Program Helping College Students with Drug and Alcohol Abuse
It’s something teenagers dream about: leaving their parent’s homes, moving to college, and experiencing the world.
College presents students with opportunities to make adult decisions. Some of those decisions can be harmful.
College students make up one of the leading drug and alcohol abuse groups in the country, which is why one program on Troy University’s campus is encouraging students to get help.
“A lot of students really don’t realize when they are experimenting with drugs or alcohol, some of the risks they are putting themselves at,” Outreach Coordinator Kimbrlei McCain says.
Outreach uses peer helpers and organizers to raise awareness of the harms of drugs and alcohol use.
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that college students are more likely to engage in heavy alcohol drinking.
McCain says the explaining the risks of how drugs and alcohol affects student’s bodies, wallets, and relationships is the best way to spread the knowledge that can lead to better decision making.
“Our goal is to help them recognize that there’s a responsible way to do that and encourage them to take personal responsibility for their actions,” McCain says.
Outreach educators say they’ve seen a shift in students attitudes. The legalization and commercialization of marijuana is leading students to use the drug more.
“With marijuana becoming more and more popular, it’s more and more common for students to engage in smoking pot” Outreach Peer Helper Jacob McComber says. “You need to know what you’re putting in your body.”
“Some think that its not as harmful for you or that it could actually help you in some ways,” MCClain says. “So our job is really to help students make informed decisions to say is this really helping you with your anxiety.”
The community can play a part, as well. McCain says it’s important for everyone to help spread awareness to friends and family who abuse drugs and alcohol.
“I think the main thing is if you recognize a problem or even just sense that there might be some small issue going on with yourself or someone else, its so important to just reach out early,” McCain says.
Troy University offers Counseling Services for students. You can find that link here.
Community members can get substance abuse help at the The East Central Mental Health Center