Drug Abuse Among TAMU-CC Students

Marijana, cocaine, and hallucinogens are the most commonly used illegal drugs among college students in America.

Photo Courtesy of the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.

Marijana, cocaine, and hallucinogens are the most commonly used illegal drugs among college students in America.

“The college culture is very strong with pressuring chemicals and instant gratification. In my twenty seven years of teaching on campus, I’ve noticed lots of regular alcohol consumption and marijuana use, as well as stimulant drug abuse during finals,” Lon Seiger, the substance abuse professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, stated.

 According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 43% of college students consumed marijuana in 2019. Additionally, 35% of college students in America indicated that they use illegal drugs instead of prescription drugs. Out of the percentage of college students who use illegal drugs, 93% use marijuana, 37% use cocaine, and 36% use hallucinogens.

TAMU-CC students confirmed the prevalence of marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine use on campus. “A lot of my friends do drugs. Weed and alcohol are the most common, but a lot of people are also involved with cocaine. More people do cocaine than I thought…it is all pretty normalized,” Grace Schutter, a junior psychology major at TAMU-CC, stated. “Personally, I use edibles every now and then, and I also drink on the weekends. My friends also drink alcohol fairly often, and I know people who smoke weed often,” Olivia Saenz, a junior health science major at TAMU-CC, shared.

According to Dr. Seiger, there are many reasons students turn to drugs for relief. The availability of drugs is a large contributor to substance abuse in college. “Students have easy access to drugs and alcohol in college. They are exposed to readily available substances at parties and other gatherings,” Dr. Seiger explained. 

Additionally, students use drugs to enhance recreational activities, such as fishing and boating, to feel less inhibited at social gatherings, to rebel, to feel more connected to others, to function normally, to experiment, and to deal with trauma and pain. Ali Francisco, a senior environmental sciences major at TAMU-CC, explained how trauma from relationships has led her friends to become dependent on marijauna. “Substance abuse is a serious issue that is way more common than people think. Multiple friends of mine are currently healing from toxic relationships that produced anxiety and made them dependent on marijuana. They say it helps numb the anxious feelings but they feel even more anxiety when not on the drug. This form of self medicating with illegal substances has produced unhealthy cycles in their lives, making them feel like they need to be high all the time in order to function adequately,” Ali stated. 

Peer pressure is also a common reason students turn to drugs. “As a ninth grader in high school I was pressured to smoke hash, which is three times stronger than marijuana. This experimentation led to seven years of use,” Dr. Seiger shared.

According to Dr. Seiger, the best way for students to avoid drugs is to seek “natural highs” instead of chemical highs. There are many natural highs people can chase to help them deal with life. Enjoying nature, exercising, traveling, meditating, and spending time with pets are just a few ways to seek joy.

 “Art is my favorite activity for relieving stress. To stop using, spirituality and my relationships with my friends and family helped me the most. You can’t let yourself get to the point where chemicals are more important than the people you love,” Dr. Seiger stated. 

“I hope that students who use drugs are aware of the slippery and slimy slope they are on. It’s easy for students to think that dependence and addiction won’t happen to them, but it can happen to anyone. It’s important to be humble enough to seek help and treatment. Students should know that there are people who care for them and want them to have a life full of potential. If they continue to use drugs, they will face many challenges and health problems down the road. I would like to wake students up and ask them: is this really what you want for your life?” Dr. Seiger stated. 

For alcohol and substance abuse resources for students, visit: https://www.tamucc.edu/icare/student-resources.php