Yesterday’s edition of The Heights, the Boston College school newspaper announced that this fall, Boston College’s Office of Health Promotion and the Alcohol and Drug Education (ADE) Programs are starting a support group for students on campus who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. Staff and peer specialists within the program note that college is one of the toughest environments in which to stay sober. There is a general expectation that heavy alcohol use and college go together.
Studies have shown that campuses in the Northeast, campuses with a high percentage of students involved in Greek life, and campuses with successful and notable sports teams are some of the schools with higher rates of drinking issues. BC qualifies on two out of the three factors.
The data on college consumption of alcohol is compelling. The CORE Institute at Southern Illinois University has surveyed almost 57,000 students at 2 and 4 year schools in the United States.
Following are some key findings on the use of alcohol:
82.2% of the students consumed alcohol in the past year (“annual prevalence”).
69.2% of the students consumed alcohol in the past 30 days (“30-day prevalence”).
61.2% of underage students (younger than 21) consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.
43.9% of students reported binge drinking in the previous two weeks. A binge is defined as
Following are some key findings on the use of illegal drugs:
31.3% of the students have used marijuana in the past year (“annual prevalence”).
18.1% of the students are current marijuana users (“30-day prevalence”).
11.0% of the students have used an illegal drug other than marijuana in the past year (“annual
5.5% of the students are current users of illegal drugs other than marijuana (“30-day
The most frequently reported illegal drugs used in the past 30 days were:
18.1% Marijuana (pot, hash, hash oil)
2.7 % Amphetamines (diet pills, ADD meds, speed)
1.5 % Sedatives (downers)
34.8% reported some form of public misconduct (such as trouble with police, fighting/argument, DWI/DUI, vandalism) at least once during the past year as a result of drinking or drug use.
23.1 % reported experiencing some kind of serious personal problems (such as suicidality, being hurt or injured, trying unsuccessfully to stop using, sexual assault) at least once during the past year as a result of drinking or drug use.
Other colleges are also making strides to accommodate students who want to attain and maintain sobriety. Texas Tech has pioneered the development and implementation of a sober college campus and is now training other institutions of higher learning to apply the principles they utilize. There are now 17 schools listed as college members of the Association of Recovery Schools.
It is interesting to note that while the Northeast has one of the highest rates of college alcohol consumption, only one Northeast area school, The University of Vermont is a member of the Association.