If you think your son or daughter is not going to experiment with drugs and alcohol in college – if they haven’t already in high school – you may want to think again.
The numbers simply speak for themselves. According to the American College Health Association, , close to 65 percent of college students reported drinking at some point in the page 30 days, with another 16 percent reporting using marijuana during this same time frame. Another close to 11 percent admitted to using some other drug at some point over a 30 day period.
However, it doesn’t stop there, as there are also a number of students who admit to using some form of alcohol or drugs every single day.
What can parents do?
Communication is key. While it is understandably tempting to just turn the other way or treat drinking and drug use as an experimentation phase, know that there are very real consequences, especially if your son or daughter is caught drinking or using drugs in college.
It’s also important to realize that there is range. While yes – there are some kids who are just going to try smoking a joint for the first time in college – there are others who are using heavy drugs, like cocaine and heroin. And there are others who are not just trying to smoke pot, but who are using marijuana on a daily basis.
What are the long-term effects?
From a mental health standpoint, Marcia Morris, M.D., wrote an article for Psychology Today about how as a college counselor she sees students every year who are in psychosis due to drug use and others who end up with permanent mental health issues from excessive drinking and drug use.
Then there are also the life-long consequences that can come from mistakes made in college that turn to legal charges, as well as possible addiction issues – and more criminal consequences – later on.
While we all like to think that our kids will make the right choices when they are in college, we also need to remain realistic and keep the doors of communication open. If your child comes to you, worried about drugs or alcohol, or worried about a criminal consequence tied to a decision they made when partying, do not turn your back. It is far better to get help now – both professional and legal – then to let mistakes made today impact their future.