Every now and again we at Caveman College like to delve into controversial topics that pertain to things involving the college lifestyle. So let’s all be honest. Drugs and alcohol run rampant on college campuses globally. So let’s talk about them. The following is a guest post by Lily Samuels.
College kids are likely to, at some point, come into contact with drugs at or outside their college campus. People of this age are keen to experimentation and are known to try new things. Peer-pressure can also be a powerful influence in their decisions. As a result it is vital that college kids know about drugs so that they don’t take anything or form a habit which they will come to regret. Taking and dealing drugs carries heavy legal penalties, and ost importantly, drugs have a massive negative effect on our bodies and our lives as well as the most important organ for a college student, the brain. As a result, the more students whom understand what drugs mean for their health and life, the better.
Prescription Stimulants (ADHD Medicine)
In the last few years, the number of students in America who take prescription drugs to improve their concentration has increased dramatically. These drugs are often the ones meant for people with conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a mental condition which can make academic life more difficult for school children by making concentration for long periods difficult. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are often prescribed to people with ADHD to help them to concentrate.
Between 2010 and 2011, 24% of US college students took drugs like these without a prescription. Most students who took this sort of drug explained that the medicine helped them to concentrate on difficult assignments such as essays. Stimulants like these are potent chemicals and to take them without prescription and medical advice is very risky. In 2010, 15,600 ER cases were caused by improper use of these drugs; 8,148 of patients were between the ages of 18 and 25. In addition, the patience and graft which are needed to complete difficult assignments are important life skills, students who don’t learn how to complete these tasks through their own effort risk not do as well in their careers.
The most infamous hard drug is Heroin, which is arguably the most addictive. Heroin, when taken, stops physical and emotional pain and is quickly addictive, with users often finding that they must take the drug on a daily basis in order to feel normal again. Heroin is very expensive, while frequent injection involves the risk of HIV and other blood-transmitted infections. Of course, the effects of addiction would have a drastic effect on a student’s career, making it almost impossible for them to do well in their studies and to have fun with their friends. Heroin also has some of the worst physical and mental withdrawal symptoms of all drugs. Mentally, users feel depressed and irritable if they stop using; the physical effects of heroin withdrawal are numerous including bowel problems, sweating and flu-like pain. Many users choose to deal with these symptoms by taking the anti-addiction drug methadone, which is available at methadone clinics. Methadone, which is safer than heroin and legal, allows addicts to alleviate these symptoms to in order tackle their addiction and get clean.
In 2008, 1.9 million Americans admitted to being current users of cocaine. It is possible for collage students to gain access to this drug, which is often used in a party setting. Cocaine causes feelings of confidence and happiness, in some circumstances these effects can turn into feelings of edginess and paranoia. The effects of cocaine are quite short lived and users often take many doses in a session. Very soon after the user stops taking the drug they will feel strong cravings for more. Cocaine is not associated with physical addictions like heroin, but the cravings which are associated with quitting after long term use can be very unpleasant. Cocaine addiction can interfere with student’s performance at school, making it harder to get good grades. The cost of cocaine can also lead to financial problems, while the money could be more wisely spent on other things.
Marijuana is probably the most illicit drug which a college kid is most likely to encounter. Its effects are not as drastic or potent as hard drugs like heroin. Marijuana produces a sense of relaxation and ease when used, and can have hallucinatory effects. While the short term results and addictive properties of marijuana are not drastic, the long term psychological problems can be serious. College requires a great deal of commitment and marijuana is known to reduce motivation, making it more likely that a student will miss assignments and fall behind. The drug has also been associated with mental problems in users, which can make it much harder for students to socially interact with their friends, and potentially causing other significant problems in their life and career. Something which people who use or experiment with marijuana often forget is that it is actually more harmful for the lungs than smoking tobacco when smoked without a filter, which is a common practice for many.
Drug use can be common among college-age kids, and can have massive effects on the life of the user. With so many sources of pressure: the media, fellow students, people outside school and family, and teachers, finding out what to do can be a difficult process for kids. A sure way for college students to make the right decisions is for them to know their facts and to think about the long term effects of their actions, taking time to decide what to do and refusing to be forced into anything you truly know is wrong or not good for your short or long-term health.