drug and Alcohol Use Can Have a Devastating Effect on Adolescent Health and School Performance. (2022, Dec 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/both-drug-and-alcohol-use-can-have-a-devastating-effect-on-adolescent-health-and-school-performance/

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