College towns like Tallahassee, Fla. provide the ultimate party experience. For many college students, it’s the period of time before conforming to the demands of adulthood. Unfortunately, this extreme party culture could be putting a veil over a serious issue, substance abuse.
In college, the weekdays can be extremely stressful, with copious amounts of work. Students look for a stress release during the weekends. For some, this involves binge drinking, illegal substances, and prescription pills.
Kenya Stinyard, a senior criminal justice student at Florida A&M University described a night out with her friends.
“When I go out, more than half the time my friends are heavily intoxicated but I don’t really worry about what they’re doing,” said Stinyard. “I like to hope and believe they won’t put themselves in dangerous situations but sometimes that’s not always the case.”
Like Kenya, many students have become numb to what could be considered substance abuse. The scary truth is that many of these substances are habit-forming and some students are dealing with addictions they are not completely aware of.
Zach Walker, a third year law student at Indiana University, dealt with his roommate developing a drug addiction during his undergrad at IU.
“Chris* was addicted to painkillers and cocaine,” said Walker “As his addiction worsened, it began to affect his relationship with his teammates. I knew he had been stressed out about his obligations as a player and as his addiction grew he became more and more distant from everyone on the team.”
At first, Zach brushed it off and figured Chris just liked to party.
“Chris* began his heavy use of drugs during the latter part of my time as his roommate. At that point many of us weren't aware of the severity because of the amount of partying that sometimes takes place on college campuses,” said Walker. “I felt like I was just living with a person that liked to party real hard.”
Eventually his parents were alerted and Chris withdrew from school to receive treatment. Stories like Chris’ are common and lawmakers have taken notice.
North Carolina’s Governor, Pat McCrory, signed an executive order in May of 2014 that develops a task force to help combat substance abuse issues on college campuses.
“The physical, mental and social costs of addiction can last a lifetime,”said McCroy. “Substance abuse often starts in a person’s youth which is why we are targeting our efforts on early intervention and treatment.”
If you or someone you know may be dealing with addiction or abuse, there are plenty of options to seek help. FAMU’s office of counseling, Sunshine Manor, provides services for substance abuse, addiction, and sexual assault.
*Name changed to protect the individual
For more information/ about Sunshine Manor call 850-599-3145 or National Help Line for Substance Abuse (800) 262-2463