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Drugs and Alcohol Abuse College Campuses


In the United States of America and the general international community, there has been a negative cause of modernity and globalization, especially in the tertiary institutions of education. Psychological, social, situational, and environmental factors have heightened the action of binge drinking and the abuse of prescription medications & hard drugs by college students on campuses. Nonetheless, there are intervention strategies adaptable to college campus students abusing alcohol and drugs (substances) that are facilitated to ensure that academic performance and the health status of the college students are preserved.


The impact of using alcoholic beverages and other illegal drugs has been examined to be significant at the tertiary level of education. The colleges and university educational institutions in the United States of America and other nations have revealed that alcohol and substance abuse has been rampant, and various variables have caused the phenomenon to dominate student demography. Some college students indulge in binge drinking, especially in the United Kingdom. In contrast, there are college students in the United States of America who are hooked to the frequent use of marijuana and other hardcore drugs, with opioids being prevalent, with Fentanyl being popular as an anesthetic but has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an analgesic. Regardless of the substance abuse, it is significant that the use of alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal hardcore drugs such as crack cocaine has been prevalent in colleges.

Thesis Statement

To comprehend the humanistic concept of the use of alcohol and drugs, generalized as substance abuse, the synthesized chapters will highlight the scourge affecting college students. First, there are the examinable factors that influence or help propagate the use of both alcohol and drugs among college students on campus. Some are individual, as there is the psychological orientation and characterization of minds, others because of the environment and the newfound freedom. In contrast, other factors influencing alcohol and drug use are situational. Secondly, there will be an analysis of the effects of both alcohol and drug abuse on the student’s minds and bodies in the respective chapters. The final chapter will address the type of humanistic interventions adaptable to the individual; i.e., psychological, social, environmental, and situational causes of the prevailing detrimental substance-use scourge, which has affected college and university students; subsequently negatively affecting academic performance and overall health status.


  • Chapter One: Alcoholism (Binge Drinking)

First, it is important to note that alcohol is an inebriating substance that has been legalized across the international society, and the legal age for drinking in the United States of America is 21 years, whereas, in most other countries, it is 18 years. Therefore, it is examinable that one of the fundamental factors that cause students in the college level of education to indulge is the widespread availability of the commodity. Alcohol is sold in convenience stores, the mall, and liquor stores. Additionally, all entertainment joints succeed and reap profits solely because of the amounts of alcohol which are sold every night; hence, it is justifiable that the prevalent use of alcohol in tertiary institutions is because of the availability to both junior and senior university students affecting their brain structures in the future (Tukhsanova., 2023). More so, the aspects of college life make sure that alcohol use is prevalent, especially with the newfound freedom, as there are the sororities with the examples of Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha, for females, and fraternities with the examples of Alpha Phi Alpha and Pi Kappa Alpha, for males, which have been established in the United States of America and Canada. The social organizations have a history and are established to foster friendships and students’ lives and co-exist as a community. Such social organizations are enabling avenues where junior college students are introduced to binge drinking, especially during the perennial parties, which are often held for fun and are influential because of the Fear of Missing Out, i.e., F.O.M.O. (Elhai et al., 2020).

The situational factor of limited social interactions with adults, parents, and guardians causes the college to binge drink. Subsequently, there is a factor in inconsistent enforcement of law and order, especially when it comes to drinking by college students, and the tertiary institutions’ police officers do not effectively manage the stipulated underage drinking laws. A senior-year student will readily aid a junior student in accessing alcohol. Furthermore, there are fresher and sophomore parties, which are held constantly, and one of the main substances used to ensure people “ease up and have fun” is alcohol, leading to alcoholism in tertiary institutions of education. It is a universal fact, especially in the United States of America, that college students have a significantly higher rate of binge drinking because of the personal, situational, and environmental variables that enhance the use of alcohol. The recorded accidents of college students because of driving under the influence, especially during Spring Break, cannot be compared to adult demography and non-college peers.

