College party scenes have alway been a known hotbed for underage drinking. But in addition to alcohol consumption on college campuses, a recent study suggests marijuana use has increased in frequency among 20-somethings.
Illicit drug use is on the rise across the nation, spurred mostly by increased marijuana use, according to a Sept. 10 USA TODAY article. A study conducted by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 17.4 million Americans were using marijuana in 2010, up from 14.4 million users in 2007.
Marijuana use among young adults aged 18 to 25 was found most responsible for the rise. Drug use among college-aged students has jumped from 19.6 percent in 2008 to 21.5 percent in 2010.
Students on the Syracuse University campus agree that, though it’s difficult to track whether marijuana use has risen or not, the drug does have a presence on campus.
Selma Krdzic, a junior math education major at SU, said both she and friends have attended parties where marijuana use is prevalent. Though Krdzic said she feels college students are, in general, “crazy,” media has helped contribute to the increase in marijuana use.
Krdzic said she feels more students have smoked marijuana after hearing references to the drug by mainstream figures such as rappers.
Katie Lynn-Vecqueray, an undecided freshman at SU, said drug use at her high school in Denver was not an issue. Vecqueray has noticed marijuana use on the SU campus, but said she cannot say, with certainty, that this indicates a rise in the use of the drug.
“There has been a shift. I’m not sure if that’ll be a rise in it,” she said.
Vecqueray said college provides students a space to get ahold of marijuana and other drugs more easily.
“I think it’s definitely easier for kids to find a network of people where they can get illegal substances, especially if they’re underage.”
Joseph Pham, a sophomore English major at the University of California Riverside, said multiple factors go into students’ decision to smoke marijuana.
Stress and the ability to completely unwind after working hard academically often contribute to students’ decision to smoke, he said.
Pham likened marijuana use among college students to alcohol consumption among the same demographic.
“You’re allowed to get wasted and sleep on the front porch. Being a college student is a legitimate excuse,” he said.
He said marijuana is both accessible and socially acceptable among other college students, though, as with any drug, overuse might “throw you off your track.”
Vecqueray, the undecided freshman at SU, said college students aren’t equipped with all the decision-making tools to make a fully educated decision regarding marijuana.
“Personally, I don’t approve of it. I don’t really think it should be tolerated all that much,” she said. “At this age, you don’t realize the effects it can have on you long-term…I think you need some more years of maturity behind you to really make an informed decision about it.”
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