Forty-nine percent (3.8 million) of full time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription and illegal drugs, according to Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at America?s Colleges and Universities, a new report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
The study also finds that 1.8 million full-time college students (22.9 percent) meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence,[i] two and one half times the 8.5 percent of the general population who meet these same criteria.
The comprehensive 231-page report, the result of more than four years of research, surveys, interviews and focus groups is the most extensive examination ever undertaken of the substance abuse situation on the nation?s college campuses.
?It?s time to get the ?high? out of higher education,? said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA?s chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. ?Under any circumstances acceptance by administrators, trustees, professors and parents of this college culture of alcohol and other drug abuse is inexcusable. In this world of fierce global competition, we are losing thousands of our nation?s best and brightest to alcohol and drugs, and in the process robbing them and our nation of their promising futures.?
The report finds that from 1993 to 2005 there has been no real decline in the proportion of students who drink (70 to 68 percent) and binge drink (40 to 40 percent). However, the intensity of excessive drinking and rates of drug abuse have jumped sharply:
? Between 1993 and 2001 the proportion of students who binge drink frequently[ii] is up 16 percent; who drink on 10 or more occasions in a month, up 25 percent; who get drunk at least three times a month, up 26 percent; and who drink to get drunk, up 21 percent.
? Between 1993 and 2005 the proportion of students abusing prescription drugs increased:
343 percent for opioids like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin;
93 percent for abuse of stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall;
450 percent for tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium;
225 percent for sedatives like Nembutal and Seconal.
? Between 1993 and 2005, the proportion of students who:
o Use marijuana daily more than doubled to 310,000.
o Use cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs (except marijuana), is up 52 percent to 636,000.
Consequences of Abuse
Consequences of substance abuse on college campuses include:
? 1, 717 deaths from unintentional alcohol-related injuries in 2001, up six percent from 1998;
? A 38 percent increase from 1993 to 2001 in the proportion of students injured as a result of their own drinking;
? A 21 percent increase from 2001 to 2005 in the average number of alcohol-related arrests per campus. In 2005, alcohol-related arrests constituted 83 percent of campus arrests;
? 97,000 students were victims of alcohol-related rape or sexual assaults in 2001;
? 696,000 students were assaulted by a student who had been binge drinking in 2001.
These statistics come from a variety of analyses using the best and most recent data available.