Illicit Drugs among College Students

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Illicit drug and substance use among college students has always been an issue for colleges. From drinking alcohol to the use of marijuana, these drugs are causing behavioral and learning problems for students. There are many reasons for a college student to use illicit drugs. However, the two main common reasons are due to behavioral and psychological problems. College students want to be able to adapt to their surroundings and have fun, but they also want to be able to maintain a good GPA as well. In order to achieve these goals to lean towards drinking and illicit drugs, however, this causes more damage rather than actually helping them. There are four main illicit drugs being used by college students which are; Alcohol, Marijuana, and Prescription Drugs such as Amphetamines and Ecstasy. This paper will discuss the areas, on for college students using drugs as well as the effect they have on them as well.

On a college campus, there are many illicit drugs being used and more than the normal amount of alcohol being consumed. There are many dangers that come with these students abusing these drugs such as overdosing from combining drugs or because of the action the commit to after taking these drugs. Numerous studies have been conducted showing the increase of college students using illicit drugs and substances. Many of those who partake in illicit drug use ignore the many short-term and long-term problems. Many of these dangers also depend on the amount being taken and whether or not it is with alcohol or not. These health risks can range from numbing the body and slowing the body down, hallucinogenic effects, such as hearing and seeing things that are not there increased body temperature, and the worst is overdosing. With all the dangers of taking these drugs and drinking, it leaves people to wonder why they do it. In a survey of 2,000 students conducted by CASA, they found that college students did it because they wanted to relax, have fun, relieve stress and to forget about their problems in general.

The first main substance abused by college students is alcohol. According to the Washington Post in 2012, many college students believed that drinking at college became a key role in their education. Approximately 80% of students who were apart of this survey drunk alcohol and about half the 80% stated that they were binge drinkers. This is extremely dangerous due to the alcohol having an effect on the central nervous system of the body. The other risks associated with drinking are that people can die from drinking such as being involved in car accidents as well as having severe injuries because they are not in full control of their body. Drinking alcohol also plays a significant role in their studies as well. The Washington Post also stated that those who drink a lot of alcohol explained how they missed a lot of class or did not turn in their work because of their drinking. They also stated that test and quiz grades were extremely low. College students who binge drink can develop alcohol poisoning which is when a large amount of alcohol is assumed in a short time period. Alcohol poisoning can become deadly if not brought to the hospital in time.

Alcohol plays a large effect on the brain that most people do not realize. People believe that alcohol is a stimulant when in reality it is a depressant. This leads to students to have problems with thinking and their judgment skills. Studies show that a person’s brain is not fully developed until their mid-twenties. However, with them drinking before their brain is fully developed it can lead to long-term problems eventually. Scientists found that there was damage to the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that plays a part in our memory and spatial navigation. The spatial navigation is responsible for being aware of their environment and their orientation.

The second most heavily used drug by college students is marijuana. There have been many reports and surveys stating that the use of marijuana is increasing every year. Many students turn to marijuana due to it being easy to obtain. According to the University of Michigan, “use is increasing among college students and their peers who aren’t in college is the ongoing decline in perceptions of risk of harm from regular marijuana use”. In other words, it is stating that since students do not notice anything bad happening when they smoke, they continue to use because they assume nothing will happen to them. Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug meaning that under federal rules, there is a large potential for drug abuse, not really accepted for medical use and there is a lack of safety. The dangers with college students who are mostly young people are that they are not allowing their brain to fully develop. According to the DEA, marijuana can have an effect on your motor coordination, judgment as well as your short-term memory. A few possible long-term effects include a chronic cough and or bronchitis. Academically, marijuana can play a tremendous effect on your grades. From earning bad grades on exams to completely dropping out of school because they are losing the motivation to focus on school. It becomes a downward spiral as some individuals can develop a dependency on using marijuana.

Many people believe that there is not an effect of marijuana on them because they haven’t really experienced any side effects except being high. However, using marijuana a lot can lead to short-term memory loss and shorten their learning capacity. As mentioned previously with alcohol, marijuana can also have an effect on the brain. Marijuana can cause problems with memory, learning, such as paying attention, and the decisions they make. Another part of the brain that weakens when smoking marijuana is the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for the psychoactive effects of drugs. When smoking marijuana, a lot, it can lower the productivity of cellular activity in the endocannabinoid system.

The next drug that is abused by a college student is amphetamines. What exactly are amphetamines? They are a stimulant that can cause an increase of energy and feeling of euphoria when taken. According to the DEA they are classified as a schedule 2 drug because there is some medical use of the drug. The medical use for these drugs is typically for those who suffer from attention deficit disorder or ADD, which helps to control their brain functions and the release of dopamine. Within amphetamines, college students abuse Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. Many college students use these drugs to help them focus more in school and obtain better grades. However, they were to abuse the drugs when they take more than is needed or taking other people’s subscription medicine. When amphetamines are abused there is an increase in norepinephrine as well as dopamine which causes the feeling of euphoria. College students can easily gain access to amphetamines due to other peers or even family members who take these drugs.

The last drug on this list is Ecstasy or also known as the party club drug. The main reason college students use MDMA is to make their party experience better. MDMA drugs are the most dangerous drugs out of the ones used by college students. They can cause many health problems such as hallucinations, heart failure, and increased body temperatures. However, what makes MDMA drugs dangerous to the human body is that they are becoming laced with many different chemicals. According to a study conducted by Harvard University, there was an increase in the use of MDMA in different ethnicities. The study also went on to explain that those who used MDMA were also using marijuana and were binge drinkers as well. According to many research studies, there is little evidence in determining whether MDMA can affect a person’s grades.

There can be many long-term effects of using MDMA on the brain and the body. By using MDMA, it causes a change in dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which are in the brain. Dopamine affects a person’s energy level as well causes the euphoric feeling that most users have. Serotonin affects the persons mood and appetite. Norepinephrine affects the persons heart rate, which can be extremely dangerous. There can be damage to the brain, effecting their emotion and how they learn, as well as causing damage to their nerve endings. Using this drug can also lead to kidney failure, memory loss, and even death.

Many college students turn to illicit drugs because they believe that they will help them with their problems. Their problems can range from stress, family problems, peer pressure, and even because they are curious. With stress, they turn to these drugs to help them deal with everything that is going around them. They may also have family problems at home that are causing them to stress out. With them stressing out it causes the loss of motivation and them not wanting to focus on their schoolwork. With peer pressure, they may see their friends using these drugs or drinking and they want to do it because they believe it is something they have to do. The last reason is curiosity. With curiosity, students use college as a way to experience things they have never done before that they may have never been able to do at home with their parents.

There can be serious effects and consequences on college students who use these illicit drugs. These illicit drugs are slowly causing possibly irreversible damage to their brain which has not fully developed to causing their organs to shut down. After reviewing a lot of this research, students who use these drugs typically mix them with other drugs or alcohol, which can turn into a dangerous combination. Even though they are using these drugs to help them enjoy college and relax, there are many other ways to have fun. However, it makes it hard to completely stop college students from using drugs because they are easy to obtain. It depends on college students themselves to fully understand the effects of the drugs on themselves.

Cite this paper

Illicit Drugs among College Students. (2021, Jul 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/illicit-drugs-among-college-students/

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