Can Alcohol and Drug Abuse effect College Students Behavior?

For those high school students planning on attending college, there is an expectation to live up to the numerous television shows and movies which depict college students drunk, stoned, and horny yet somehow graduate from college and earn high wages. For many students, it does not end in such a positive manner. One cannot party for four years and expect to come out a better person at the end. This study delves into the issue of the college student and if alcohol and drug abuse affect the college student’s behavior. It will also investigate what those changes will likely be as the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of drug and alcohol abuse alters the individual.


    This study involved examination of past literature on the topic. The materials were then examined in the light of Helene Raskin White et al (2008) study dubbed Increases in Alcohol and Marijuana Use during the Transition out of High School into Emerging Adulthood: The effects of Leaving Home, Going to College and High School Protective Factors.

  The main source of data for the study was Helene Raskin White et al (2008) study. The other sources of data were similarly peer-reviewed journal articles. After identification of the articles, most of the data from the articles was accessed from the online copies of the studies.

   For articles to be used in this study, they had to be peer-reviewed. The articles to be included in the study were the ones addressing the contemporary issues surrounding the topic of study, with the oldest study being used having been conducted in 1994. The quality of the data and the overall quality of the study was ensured by usage only of peer-reviewed articles as references in the study. This study was closely tied to the findings of the past peer-reviewed articles. The works included have their details given in the references’ list.

 Critical Analysis

The introduction statement represents the norm of college life. A norm is described as “dominant or typical attitudes, expectations, and behaviors not only characterized these groups but also regulate group’s members’ actions to perpetuate the collective norm” (Perkins, 2002, p. 164). Many students leaving home for the first time struggle with the independence from family and strict rules. Without proper grounding during their formative years, students with this increased independence will live without boundaries, without self-control, and without common sense (Cooper, 2002, p. 101). This leads to binge drinking, alcoholism, drug abuse, and sexual promiscuity (Cooper, 2002, p. 101). Along with the increases mentioned previously, there is an increase in sexual assaults, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, and other criminal charges for aggressive behavior and assault (Cooper, 2002, p. 101). The question that plagues many is why there is such an expectation for sex, drugs, and alcohol in college if the evidence proves the damage of these in excess causes on youth ages 18-24. Also in question is why the media believes this as an appropriate manner of depicting college life. There is a direct correlation to the expectation of high school students and the depiction in television and movies. Research has concluded that heavy drinking three or more times in a two week period in college is common in one-fourth of the student population (Hingson et al, 2001, p. 136). These results show a 20% increase from the survey taken in 1993 (Hingson et al, 2001, p. 136). The most common substances abuses include alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs due to the increased availability of these substances on or near the campus.

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