College is a place where students come to learn new subjects and explore their options. It is a place where students can become different people, join organizations and find themselves. College provides an escape for students who have never had the opportunity to be by themselves, but this also provides an opening for parties and drugs.

By the time students are high school seniors, 50 percent will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose, according to drugabuse.gov. It has become a bigger problem than many students realize. People age 18 to 24 are at a heightened risk of addiction due to social anxiety, according to addictioncenter.com.

Males are more likely to take these drugs over females, but police arrest both men and women for drug possession frequently. Depending on the drug, people can face up to a lifetime in prison. 110 thousand young adults have been arrested with alcohol charges, according to addictioncenter.com.

There has been an increase of young adults using opiates since 2002, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Also, there were more than 60,000 deaths due to accidental overdoses from drugs in 2015, according to NIDA.  

There were more than 30,000 deaths due to opiates, according to drugabuse.gov

Although using drugs can mean illegal substances, there are many that are legal, like alcohol, Adderall, which is treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when used medically, or Xanax, which is used to relax someone with anxiety or depression. 

Many students do not realize just how dangerous these substances are and how they can affect them in the future, if there is one. Studies show  the drug use of college students has increased over 450 percent since 1993. These drugs would not be popular if the students taking them knew how bad the consequences could really be. Drugs of any sort are always dangerous. 

For those struggling with any kind of addiction, please use the resources the campus provides. UNA has support groups to help students with their addictions, as well as UNA Student Counseling Services. Their number is (256) 765-5215. Bradford Health Services is an addiction treatment center in Florence open all hours. Their number is (256) 760-0200.

It is never too late to avoid the damages of drug addiction. Call the National Drug Hotline at (800) 222-1222 to speak with an adviser about  how to overcome drug addiction.

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