July 30, 2019

As students prepare to head back to college in August, American Addiction Centers is releasing some sobering statistics about drug and alcohol use among students. The college-aged demographic has some of the highest levels of substance use, which can negatively affect the college experience and lead to addiction. As many as 1 in 3 students say that they have abused alcohol at one point and 1 in 5 have used an illicit drug.

Substance use in college is a trend with no end in sight. According to a survey, 62% of college students drank within the past month. Research also shows that college students have high rates of amphetamine use with nearly 10% of college students admitting to misusing Adderall.

Missy Pollack, alumni coordinator at Recovery First Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, has nearly five years in recovery after her own battle with addiction. Having been exposed to alcohol and other substances at events such as college sports games, Pollack can attest to the availability of substances on campus.

“I was introduced to Adderall during finals week of my very first semester of college,” said Pollack. “I was sitting in the library, studying for exams, when I was offered the drug. There were plenty of people around, it was not discreet and no one batted an eye.”

After her first time taking the drug, she immediately knew that this was something she would definitely do again, and she did for a number of years. On the outside, her behavior was out of control, but even in the midst of active addiction, she wished someone had noticed her pain and confronted her.

Below are the signs she exhibited, and what she urges friends and family to watch for:

  • A rapid change in appearance
  • Hot-and-cold, awkward behavior that could not be explained as a mood swing
  • Not sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Dishonesty and lying about things just to lie
  • Unexplained paranoia

“I can honestly say that it would have been great if my addiction was caught sooner because it would have saved me so much heartache.”