Drug Awareness, Addiction and Recovery

College Student Stress

Balancing college and life can be very stressful. Unfortunately, many college students will turn to drug use to help them study, get through the day and cope with stress. Using drugs to cope is detrimental to our health and can lead to serious drug addiction. If you think you may have a drug addiction consult your medical and/or mental health provider right away. SCC’s Counseling faculty are available to provide community resources. Call (480) 423-6524 or email counseling@scottsdalecc.edu to schedule an appointment.

24-Hour Crisis Hotlines

If our office is closed and you are experiencing a mental health crisis or are having thoughts of suicide, call/text 988, or the Salt River Crisis Intervention Team (Call first if you are a Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Member) 480-850-9230, or call EMPACT Crisis Line at 480-784‑1500 or the Warm Line Peer Support Hotline at 602-347-1100, or visit the Signs of Suicide website.

Statistics of Drug Use Among College Students

According to a 2021 article by the The National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institutes of Health:

  • Alcohol use among college students had a significant drop between 2019 and 2020. Researchers believe this is because college students have not been spending as much time with friends due to the pandemic. Previously, college students reported high levels of binge drinking.
  • In 2020 marijuana use among college students was at a historic high. It’s highest use since 1980.
  • 9% of college students reported use of hallucinogens (including LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and other psychedelic substances).
  • 1% of college students reported opioid use (See full survey results).

The Rise of Drug Use for Adults Ages 26-49

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that while young adults ages 18-25 have the highest rates of drug use across the board, drug use among adults ages 26-49 is on the rise:

  • The percentage of adults age 26 and older using marijuana daily or almost daily has nearly doubled since 2015.
  • Cocaine use and death rates have risen; cocaine-involved overdose rates in the U.S. have risen annually since 2012.
  • Meth use is on the rise and overdose death rates climbed more than five-fold for those ages 25 to 54 between 2011 and 2018.
  • The nation remains in a prescription and illicit opioids crisis. Overdose is the leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45 in America today. 
  • More than 100,000 people died of an overdose in the United States in the 12-month period ending in March 2022 most of the overdose deaths involved a prescription or illicit opioid.

What is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a brain disease that can cause significant damage to our body, brain and emotions. If you continue to use drugs even though it negatively affects your college studies, work, finances or relationships then you more than likely have an addiction. The good news is it is treatable. Learn more about addiction.

Signs of Addiction

As listed by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration:

  • Difficulties at school, disinterest in school-related activities, and declining grades
  • Poor work performance, being chronically late to work, appearing tired and disinterested in work duties, and receiving poor performance reviews
  • Changes in physical appearance, such as wearing inappropriate or dirty clothing and a lack of interest in grooming
  • Altered behavior, such as an increased desire for privacy
  • Drastic changes in relationships
  • A noticeable lack of energy when performing daily activities
  • Spending more money than usual or requesting to borrow money
  • Issues with financial management, such as not paying bills on time
  • Changes in appetite, such as a decreased appetite and associated weight loss
  • Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and appearing tired or run down
  • Defensiveness when asked about substance use

Being in college means you have to be alert, focused and cognitively able to learn information in order to complete your studies. Learn how drugs affect your brain.

Recovery: Where to get help

The Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. There are many recovery type programs available and addiction is treatable

There is hope if you feel that you might have a drug addiction. Learn about the four dimensions of recovery: Health, Home, Purpose and Community.

If you think you may have a drug addiction consult your medical and/or mental health provider right away. You can also call 1-800-662-HELP(4357). SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

Because most illicit drug use is illegal, some might be afraid to call 911 when they are with a friend who is overdosing. Arizona has laws in place that protect people who report a possible drug overdose. Officers will not arrest you if you call 911 for help. If you feel you or a friend might die from a drug overdose call 911 immediately.

Learn from others who have struggled with drug addiction and recovered.