Incoming College Freshmen Face Addiction

Incoming College Freshmen Face Addiction

I vividly remember the time my mom dropped me off for my first year of college. I can still picture her tear stained face as she drove away after the speech she gave me in hopes of helping me avoid the many pitfalls that can happen the first year of college.”

– Jenna

For many, the first year of college is a time to learn about oneself, to meet new people and to take part in new experiences.

However, the first year of college can easily open the door to a struggle with alcohol and drug addiction from a new found freedom, new peer pressures and heightened stress levels.

There are 5 major areas of concern that incoming freshman should be aware of:

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, or consuming 4-5 drinks within two hours, has become increasingly prevalent among college students, especially freshman.

  • According to a study conducted by the Core Institute – the largest national Alcohol and Other Drug database about college students – college freshmen, on average, consume more than five drinks per week.
  • 45% of college freshmen have engaged in binge drinking at least once within the two weeks prior to completing the study.
    These statistics are particularly troubling as binge drinking is associated with a number of health problems such as liver diseases, injuries, brain damage, and alcohol poisoning.

Drug Abuse and Drug Overdose

Many freshmen see college as an opportunity to experiment with new things, an act that sometimes involves illicit drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine.

  • A USA Today analysis of 620 deaths of four-year college and university students since January 2,000 discovered that freshmen accounted for more than one-third of undergraduate deaths in the study, despite the fact that they are only 24% of the undergraduates at those institutions.
  • This further highlights the fact that freshmen are extremely vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse and the severe consequences associated with addiction.

Driving Under the Influence

With the prevalence of binge drinking and alcohol abuse among college freshmen, the danger of driving under the influence is also increased.

  • It was found that in 2009 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that driving under the influence claimed the lives of 10,000 motorists, nearly one-third of which were alcohol related.
  • A 2001 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study reported that three out of every ten college students had operated a car after consuming alcohol.

Risky Sex and Other Behaviors

Unfortunately alcohol and drug abuse and risky behaviors tend to go hand in hand.

  • Binge drinkers are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, and to be victims of robbery, assault, and sexual assault.
  • In 2001, an estimated 97,000 college students were sexually assaulted or date raped by another student under the influence of alcohol.
  • Additionally, 1,700 college students die annually as a result of alcohol related injuries.


As with risky behaviors, substance abuse and crime are closely related, especially when it comes to college students.

  • According to the aforementioned Core Institute survey, over 37 percent of college students admitted to committing acts such as driving under the influence or vandalism while abusing substances.

The transition into college is a key risk period in one’s life. Young adults are thrown into a world of independence, where personal choices become more pertinent to health and success.

Escalated drinking has become so common during this transitional phase that it’s been given its own name—the “College Effect.”

Entering college brings about a substantial increase in responsibility and stress, forcing students to make major life decisions that will directly affect the course of their academic, professional, and personal lives for years to come; making it extremely easy for some to slip into alcohol and drug abuse as a way to cope.

Are you sending your child away to college this coming fall? Or are you headed out of your parents’ house to an apartment or dorms to embark on your college career?
While college is often coined “the best time of your life” being prepared for the possible dangers can help make that statement true.

Seeing signs of alcohol and drug abuse? Don’t hesitate to call our trained addiction specialists and help keep your loved ones on track to a successful college career.


Contact Elements Behavioral Health

Call 855-678-8337 for a confidential assessment or fill out the form below and we will call you.