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Cocaine still a popular drug choice among college students

The reason behind deciding to use stimulants – such as cocaine -- in college varies from student to student.  Some view uppers as a way to stay awake and cram for studying, while for others the boost of energy makes them feel invincible and more outgoing, a perceived benefit at parties. Yet for others, using is just a continuation of behavior that started before college.

Whatever the underlying reason is – cocaine use is prevalent among college students. 

The University of Maryland, along with the Treatment Research Institute looked at the number of college students who are both offered cocaine and who use cocaine. Of the 1,253 students surveyed, 36 percent were asked to use and 13 percent did use cocaine.  The percentage of those who did use also rose from freshman to senior year.

Why are students using cocaine?

For the parents of college students, this percentage may come as a surprise. There is a common misconception that cocaine was the drug of the ‘80s and that it is just not popular anymore. But as the study points to – with more than 25 percent of students being offered the drug – the truth is that many college students still use cocaine.

There are a number of reasons why a student may decide to use cocaine in college. These include:

  • Wanting to stay awake to study
  • Assistance with weight loss
  • Falsely believing it’s safer than some other drugs, like heroin
  • Addiction issues

What can parents do?

Part of what makes parenting hard – especially when your child is an adult and off at school – is that you can’t control the things they do. You can have open and frank conversations with them about how their choices in college can impact the rest of their lives, but you do not really have that much control when it comes to what it is they ultimately decide to do.

For those who end up getting into legal trouble at college though, do not just think that this too will pass. The truth is that a criminal charge in college is still a big deal. And while you may be disappointed in their behavior – and rightfully so – just know that without proper recourse, the charge could stick to their permanent criminal record, greatly affecting everything from their ability to find a job to where they can live after college. 

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