The effects of the prevalent binge-drinking activities of students in the tertiary level of education are examinable on the behavior and psychological orientation of the students who are alcoholics. Additionally, when the students do not care about their nutrition, their physical state exposes their heavy drinking. The effects of alcoholism among the student demography are examined through the difficulty in remaining conscious ( and the inability to wake up and attend lectures when needed, especially because different years follow different timetables. In serious cases, there are comas and deaths on campus because of drinking stupor, which causes students to be excessively intoxicated, causing alcohol poisoning. In being binge drinkers, students are examined to go through all the stages of an alcoholic, i.e., Having a euphoric feeling as the students are “turnt up” and socialize easily while engaging in dangerous and daring antics for fear of Missing Out, i.e., F.O.M.O. (Elhai et al., 2020). There is unnecessary excitement as the behavior is overly friendly or overly rude. Then followed by confusion and disorientation, predominantly characterized by staggering and poor speech formulation as there is incoherency and slurring of words ( Then there is the stage of being in a stupor which, in most cases, students have a blackout and get to sleep anywhere on campus premises with little regard for their safety as the nervous system has been affected tremendously and the body parts lack coordination. The effects of alcohol poisoning, mostly examined by on-campus students, are continuous vomiting, slowed breathing, and inability to stay awake. If the alcohol is too much in the bloodstream, the intoxication causes alcohol-induced comas and, in extreme cases, death when there is an overdose (

Furthermore, the effects of alcoholism on college students on campus entail poor performances in classes, and when being evaluated during tests, the student has low grades. It is important to note that alcohol degraded the brain cells, which are fundamental for all cognitive activities, including registering and storing new information, i.e., education. With alcoholism, there is the degrading of the brain cells, which occurs, and the neurons of the brain, which act similarly to the computer, cannot act normally and develop dementia (Tukhsanova., 2023). It is important to note that the brain is a complex organ controlling body parts. The neurons are communication pathways that facilitate the body’s unison functioning, which is why when a person is intoxicated due to binge drinking, there is a loss of control over speech and balance (Tukhsanova., 2023). The most affected part of the brain is that which deals with memory, and it is the sole reason why students in tertiary institutions do not remember the antics they were engaging in and essentially cannot remember anything (Tukhsanova., 2023) that they were taught during the lectures spread across the semester, in the final paper. The health of university students has also been affected negatively, with prevalent cases of college students having liver cirrhosis due to binge drinking.

Additionally, the increase in mouth and throat cancer has become prevalent among the youth because of strong drinks such as scotch, whiskeys, vodkas, and gins. Similarly, there are health concerns that have been heightened with binge drinking, such as digestive problems, which are caused by ulcers as heavy drinkers do not have an appetite making them malnourished. The lack of nutrition causes other diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease, among the youth demographic on college campuses.

  • Chapter Two: Abuse of Prescription Medications & Hard Drugs

First, it is fundamental to note that drugs are of two kinds, and the youth student demographic in modern-day college campuses has been accustomed to abusing both prescription medications and hard drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, meth, and opium. Additionally, marijuana has become one of the most advertised and “accepted” psychoactive drugs due to its recreational and entheogenic purposes, as examined through the Rastafari and Hip-Hop Trap cultures. There is also the option of using Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica, depending on the amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol needed to provide the user with euphoric feelings (Malabadi et al., 2023). Opium is the most prevalent new hard drug when students need a “higher high,” causing the rampant use of Morphine and Oxycontin across the United States of America and tranquilizers such as Xanax, historically meant for medical prescription and not recreational abuse.

