College Students And Opioid Addiction

College Students And Opioid AddictionEven though college students are one of the largest groups of drug abusers, opioid abuse with college students usually doesn’t come to mind. More commonly, it is thought that college students may experiment with substances such as alcohol, marijuana, adderall, and MDMA (molly). Although it is true that many teen opioid abusers don’t make it to college or quickly drop out, others do go to college and it is there that opioid use quickly becomes out of control or dependency on opioids begin. Opioid use is extremely dangerous because opioids are highly addictive and can be deadly. Many campuses are requiring their emergency personnel to have Narcan (naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdose) readily available to administer to students that have overdosed, but often the overdose is still fatal.

Young adults between 18 and 25 are the most vulnerable to opioid abuse. Commonly abused opioids include codeine, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone.

Factors That Contribute to Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is enhanced among college students because of:

  • Peer Pressure: Other students use opioids to get a “high” at parties and in order to fit in socially, students try the substances for themselves and get quickly dependent.
  • Curiosity: Many students in college explore many new aspects in their lives. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to experiment with drugs.
  • Stress: For many, high school is a “walk in the park”. With college life, students may find class workload, part-time jobs, financial obligations, busy schedules and social pressures to be overwhelming. Drugs become a way to cope.
  • Less Supervision: When students are living away from home for the first time and away from the “watchful eye” of parents, it is easy to try a new substance without being caught. With no accountability of actions, students easily lose control.

It also happens that students start using opioids for none of the reasons above but that their doctor prescribes an opioid for an injury or illness to relieve pain. They may find that they are needing more and more of the drug to relieve the pain, and eventually the prescription runs out. Students may then turn to heroin or fentanyl, both extremely dangerous opioids that are highly addictive and and can lead to opioid overdose. Every day, 115 Americans die from opioid overdose.

Signs a Student May be Suffering From Opioid Abuse:

  • Lack of interest in classwork or attending class
  • Loss of interest in previously desired activities
  • Moodiness and depression
  • Hanging out with new friends that use drugs
  • Change in sleeping patterns or weight
  • Financial difficulties


If you or a loved one are dealing with opioid abuse, know that opioid addiction can be treated effectively. AMC Nashville or AMC Columbus is here to help you. We have individualized treatment plans that will help you safely detox with medication management and you will also receive professional counseling and group support that will fit in your schedule. Take that first step to recovery with a confidential call to us today.

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