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Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Services for College/University Students in Canada

Drug and alcohol abuse on Canadian college/university campuses is a problem that affects thousands of students each year. Excessive alcohol use, for example, is a common problem on Canadian college campuses, and it often starts the first day of classes. Students are exposed to various lifestyles, such as alcohol use, recreational drug use, and the use of study drugs. The Canadian Center for Substance Abuse and Addiction (CCSA) reports that aside from alcohol, 18% of post-secondary students reported using marijuana in the past 30 days. Roughly around 2% of college students reported using illicit substances in the past 30 days, and the perception is that most of their peer's abuse drugs. There are many reasons why Canadian students choose to abuse drugs or alcohol. There is freedom with unsupervised college life, and some do it to improve socializing and feeling lonely. One of the most common reasons is to manage stress, escape reality, and function day-to-day. Marijuana is still the most widely used substance on college campuses. There is also a high prevalence of prescription medication abuse, such as with Adderall. Prescription stimulants are often abused during exam time and are used as study aids, which are obtained from other students and a prescribing doctor.

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Students going to college or university face several challenges such as the changes with friends and independent living. Time management is often viewed by students as being difficult to do, and on some campuses, students report challenges with accessing health services. According to the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) in 2017 the use of illegal drugs was higher among males than females. 20% of those who were between 15 and 19 years of age were using illegal drugs, and 35% of young adults between 20 to 24 years of age were using illegal substances. The American College Health Association survey conducted among Canadian colleges in 2017 revealed in the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health (CJCMH) that 70% of students reported they consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. Around 35% of students reported they had consumed five or more drinks on a single occasion within the past two weeks. This technically fits into the definition of binge Definition of the word binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking. Binge drinking is one of the most widely recognized problems in Canadian colleges and universities.

Maclean’s Magazine published an article talking about some of the top party schools in 2019. Queens University, for example, has a reputation for being one of those schools. A police presence in the Queens University District on the weekends is not uncommon. The street party scene at the university got so out of hand it led to the city of Kingston taking drastic actions. In 2018, the city of Kingston, Ontario passed the Nuisance Party Bylaw. This allows police to disperse large out of control parties. Moreover, they can issue fines starting at $500, and a new deterrent under the University District Safety Initiative no longer allows students to pay their fines online. Each student who is fined is required to appear before a justice of the peace in the Kingston courthouse. This causes their names to be released back to the university where they can later be charged under the student code of conduct, resulting in severe academic consequences. Large unsanctioned street parties in the Kingston University District were the driving factor for this.

College and university students who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction should be reaching out for help. Most college campuses have student health services, college counseling programs, or even student-operated sober initiatives. If you ignore the problem and allow it to persist throughout your college career, you are placing your academic performance at risk. Even being charged with a drug or alcohol-related offense will make it difficult to find employment after school. There are many ways to avoid excessive drinking and drug use. It is important to stay informed, and know your limits, and reach out for help if you feel affected by drug and alcohol use.

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Sylvain Fournier

Sylvain Fournier | Bio

Across Canada, there are many different treatment options to choose from, private, government-funded, inpatient, and outpatient. See More