Therefore, it is important to note that the primary factor that causes college students to abuse prescription medication, synthetic opioids, and hard drugs such as cocaine and meth is due to social and, specifically, peer influence, which is constant in all tertiary institutions of education. For instance, marijuana which is the typical starter drug is abused as a stimulant, especially because there is the myth that it makes one’s senses more alert with the stereotypes of hearing better or performing better, specifically in art students who are studying music and other forms of fine arts such as painting and sculpturing. The social pressures affect the psychological orientation of the students as one feels left out or the odd one out as the use of such drugs is done in cliques or “gangs” comprising friends. The Fear of Missing Out; F.O.M.O. (Elhai et al., 2020) is an influencing factor in colleges as students are curious and get to engage in drug-taking activities with the supplementary impact of peer pressure. It is critical to note that with college enrollment, there is the exemplary life advance that is symbolic with one transitioning from a “controlled adolescent” into independent, which starts as a junior adult, thus providing a leeway for one to need to engage in activities that will make one feel in control of own life which gives rise to rebellion characterized with substance abuse. Nonetheless, the Grade Point Average is significantly affected as one becomes academically dwarfed because of the psychological effects that the drugs have both on the mind and the body, especially Molly or Ecstasy, an empathogen and entactogen, which is a stimulant abused for recreational purposes, to increase energy, pleasure and heighten sensations, in fraternity and sorority parties.

Apart from the peer pressure, it is important to note that with modernization and globalization, the world is likened to a village, cultures have been adapted, and others have been merged, especially through music. Music is an important factor influencing students to engage in drug abuse, as they need to “look cool” in front of their peers. For example, reggae music from the Caribbean influences college students to abuse marijuana and with the stimuli being legalized in 22 states despite it being classified as a Schedule I drug. Additionally, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to the Federal American constitution protects marijuana users against prosecution as long as the culprits adhere to the state laws, as examined through the medical marijuana fight for the second amendment for liberty rights (Seligson., 2018). This factor has influenced most college students in the United States to engage in the abuse of cannabis. Therefore, college students in tertiary universities in California, Maine, Oregon, and Colorado can smoke weed as they please. More so, the pop, rock, and hip-hop community and their respective cultures have influenced the use of Codeine, cocaine, meth, nicotine products, and crack cocaine, which is relatively cheaper and accessible to students, and also the abuse of prescription tablets and synthetic opioids, where are prevalent in the modern American society. For instance, in the song Slippery by Migos and Gucci Mane, the artists openly promote the use of Codeine, opioids, tranquilizers, and percocets as examined through the lyrics,” Pop a perky just to start up (pop it, pop it pop it). Two cups of purple to warm up (two cups, drank)… Lean on rocks (Act). Perkys, mollies, xannies, rocks (roxies). Oxycontin (oxyies). Takeoff I’m your med doc (Takeoff!).” (Migos.,, 2017)

The effects of abusing both prescription medications, such as tranquilizers, opioids, Percocets, molly, Codeine, and Xanax, and hard drugs, such as cocaine, nicotine, meth, and opium, have similar effects on college student abusers when compared to the effects of alcohol. There is a euphoric feeling as the students are “turnt up” and socialize easily while engaging in dangerous and daring antics during parties. There is unnecessary excitement as the behavior is overly friendly or overly rude. Then followed by confusion and disorientation, predominantly characterized by staggering and poor speech formulation as there is incoherency and slurring of words. Then there is the stage of being in a stupor which, in most cases, students have a blackout and get to sleep anywhere on campus premises with little regard for their safety as the nervous system has been affected tremendously and the body parts lack coordination. More so, there is the prevalence of drug-induced comas and, in extreme cases, death when there is an overdose, which is mostly realized because hard drugs and prescription drugs have more effect on the body when compared to alcohol. Cases of overdoses, especially because of the abuse of cocaine, tranquilizers, stimulants, empathogens, entactogens, and opioids, have become more prevalent within the youth demographic, especially the college students who go on Spring Break, where there is continuous partying for days.

