First six weeks put college freshmen most at risk for alcohol consequences

AUSTIN, TX, August 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — With college campuses reopening, advocates warn that the first few weeks of the semester are the riskiest and most dangerous for student drinking, especially those who are underage. With consequences such as impaired driving and motor vehicle accidents also more likely, from texas The leading youth alcohol and drug prevention advocacy coalition called for increased awareness and coordinated action between parents and campus officials.

Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth highlighted data from last year’s Texas Student Substance Abuse Survey (TSCS), which shows that 73% of college students and 62% of underage students reported ever having consumed alcohol.

Besides alcohol, marijuana is one of the most abused substances on campus. According to the TSCS, 37.7% of students reported ever using marijuana, and the vast majority (94%) of students who reported using drugs at least once during the school year reported that marijuana was the drug being used.

The first six weeks are critical

Freshmen are the most vulnerable as they experience new social contexts and environments, and the first few weeks of campus life are the most critical for awareness, prevention, and intervention. Reaching students early is key: According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, from the time they enter college until they reach the legal drinking age of 21 years, the number of students with an alcohol use disorder nearly doubles.

“College can be an incredibly exciting time,” said Nicole Holt, CEO of TxSDY. “But everything can change very quickly with alcohol in the mix. As adults, we need to do all we can to ensure that our children – even when they are students – are supported and encouraged to make good decisions. , to limit risks and stay on the path to success.”

College drinking, marijuana use, and motor vehicle accidents

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that more than 1,500 college students die each year from alcohol-related crashes and injuries, including traffic accidents. In Texas, 28% of drivers involved in alcohol-related crashes and 25% of drunk drivers killed in fatal car crashes were 25 years of age or younger. Even still, 12% of Texas students report driving after drinking at least once a month.

According to the CDC, the risk of being involved in a car accident also increases with marijuana use, which can impair coordination, distort perception, and lead to memory loss and difficulty with problem solving.

Academic performance

A quarter of all students have problems at school because of alcohol – and excessive alcohol consumption leads to even more serious challenges: students who drink alcohol are five times more likely to miss class and six times more likely to perform poorly on a test or assignment. .

Coordinated response

Parents and campus officials play an equal role in keeping students safe and healthy. Research repeatedly shows that parents are the most effective influence on their children’s decision-making, and maintaining open and honest communication with their children – before and after leaving for college – can have a dramatic impact. Schools should put in place and enforce protective measures. According to the TSCS, nearly 40% of students did not know if their school had policies regarding student alcohol use, and more than half did not know if their school had a program to prevent alcohol abuse. drugs and alcohol. Schools should increase awareness of all resources available to students and take active steps to enforce policies designed to protect students.

For more information on trends in student drinking, visit: https://txsdy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/TxSDY_Alcohol-Use-Trends-Among-College-Students.pdf and to learn more about alcohol policies on college campuses, visit https://cap.txsdy.org.

SOURCE Texans for safe, drug-free youth

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