For one student, it began with a painkiller snorted in a friend’s basement. For another, it was speed, pushed by the boy in the next locker.

College Drug Abuse: Opioids on the Quad

College drug abuse is a widespread crisis on campuses nationwide. For many college students, the road to opioid addiction begins with one or two pills given to them by another student. This can quickly lead to increasingly frequent and dangerous drug use.

Heroin is easy to obtain and relatively cheap. Some students who become addicted to heroin end up dropping out of college. Although studies show that heroin and painkiller usage has stopped increasing, overdose deaths have continued to rise. This is due to even stronger and more addictive substances that are easily obtainable.

The opioid epidemic has become more widely used over the last decade resulting in an increase in deaths. “Opioid-related deaths among Americans age 24 and under almost doubled from 2005 to 2015, when 3,165 were reported, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of opioid-related emergency room visits by young people also nearly doubled over five years.” Overdose reversal kits are one method being used to combat the opioid crisis, and they are becoming more available both on and off campus.

Responses to Drug Abuse in College

Many colleges nationwide are addressing college drug abuse. This is through awareness programs and support groups for students and family members. Some schools have arranged to house students in recovery. This is giving them common ground and the opportunity to socialize without risking their sobriety. In addition, some universities are providing drug-prevention courses for incoming students. Also, they are providing overdose prevention training to resident assistants, campus police, and other on-campus staff.

Prescription medications like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication and painkillers are widely available and have become a growing problem. Because these drugs have become commonplace in our society, the dangers have been easy to overlook, and physicians are being advised to lower the number of addictive medications that they prescribe. In addition, family members should get rid of unused prescriptions that could be potential sources for addiction. To read more about how to practice safety around prescription drugs, see the source article at the New York Times website.

College drug abuse shouldn’t be treated as a moral failure. Instead, it should be treated as a mental illness. For more information about how Hayver can help with substance abuse recovery, including our family and friends Circle of Support, check out our website at or contact us at info(at)