Additionally, the issue of mental illnesses has become heightened in the 21st Century primarily because of the use of both prescription medications and hard drugs. The psychological effect of the substances is significant in modern society and has mostly affected the youth, most of whom are in tertiary institutions of education. For instance, there is an increased diagnosis of mental ailments such as anxiety, manic depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, characterized by a lack of concentration during lectures causing poor academic performance.

  • Chapter Three: Intervention Strategies Adaptable to College Campus Students Abusing Alcohol and Drugs (Substances)

Education and awareness programs on drug abuse are the first examined mechanism that is adaptable to the abuse of alcohol and drugs on college campuses. It is important to note that on the freshers’ registration day, most students have not actively indulged in binge drinking or partaking in the abuse of prescribed medication or hard drugs as they are fresh from high school (Jones et al., 2020). Therefore, it is crucial to propagate education in the new college students giving them the disadvantages of alcoholism and drug addiction to their academic performances, as reflected through their Grade Points Average, and their general physical and psychological wellness. It can be adapted with the curriculum so that the study on drug awareness is taken as a common unit irrespective of the undergraduate program that the student is enlisting in the respective campuses, which are spread throughout the United States of America. In the education and awareness program, the myths and stereotypical narratives on alcohol and drugs must be broken down so that the students comprehend the type of peer pressures and misinformation that may be offered to them by the senior students, who have already indulged and become addicted to either alcohol or other substances such as the abuse of prescription and hard drugs. The Fear of Missing Out must be handled so that the new college students acknowledge that tertiary institutions cannot repair all societal evils but can eradicate the evil of ignorance to end drug abuse (Jones et al., 2020). The administration, policymakers, and lecturers will provide the basics of avoiding falling into the alcohol and substance abuse trap.

Additionally, the Cognitive-Behavioral based approach is another mechanism that can be manipulated by counselors across all colleges so that the students reporting to the respective campuses know themselves. Through psychological therapy, students will get to acknowledge why they might fall into the trap of binge drinking or abusing prescription medication and hard drugs (Walker et al., 2019). As people come of age, the youth must comprehend that there are inherent thoughts and feelings which may lead to anxiety, stress, or depression, which are connected to the actions of substance abuse. There is a need to increase awareness so that students may comprehend their brains and how their feelings and actions may affect their behavior indirectly because of their cognitive orientations (Walker et al., 2019). There are individuals in society who smoke marijuana so that they can feel good about themselves, and others may fall into the trap of using mollies to change their introverted nature and become more sociable. It is a fact that the Cognitive-Behavioral approach will aid in managing and hence managing the rise of alcoholism and drug abuse because students choose addictive behaviors over healthy behaviors because of the expectations placed on them. For instance, a college student who is enrolled to do undergraduate courses such as medicine or engineering might have a hard time adapting to the needs of the course, making them have a stressful campus life, thus resulting in tranquilizers such as Xanax so that they can “slow down.”

The third adaptable mechanism to deal with the detrimental phenomenon of alcoholism and the abuse of prescription medication and hard drugs, such as cocaine and opium, by college students across the United States and other countries such as the United Kingdom is the; Behavioral Intervention approach facilitated by health professionals (Edalati et al., 2019). The style is adaptable to students who have already indulged in the abuse of alcohol and other substances. Hence, there is a need to prevent a relapse, especially because the students have stopped the abuse. Through social competence, the approach will be manipulated so that the college students will be supervised so that their behavior on and off campus is analyzed so that they cannot be socially influenced by others (Edalati et al., 2019). Therefore, the mechanism of alcohol and substance addiction will take a protective approach as the environment in modern times is quite influential in facilitating a relapse for an already rehabilitated student. Hence, the primary activity which will help to aid the Behavioral Intervention approach is behavioral therapies, in which the counselors will aim to change the conduct of the college students in a manner that life skills are taught to them so that the students can cope with the situational and environmental occurrences which may lead to further alcohol and substance misuse and relapse (Edalati et al., 2019). Behavioral therapies are psycho-social, so the variables addressed are substance-related problems that affect the treatment progress so that the drug abusers are reintegrated with the social structure and eliminate social alienation, which is constant in alcoholics and drug abusers.

