New government study says alcohol abuse is higher among college students

Eighty percent of MU students have consumed alcohol at least once in the last year, according to Wellness Resource Center data.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a national study found United States college students abuse alcohol more than other drugs such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines compared to their non-student peers.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration stated about 46.6 percent of college students seek treatment for alcohol problems. Based on an analysis of its 2009 Treatment Episode Data Set, only 30.6 percent of non-students were admitted for treatment.

In terms of most other drugs, college students had markedly lower rates of treatment admissions than non-students of the same age, according to the Chicago Tribune.

This statement is also true for MU students. According to the 2010 Missouri College Health Behavior Survey, cocaine and methamphetamine abuse rates among MU students is less than 1 percent, yet 10.5 percent of students abuse marijuana.

SAMHSA’s research shows abuse of marijuana remains a significant problem for both college students and non-students. The researchers found 30.9 percent of college students and 30 percent of non-students abuse the drug.

Like the national study showed, MU students also tend to use alcohol more than other drugs. Eighty percent of MU students have consumed alcohol at least once in the last year, Wellness Resource Center Director Kim Dude said.

Dude said MU students use alcohol more than other drugs because they have more accessibility to alcohol than most drugs.

“It is very available and (more) inexpensive than drugs like heroin or methamphetamine,” Dude said.

Dude also addressed the media's influence.

“The media is apt to glamorize alcohol a lot, and many students are used to it,” she said.

MU student Seungah Lee, who is 23 years old, said she drinks alcohol when stressed and when socializing.

“When I and my friends want to hang out and have fun, we prefer alcohol to drugs because most drugs are illegal, and we do not want to risk our academic career,” Lee said.

Moreover, Dude said college students tend to use alcohol more than non-students because they have more free time compared to adults with full-time jobs.

Dude also said there is not much of a difference between alcohol use in the freshman and senior classes.

“Alcohol is very available for underage college students because in college, it is easy for students to find friends who are 21 or older,” she said.

The Wellness Resource Center does not offer alcohol or drug abuse treatment programs, but screening tests are available.

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