Sadly, drug and alcohol use is common among college-aged adults. Recreation use is common, and many young adults experiment with drugs or alcohol in this phase of life.
Drinking and using drugs are common at parties, or individuals may feel social pressure to consume substances more heavily than they normally would. Moreover, college is the first time most people move away from home and may feel at liberty to explore drugs without parental supervision or intervention. Attending higher education also comes with high levels of academic and social stress, potentially leading to drug abuse.
Using substances, even recreationally, on a regular basis can quickly lead to serious drug use, tolerance and dependence. While many young adults feel that they use drugs or alcohol casually, the effects of addiction can lead to unmanageable patterns of behavior and dysfunction in normal life.

Addiction in college students

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, each day an estimated 2,179 full-time college students drink alcohol for the first time and 1,326 students use an illicit drug for the first time each day. While one-time use doesn’t always indicate an addiction, the prevalence of drugs and alcohol in the lives of young people can surely lead to disasters.
Whether you’re a college student yourself, a parent, a professor or so on, drug and alcohol use should be taken seriously. Substance use, when left unchecked and untreated, can devolve into a habit that is impossible to control. Drug and alcohol use can negatively affect academics, social relationships, and daily tasks and even impact future career opportunities.
Students who exhibit excessively intoxicated behavior may be asked to leave a college or university, cause serious injury to themselves or another person, run into legal trouble or be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident. In addition to these consequences, addiction may lead to a mental health disorder, broken relationships and damage to future prospects in life.
College should be a time that individuals focus on managing stress in healthy ways, finding authentic friendships and fostering a successful career and lifestyle. Addiction in college students should be addressed as quickly as possible when it is identified.

On-campus resources for college students

Finding resources for drug or alcohol addiction on college campuses is easier than you might think. Most colleges and universities have programs available for treatment and counseling, local 12-step meetings and so forth. Here are some on-campus resources for addiction you’ll want to look into.


Many college campuses offer free or low-cost counseling for those who struggle with addiction. These resources can be found on your college’s website or by searching for “on-campus resources” and the name of your school. Colleges also have health and wellness centers that can connect you to the right help if you’re unsure where to look.


One of the best options for outpatient treatment for students is teletherapy. Teletherapy offers all the benefits of outpatient in-person treatment with the convenience of attending virtually. Students may face barriers to treatment, such as busy class schedules that don’t easily accommodate appointments or a lack of transportation to off-campus locations. Teletherapy is an effective and helpful option in seeking recovery.

Inpatient treatment

Depending on the severity of an addiction, it may be necessary for students to attend inpatient treatment, especially during the detox period of recovery. Inpatient treatment can surely disrupt the college norm, but schools are required to accommodate disabilities. Because substance use disorders fall under the category of mental health disorders, reasonable accommodations should be made by the school and your professors so you can keep up with your academics.

12-step meetings

12-step meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, are widely available. These peer support meetings can be found in most major towns and cities, and are hosted by community centers and churches and led by people who are personally in recovery. 
These meetings are free to attend and designed to welcome anyone. It’s likely that these groups will have non-college-aged adults attending, but in areas, with large universities, it is common for many young adults to attend. As a young person, you’re likely to benefit from many mentor-type figures at these meetings.

Online resources

In addition to on-campus resources, there are plenty of online sites that offer information, resources, connection to groups and support. Campus Drug Prevention is one such website, offering up-to-date research articles, a podcast, events and links to treatment options.
By looking through their listed resources you can get connected to federal, non-federal and law enforcement resources. These links can direct you to initiatives regarding opioid misuse, college binge drinking prevention programs, culturally-sensitive information and referrals to treatment.
The Association of Recovery in Higher Education is another program that focuses specifically on supporting students in recovery. Their aim is to provide education, resources and connection to the community in which the student lives and studies through a network of professionals, professors, students, parents and policymakers.

Healing addiction in college students

College is a time for growth, change and self-discovery. Sadly, many young adults fall into addiction during these years of transition, but there are numerous ways to find support when substance use has gone too far. 
If you’re worried that your casual drinking or drug use has spiraled into something worse, it’s time to get help. Reach out to Silvermist Recovery to find what you’re looking for.