The Motivation and Feedback-related approach to curbing alcohol (Mejía-Trujillo et al., 2023) and drug abuse is a justifiable mechanism adaptable to college students on campus. The model is adjustable, especially because it is solely founded on the circumstances that may cause one to either start, proceed or relapse to being a binge drinker or an abuser of prescribed medication or hard drugs to college students. Through social dynamics, the motive subtypes will be manipulated in a manner that there is the element of social coping. The students must cope with the environment and the situation, which is influenced by the newfound freedom, and realize that they must deal effectively with the difficulty of the presence of alcohol and drugs (Mejía-Trujillo et al., 2023). Therefore, there is the need to adapt to the situation present in the modern world and be motivated in a manner that their psychological and social attributes in a manner that both are enhanced and hence cannot conform to social pressures and, specifically, the Fear of Missing Out, i.e., F.O.M.O. (Elhai et al., 2020). The attributes of coping, being psychologically and socially enhanced, make the students not conform to the socio-cultural aspects, which are dominated by peer influences and social filths, which include getting high. The counselor’s feedback must be oriented around the fact that when one craves alcoholism and drug abuse, the student must not be compelled into engaging in such activities (Mejía-Trujillo et al., 2023). One must exercise the attribute of being in control of one’s urge to take alcohol or drugs because the consequences are generally poor health status, and there will be poor academic performance resulting in a low Grade Point Average.


With the examined factors influencing, and the resultant effects, of binge drinking and the abuse of prescription medication and hard drugs on poor academic performances and poor health status. There is a need to examine college students’ psychological, social, situational, and environmental management. Therefore, the approaches: Motivation and Feedback-related approach, Behavioral Intervention approach, Cognitive-Behavioral based approach, and Education and awareness programs on drug abuse; are necessary as intervention strategies adaptable to college campus students to minimize and manage the abuse of alcohol and drugs (substances).


Edalati, H., & Conrod, P. J. (2019). A review of personality-targeted interventions for the prevention of substance misuse and related harm in community samples of adolescents. Frontiers in psychiatry9, 770.

Elhai, J. D., Yang, H., & Montag, C. (2020). Fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.): overview, theoretical underpinnings, and literature review on relations with the severity of negative affectivity and problematic technology use. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry43, 203-209.

Migos – Slippery ft. Gucci Mane (Lyrics). 28 Jan 2017

Jones, C. M., Clayton, H. B., Deputy, N. P., Roehler, D. R., Ko, J. Y., Esser, M. B., … & Hertz, M. F. (2020). Prescription opioid misuse and use of alcohol and other substances among high school students—Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019. MMWR supplements69(1), 38.

Kenneth Seligson. A Job for Congress: Medical Marijuana Patients’ Fight for Second Amendment Rights. (January. 2018).

Malabadi, R. B., Kolkar, P., & Chalannavar, K. (2023). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (T.H.C.): The major psychoactive component is of Botanical origin. International Journal of Innovation Scientific Research and Review5(3), 4177–4184.

Mejía-Trujillo, J., Pérez-Gómez, A., de Vries, H., & Mercken, L. (2023). Evaluating effects of IBEM-U on decreasing alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking among university students in Colombia: Protocol for a randomized control trial. Contemporary clinical trials communications32, 101075.

Tukhsanova, N. E. (2023). THE EFFECT OF ALCOHOL ON THE BRAIN AND ITS STRUCTURES. Horizon: Journal of Humanity and Artificial Intelligence2(5), 390-397.

Walker, S. C., Duong, M., Hayes, C., Berliner, L., Leve, L. D., Atkins, D. C., … & Valencia, E. (2019). A tailored cognitive behavioral program for juvenile justice-referred females at risk of substance use and delinquency: A pilot quasi-experimental trial. Plos one14(11), e0224363.


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