Afraid Your College Student May Be Abusing Substances?

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The social education that your kids get in college can be just as important as the scholastic one that institutions of higher learning offer. Your son or daughter may soon discover that acing an organic chemistry final is much more difficult after a night of partying. If this lesson is learned early on, it may not be a bad thing for a young college student to develop an active social life while balancing schoolwork.  That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t be concerned about some of the things they might be getting offered at campus parties.

Drug Use on College Campuses

You hear the term “substance abuse,” and immediately your mind may begin to become flooded with images of people huddled in the corners of crack houses with needles in their arms and glazed looks in their eyes. Education and awareness over the use of cocaine and heroin is actually high on college campuses, which may make you feel much better about your kid’s chances of avoiding them. However, the Treatment Episode Data Set shows that prescription drug abuse is a much more common problem observed on college campuses.

Recognizing Potential Signs of Drug Use

Prescription drugs are likely much more readily available to your college student. And while they may not be perceived to be as harmful as other illicit substances, experts point to them being a “gateway drug,” meaning that addiction to medications can often lead to the abuse of other substances. Yet how are you to know if your college student might be abusing or even addicted to prescription medications? Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Behavioral changes: Kids are supposed to mature when they go college, so some changes in behavior should be expected. However, it’s when those changes start to be for the worse (e.g., increased anger, irritability) that you should be concerned.
  • Increased spending: Is your college student constantly asking for money, or has he or she taken a job even though you are supporting them? If the need for money can’t be traced to reasonable cause (such as a new car), then it may be being used to fund a drug habit.
  • A decline in academic performance: Have your child’s grades been on the decline? It could be due to his or her course curriculum becoming more difficult, or their attentions being focused on things outside the classroom.

How to Know for Sure

So what are you to do in this situation? Your son or daughter’s college instructors may be a good place to start. Ask them what they believe his or her downturn in performance may be due to. You may also want to consider speaking with university personnel to understand how common an issue substance abuse may be on their campus. Ultimately, however, your best course of action may be to sit down with your child and have a frank conversation. Let him or her know your concerns come from a caring perspective, and that whatever answers they give will be met with support and encouragement, not disappointment.

Yes, drug addiction can easily begin on college campuses. No, simply because your son or daughter has fallen victim to it does not mean that it will forever impede his or her personal or professional success.

With your support, coupled with the substance abuse treatment options we offer at High Focus Centers, he or she can cast off the burden of addiction and be better prepared to embark on the next chapter of their life. To discuss which of our programs might offer you and your college student the most benefits, call us today at 877-701-0807.