Drugs and alcohol use at UH lower than others, still pose a threat to University
Drugs and alcohol. By now, we are all aware of what they are, and we all know at least one person who does illegal drugs and that there’s a party every weekend no matter where you go. It’s college, after all.
According to a study conducted in 2007 by USA Today, “nearly half of America’s 5.4 million full-time college students abuse drugs or drink alcohol on binges at least once a month.” But according to statistics from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “four out of five college students drink alcohol. About half of those (who) drink also consume alcohol through binge drinking.”
That means about 40 percent of college students consume alcohol through binge drinking. “At UH, the students drink less,” said Clayton Neighbors, director of social psychology. “About 30 to 35 percent of UH students overindulge in alcohol and about 30 percent of UH students abstain from alcohol.”
Still, 30 to 35 percent of the student population overindulging means a substantial amount of drinking is going on. With the campus pub so close and Chinese Star — where you can buy pitchers of beer with Cougar Cash — just a hop and a skip away, you can easily get your alcohol fix.
Alcohol is fun, but sometimes too much fun can produce bad results. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. And about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.” Come on, Cougars, get it together and show that you’re not going to be just a statistic.
Drugs aren’t a non-issue either. According to the Journal of Drug Issues, “there is some evidence that indicates college students have higher rates of substance use than their same-age peers who do not attend college … Students report a higher prevalence of getting drunk (64 percent to 53 percent), marijuana use (33 percent to 32 percent), and prescription stimulant misuse (9 percent to 8 percent).”
According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, drugs are dangerous not only because of the physical impact they can have on the body, but because they can also affect one’s ability to set limits, lower awareness of ones environment and hinder ones ability to realize when they’re in danger.
But despite all of this, drugs aren’t as big of a problem at UH as elsewhere.
“At UH, alcohol is looked upon more favorably than drugs. Alcohol is more popular than drugs at UH,” Neighbors said. In fact, the only drugs that are looked upon as “not that bad” are tobacco, which is currently banned by the University — and marijuana.
Even though the numbers show that problems with drugs and alcohol at UH aren’t that bad compared to other places, that’s no excuse to just sit there and add to the statistics. If you have a substance abuse problem, seek professional help by participating in a rehab program or going to a sober house. Counseling and Psychological Services would be a great place to start. It’s convenient for all Cougars. Most importantly, build yourself a safety net of friends and family. A caring support system is the best thing to have when quitting a bad habit. It helps to face your problems with others that are going through the same or similar issues.
Opinion columnist Callie Parrish is a math and arts senior and may be reached at [email protected]