How common is drug use on college campuses?

Parents who are sending their children off to college sometimes worry about drug use. They know that college has a reputation for the use of drugs on campus, and they also know that this is when a lot of students are experiencing independence and freedom for the first time. They may worry that their child will get caught up in something that will derail their plans for life.

But is drug use in college actually that common? Or is it just a stereotype?

The highest prevalence of drug use

It is not just a stereotype. When you look at the prevalence of drug use among different groups of students, it is highest when you look at college students. They clocked in at a full 45%. This is slightly higher than high school seniors, at 39%. While it’s clear that a lot of drug use starts before college, this also suggests that many students who have not used them before will experiment with them in college.

Marijuana use is one of the most common drugs

One of the most common types of drug used is marijuana. For example, one study looked at statistics for eight years, and marijuana use hit 47% – the peak for the study – in the third year. Other studies found that about 1/3 of all college students used marijuana at some time.

Other drugs are rising

It is worth, noting that other drugs are becoming more common. For instance, 2.3% of students will use cocaine, 2.3% use sedatives, another 6% use amphetamines and the vast majority, at 91.3%, use alcohol. In particular, the use of painkillers and opioids among young people is concerning, as it often leads to overdoses.

Legal defense options

If your student does find themselves facing drug charges, it can impact their ability to get an education or have a career after they graduate. It’s important for parents and students to know exactly what legal options they have.