Preventing Drug Use Among High School and College Students

students and drug use
students and drug use

Spring Break is approaching and yes, so are the beach days and party nights. There are pressing issues that parents and students need to be aware of, as this is a popular time for college and even high school students to experiment with different types of drugs. Knowing the causes and signs can help keep your children and friends safe. 

Visit the National Institute of Drug Abuse for a complete breakdown of the trends of drug use among students.  

LSF Health Systems works with several partner organizations that can provide help students struggling with drug abuse.

Anyone with concerns can call  the LSF Health System 24/7 crisis line  at 1-877-229-9098 or visit us online at www.lsfnet.org. 

Recent Drug Trends Among Students 

A 2018 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows a significantly decrease in daily alcohol and tobacco use among teens. However, reports from the CDC show an alarming increase in heroin and opioid use among that age group. The most frightening aspect about this research is how harmful and potentially deadly some of the new synthetic opioids can be.  

The Role of Student Stress 

There is an overwhelming connection because stress and drug abuse among students. Staff at Lutheran Services Florida hear repeatedly that students turn to illicit drugs to combat stresses they feel from various sources. A few of these stressors are class expectations, overbearing parents, and the need to feel included in social situations.  

In 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reported that 1 in 17 full-time college students aged 18-22 met the criteria for a substance use disorder. Also, it reported that 37% of students stated they were so depressed that it was difficult to function. In addition, 21% reported feeling overwhelming anxiety.  

It is very important to know that self-medication is NOT the answer. Many times, the initial wears off, illicit drugs make someone more sensitive to stress or mental health issues. Also, there are many other problems associated with illicit drug use.  

Signs of Drug Use 

Whether you are a parent or a friend, you should be concerned if you notice a young person is experiencing rapid changes in their behavior, increased aggression, depression, lethargy, and sudden changes in their social life. For heroin abuse, which is rising in rates currently, parents might notice students having a foggy mental state or alternating rapidly between periods of being awake and asleep. 

The Best Way to Help Drug Abuse 

The first step in preventing drug abuse among students is being aware of the symptoms and challenges your student is dealing with. It is easier being said than done, but one of the most powerful ways any parent can help is by having open communication with their children. If you suspect your student of using illicit drugs, it is important to understand what type of drug they are abusing.  

LSF Health Systems works with several partner organizations that can provide help for parents in this situation. Anyone with concerns can call our 24/7 crisis line at any time at 1-877-229-9098 or visit us online at lsfnet.org. 

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