Generally, university students undergo varying experiences during their school life as they handle their studies, social life, and personal affairs. They utilize the majority of their time with their peers exploring new things and enjoying the freedom they have in school away from their parents and guardians' watch. As a result, substance abuse becomes a significant challenge since the students often use their freedoms in school to experiment with drugs. Substance abuse is a critical issue of concern for student affairs, which has resulted from peer pressure and the need to cope with and relieve social and academic burdens in students.
Substance abuse refers to the hazardous use of psychoactive elements such as illegal drugs and alcohol. The substances that are mainly abused include alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana (Johnston et al. 81). Repeated usage of such substances may cause a dependence disorder in the users, which is accompanied by psychological and cognitive changes. Also, when drugs are used habitually, they result in a strong desire to continue using them, which makes it hard for the user to control and avoid them. Some students are usually exposed to substance abuse before they join college, but others start using drugs during their college life.
Several factors lead students to substance abuse. Firstly, campus students are under intense peer pressure, which often leads them to drug abuse. The students who engage in groups that experiment on drugs for reasons such as fun and performance enhancement are more likely to try such drugs themselves. Secondly, students turn to drugs due to stress that arises from social, personal, and academic obligations (Correia, James, and Nancy 28). For instance, some students turn to stimulants when they are overburdened by course work to help them stay awake to complete their assignments or study to meet the set deadlines. Thirdly, curiosity may also lead some students to abuse drugs. They explore and feel the need to try and understand new things and such as drive may dip them into drug abuse. Substance abuse is a significant problem affecting college students, and it should be taken with serious concern since it is detrimental to both their academic and health life.
The policymakers determine the eligible families for the housing program by assessing the wages and the sizes of such families. The families that qualify for the program are supposed to meet the family size and wage requirements based on the region in which they live (Ellen, 2020). Families may wait for a substantial amount of time before their vouchers are granted. Nonetheless, the preference is usually given to families that live in houses that have substandard environments, high rental costs, and individuals who are homeless (Ellen, 2020). In this program, it is assumed that households that live in affordable and decent premises do not need support since they can expense comfortably for rental payments. Families eligible for the program are offered with diverse options from which they chose the most convenient dwellings for their members.
Substance abuse is a critical issue affecting student affairs since it impacts negatively on the wellbeing and growth of students. Students who engage in drug abuse undergo behavioral changes that impact negatively on their overall performance in school and social life. The rate at which drugs are abused on campus is high, and this has increased the possibility of addiction and drug tolerance in the students (Johnston et al. 85). Students may have no history in drug abuse, but when they join college, they indulge in alcohol and harder drugs such as party drugs and hallucinogens, which risks the chemical dependence in their brains. Therefore, students' welfare is affected as they start relying on drugs for stimulation, which becomes hard to stop. Students' affairs educators are concerned with the reckless lives that students lead due to drug abuse. Alcohol is one of the widely abused substances in college since it is also widely accepted for consumption in society (Johnston et al. 85). However, alcohol consumption results in irresponsible behaviors and violence in students.
Similarly, students falsely consider marijuana harmless, and they use it in parties, to relax their nerves, and to stimulate sleep. As a result, they postpone their school activities and assignments, which is irresponsible academic behavior. Some drugs, such as cocaine, are expensive, but students do everything they can to obtain it (Correia, James, and Nancy 30). It is mainly used to lighten the partying environment, and others use it while alone, but it leads to detrimental effects such as brain damage. Every drug impacts the lives of the students severely; therefore, the student affairs educators feel the pressure of such an issue.
Substance abuse has detrimental effects on students. Firstly, a decrease in academic performance is one of the significant noticeable impacts of substance abuse. Students who abuse drugs miss their classes often as well as exams due to hangovers or irresponsibility. As a result, they are unable to keep up with their academics, and this decreases their overall performance in school (Johnston et al. 91). Secondly, drug abuse results in both physical and psychological effects on the students. Substances such as alcohol lead to physical injuries, damage to internal body organs, and brain dysfunction. Students also experience emotional problems, poor judgment, and perception, which causes the risk of depression in them.
Moreover, students are unable to manage their finances since they have to cater for the drugs and other basic needs such as food, and studying materials. When the money is unavailable, some resort to robbery to obtain money to cater for their drug needs (Correia, James, and Nancy 30). Legal action is also taken on students who abuse drugs since such actions are federal crimes. The different impacts of substance abuse on students are manifested in their grades, health conditions, behavioral changes, and school attendance.
Substance abuse should be dealt with to enhance the development and wellbeing of university students. Therefore student affairs educators have a crucial role to play to ensure that the students are saved from the drug abuse menace. The educators should enlighten the students and remind them of their core purpose in school, which is academic, cognitive, and behavioral development. Students should be notified of the importance of maintaining focus in their core objective in school to avoid risky behaviors such as drug abuse (Johnston et al. 85). Also, student affairs educators should provide programs in which students are enlightened about the detrimental effects of drugs on their health, academics, and life in general. Besides, students should be counseled on how to manage social pressures such as those from their peers to help them understand that they should engage in quality associations with other students.
The main functional areas that can address the drug abuse issue are counseling departments, families, and school management. The family unit should be responsible for the proper upbringing of children. Setting exemplary standards at home can help the students to grow up in an environment that enhances their moral conduct (Johnston et al. 90). Parents should guide the students at home to allow them to cope with challenges such as peer pressure in school. Also, parents should monitor how college students spend their finances and avoid pampering them with excess finances since such money is used to fund their drug abuse needs. Besides, the school management can control drug abuse by banning them and setting strict rules do deal with the students who are found with the substances (Correia, James and Nancy 40). The counseling department is also crucial in curbing the drug abuse problem as students are guided on how to alleviate stress and social pressures to prevent them from turning to drug abuse for comfort. Drug abuse is usually associated with influence from peers, anxiety, and stress. Therefore, counselors offer psychological support to the students, which helps them make the right decisions, control their emotions, and relieve stress.
Student affairs educators have the responsibility to ensure that students are at their best and that their welfare is considered. Thus, it is recommendable for educators to perform several roles to curb the challenges experienced as a consequence of drug abuse. The students should be screened regularly for substance abuse (Johnston et al. 95). The victims of any substance abuse need help through the detox process guidance on how to avoid such problems in the future. Besides, educators should provide students with adequate information to help them learn about drug abuse and addiction. For instance, academic curricula should contain subjects on substance abuse to help students understand the issue and the risks involved. Moreover, student affairs educators should engage other community partners in prevention, interventions, and remedy of problems related to substance abuse (Correia, James and Nancy 55). They should partner with legal officials and rehabilitation centers to help in alleviating the risks of drug abuse in college students.
Substance abuse is one of the significant issues that affect college students today and has become a critical concern for student affairs. A majority of students are involved in drug abuse due to social pressures, personal issues, academic workload, and the need to explore. The substances that are commonly abused include alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and Adderall, which is believed to help students study for a long time by keeping them awake. Such drugs impact adversely on the students as they lead to poor academic performance, increased violence, financial issues, and poor social relations. Parents, school administrators, counselors, and student affairs educators can play a critical role in helping college students avoid substance abuse and heal from the effects of such drugs.
Correia, Christopher J., et al. College Student Alcohol Abuse: a Guide to Assessment, Intervention, and Prevention. John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
Johnston, Lloyd D., et al. "Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2014: Volume II, college students and adults ages 19-55." (2015): 81-367.
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