Nearly half of America’s 5.4 million full-time college students abuse drugs or drink alcohol on binges at least once a month, says a new study that portrays substance and alcohol abuse as an increasingly urgent problem on campuses, USA Todaya reports. Alcohol remains the favored substance of abuse on college campuses, but the abuse of prescription drugs and marijuana has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s, said the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
Today’s CASA report involved a survey of 2,000 student and 400 administrators and analyses of six national studies. The center found that “the situation on America’s campuses has deteriorated” since 1993, CASA President Joseph Califano says. College students have higher rates of alcohol or drug addiction than the general public: 22.9 percent of students meet the medical definition for alcohol or drug abuse or dependence compared with 8.5 percent of all people 12 and older. The percent of students smoking marijuana heavily – at least 20 days during the past month –more than doubled, from 1.9 percent in 1993 to 4 percent in 2005. The percentage who reported using illegal drugs other than marijuana, such as cocaine and heroin, in the past month jumped from 5.4 percent in 1993 to 8.2 percent in 2005.