May 27, 2020

College Students Often Begin Using During the Summer

College students are most likely to try drugs or alcohol for the first time during the summer, according to a SAMHSA study that tracks the first use of substances amoung college kids. 

Data from 2002 through 2013 showed that there are – on average – 1,000 new marijuana smokers each day. However, in June the level peaks at about 1,500 full-time college student marijuana initiates a day.

The numbers were similar for alcohol use. On average, about 1,200 students begin using alcohol each day, but that number rises to about 1,800 during the summer. 

“These findings show that college students are vulnerable to substance use at any time – not just when they are away at school,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto.  “That means that parents, college counselors, faculty members, staff, mentors, and other concerned people must take every opportunity to talk with college students about the risks of substance use and where they can turn to for help.”

However, winter seems to be the peak season for full-time college students to start using prescription drugs, such as pain relievers and stimulants, in non-medical ways.  Approximately 251,000 full-time college students started the non-medical use of pain relievers in the past year – on average 700 initiates a day.  During December, however, this rate rises to 850 initiates a day.



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