A study in insobriety
Alcohol and drugs have more of a presence on U.S. college campuses than ever, according to a new study released by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Although the percentage of students who binge drink or use controlled substances has remained about the same over the past decade, the amount or frequency has increased wildly. For example, between 1993 and 2005, the number of college students who drank 10 or more times a month increased 25 percent. Those abusing prescription drugs also skyrocketed: The number who abused stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall increased 93 percent; and students who took tranquilizers like Xanax or Valium rose 450 percent.
Here are some more numbers the study brings to light:
83%: Portion of campus arrests that were alcohol-related in 2005 (up 21 percent from 2001).
1.8 million: The number of full-time college students who meet the criteria for substance abuse and dependence (that’s 23 percent!).
49%: How many full-time college students binge drink and/or abuse some sort of drug.
38%: How many college administrators say the biggest problem is the public’s perception that substance abuse while attending college is normal behavior.
12%: How many students smoke cigarettes (down from 15 percent in 1993).
64%: How many fraternity and sorority members binge drink (versus 37 percent of non-Greeks). Greek members were also found to be more likely to drink and drive (21 percent versus 16 percent).
“College presidents, deans and trustees have facilitated a college culture of alcohol and drug abuse that is linked to poor student academic performance, depression, anxiety, suicide, property damage, vandalism, fights and a host of medical problems,” said Joseph A. Califano Jr., CASA’s chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Their acceptance of a status quo of rampant alcohol and other drug abuse puts the best and the brightest—and the nation’s future—in harm’s way.”