When we go to parties on our various college campuses, we rarely note the amount of alcohol being consumed; we only note that it is present. However, it has recently been noted on college campuses all across the country that the amount of students using illegal drugs – more specifically, marijuana – has drastically increased over the last few years.
In a recent study completed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over 17.4 million Americans were using marijuana, compared to the 14.4 million in 2007. Of the 18-25 year olds among this staggering 17.4 million people, 21.5% of college-aged students were marijuana users, up from 19.6% in 2008.
Different theories have begun to develop on why this increase has occurred among the group of people who are at one of the most crucial times in their lives. Perhaps it is because students are maturing more slowly; we are putting off the responsibilities of adulthood for longer than they’ve ever been put off before. Post-grad, many students decide to take gap years, travel, or participate in low or non-paying jobs (Teach for America and the like), just to avoid the responsibilities of the corporate world.
Maybe smoking pot has something to do with this. Maybe people are extending the glory of their young adult lives by immersing themselves completely in activities that will soon be more frowned upon as the individuals age.
Or maybe it is on a parallel with the binge drinking that goes on weekly, perhaps daily, on our campuses. With students heavily influenced by the media and entertainment business, it is no wonder so many students participate in these unhealthy activities that their “role models” advocate. Students have said that marijuana, similar to alcohol, is a sort of stress reliever after a long day’s worth of work. No matter what the reasoning – delaying the future or living in the moment – fact is fact; marijuana use is more prevalent than ever among our peers.