PARENTS OF COLLEGE STUDENTS
Prevention for College Students
Going to college is a time of transition. Risk of drug use increases greatly
during times of transition. When young adults advance from high school to
college they face new and challenging social, family, and academic situations.
Often during this period, young adults are exposed to substances such as
nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana for the first time. When they enter college,
young adults may encounter greater availability of drugs, drug use by
older students, and social activities where drugs are used. A certain amount
of risk-taking is a normal part of development. The desire to try new things, and become more independent is healthy, but it may also increase young adults' tendencies to experiment with drugs. The parts of the brain that control judgement and decision-making do not fully developed until people are in their mid-20s; this limits young adults ability to accurately assess the risks of drug experimentation and makes young people more vulnerable to peer pressure.
Because the brain is still developing, using drugs at this age has more potential to disrupt brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgement, and behavior control. So, it's not surprising young adults who use alcohol or other drugs often have family and social problems, poor academic performance, health-related problems (including mental health conditions), and involvement with the justice system.
Knowing these things, combined with the fact that many young adults are move away from home (whether that's to go to college or start a new job), we must figure out how to continue to stay connected.