This archived article was written by: Brandy Urrutia
Nearly half of America’s 5.4 million full-time college students abuse drugs or drink alcohol on binges at least once a month, according to a new study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). This study portrays substance and alcohol abuse as an increasingly urgent problem on campuses across the nation.
Why do campuses view alcohol and drug abuse as important? Because, far too often these substances cause tragedies. Deaths from alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related incidents have occurred on all campuses in recent years.
Studies show that 43 percent of all students report high risk drinking at some point in their college career. Twenty percent of students report doing so often.
Surveys at colleges and universities across the country indicate the percentage of students who used various drugs within the past year: marijuana (32.3 percent); amphetamines (6.5 percent); hallucinogens (7.5 percent); cocaine (3.7 percent); and designer drugs such as Ecstasy (3.6 percent).
Such illicit drugs have been factors in many tragedies, including date rape crimes, hospitalizations for overdoses, and deaths.
“To watch my friend go through substance abuse problems, it gave me a reality check. It was not only affecting her, but me as well. I watched her go down hill, and it made me want to better myself. So, I stayed away from things that would take me down hill as well,” Erica of Utah Career College said.
I have seen friends go through many problems that caused them to resort to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. It can start from the death of loved ones to peer pressure.
No matter how the problem starts, it affects many college students and those who surround them.
A 2005 study in Utah shows the percentage of teenage-driver injury crashes; driving under the influence (1.5 percent), had been drinking (0.4 percent), driving under the influence of drugs (0.3 percent); sourced by Student Counselor Jan Thornton of CEU.
Teen drivers represented seven percent of the licensed drivers in Utah in 2005, yet they were involved in a disproportionate percent of crashes; 27 percent of all motor vehicle crashes and 18 percent of all fatal crashes. On the basis of miles driven, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
Motor vehicle crashes take a terrible toll on Utah families and communities. On average, crashes account for 310 deaths, 2,200 hospitalizations, and 28,900 emergency department visits a year for Utah residents. Motor vehicle crash death rates are highest in the 15-19 and 70 plus age groups.
vehicle crash hospitalization and emergency room visit rates are highest in the 15-19 age groups. In 2005, hospital and emergency department charges for Utah motor vehicle crash victims totaled $85.4 million.
One of the biggest dangers facing teenagers may be sitting right next to them. Nothing kills more teens than car crashes, and little is riskier for new drivers than teen passengers. That’s why newly licensed drivers should wait 1,000 miles or six months before picking up their first teen passenger.
Studies confirm that teen drivers plus peer passengers can result in higher fatal crash risks. One passenger equals up to two times the fatal crash risk, and three or more passengers equals up to four to five times the fatal crash risks.
This October, be part of the solution and tap into a subject that captivates teens. See how your group can participate in National Teen Driver Safety Week. This year’s focus is helping teens “ride like a friend” and “drive like they care.” Because once they start driving peers, distractions can be deadly.
To find more information on this topic, research the sources at www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-03-15-college-drug-use_N.htm; www.yic.gov/drug free/alcabuse.html; www.ride like a friend.com/organizer/; www.health.utah.gov/VIP/motor Vehicle Safety/Motor%20Vehicle%20Safety.htm;