“Though “alcoholic,” “tweaker” and “coke head” aren’t often part of the published curriculum, many students leave college to excel in those very things. There is an underlying cultural acceptance on college campus of drug and alcohol for recreational use. But those wild keg parties are just part of the college experience, right?
There is a fine line between the occasional keg party and the regular drinking and drug use habits that many students adopt over their four years in college. Away from home for the first time ever, there is little reasonable, trustworthy information or dialogue that educates young people about the warning signs of the very real problem of addiction.
From the standpoint of a drug and alcohol recovery center, this issue is one of significant magnitude. We would happily put ourselves out of business if were a way to stop every person from going down that dark path of drug and alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, this reality seems a long way off, but these numbers can be drastically reduced with preventative education in cultures were the seeds of addiction are often just beginning to take root.
Campuses have an “unpublished” reputation about their value as a party school. Does yours? This might be something to laugh about among friends, but is it hurting your school’s enrollment? Is your university’s party reputation beginning to dictate the type of students that apply for your school and turn away others?
It is our responsibility as community leaders, school counselors, and influential organizations to prevent addiction among the high risk groups we serve.
Today, as nuclear families continue to dissolve and our lifestyles become more isolated, there are fewer people for us all to turn to when we need help overcoming life obstacles and dealing with the mounting pressure to succeed in a highly competitive world. At the same time, alcohol and drugs are widely accessible and offer instant relief from these pressures.
As a person or organization in existence to help people within the community, it is our responsibility to share information with those we work with about healthy and productive ways to overcome life’s inconsistencies, to learn from failures, and to roll with the inevitable curve balls that life will throw.
A dominant cultural philosophy in the United States is that individuals should overcome troubles without outside assistance. This is true to some extent, but people — especially young adults — do need positive influences in their lives and access to information and resources that can help them to overcome the challenges brought on by every day life.
Why is drug and alcohol addiction so difficult to prevent on college campuses?
Indulgence in drugs and alcohol is viewed as a fairly harmless recreational activity on college campuses. Information and statistics to the contrary seem over-exaggerated to students who either use drugs and alcohol on a daily basis with no negative side effects or know people personally who do. But addiction is something that creeps up over time. No one who walks into a drug and alcohol recovery center after losing control of his or her life ever intended to become an addict.
Because those headed down the path of addiction to drugs and alcohol are oblivious to the problem or choose not to address it, they are not often open to suggestions about prevention. This is the reason why education about prevention must become part of the social fabric on college campuses and why it is essential that this shift be initiated by those with some authority over the action of students.
Creating an actionable, step-by-step plan to address addiction prevention on campus
There are a variety of resources available that can help your college or university devise an actionable implementation plan to educate students on the facts about drug and alcohol addiction. We have researched the Internet from our perspective as a drug and alcohol recovery center and have hand selected some resources are likely to be well-received by college students:
Program Planning Resources
- Higher Education Center - An organization whose purpose is to help college and community leaders develop, implement, and evaluate programs and policies to reduce student problems related to alcohol and other drug use and interpersonal violence.
- The Alcohol Education Project - Alcohol Education Project of Hobart and William Smith Colleges is a broad collection of education and research initiatives designed to better inform students and college personnel about alcohol and other drugs and related social norms and address problems of abuse.
- College Drinking: Changing the Culture - CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov is your one-stop resource for comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students.
- F.A.C.E. - An organization with a mission to provide research-based resources for individuals and organizations to take action on alcohol issues.
Downloadable Information Resources
- The UGLY Side of Crystal Meth and The UGLY Side of Alcohol [ right-click on title to download ]- These 1-page PDFs detail the gruesome and undesirable effects of different types of substances on the body, the mind, and lifestyle. These are ideal flyers or handouts for college students and high school students who think of drugs and alcohol simply as fun recreational activities.
- B.R.A.D Literature- Founded by the family and friends of Bradley McCue, a Michigan State University Junior who died of alcohol poisoning after celebrating his 21st birthday, B.R.A.D (Be Responsible About Drinking) offers a variety of downloadable literature geared toward the college crowd.
About Benchmark Recovery Center
Benchmark Recovery Center offers a minimum of 90 day program for both males and females, designed around the principles of the traditional 12 steps to recovery. The team is passionate about its mission to help adult addicts free themselves from alcohol and drug addiction and recreate and reclaim their lives.
BRC’s unique approach to drug and alcohol addiction has been featured on the Dr. Phil Show. The 12 Step Program is at foundation of the teachings at Benchmark Recovery Center. Residents don’t only learn about the 12 steps; they practice these disciplines along with important life skills, fitness, and proper nutrition throughout the entire drug and alcohol recovery program.