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How To Have the Talk About Alcohol and Drug Use in College

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Sending your child off to college may be one of the most stressful times of your parenting life. You’ve spent years teaching and preparing your child for the future, and now the time has come to see if your lessons have been heard. As parents, we know that our job is to raise children who can go off, be independent, and live their lives. However, knowing this time in their life is inevitable doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye at that college dorm. Instead, you may find yourself wanting to reteach all of the lessons again, especially the ones about alcohol and drug use in college. At Thrive Treatment, we appreciate how difficult it can be to see your children leave home for college. 

Is Alcohol and Drug Use in College Common?

Unfortunately, drinking alcohol in college has grown to be seen as an integral part of going to college. Researchers found that almost 53 percent of full-time college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month, and about 33 percent engaged in binge drinking during that same time frame. 

Over time, parents and college administrators have realized that college drinking has become out of control. With too many students dying from alcohol-related injuries or finding themselves the victims of assaults, colleges have had to implement programs and policies to increase awareness around college drinking dangers. With all the focus on alcohol specifically, there has been less focus on college drug use and, therefore, less is known about its prevalence. While researchers have found that marijuana is the most widely-used college drug, they have also discovered an increasing number of college students abusing prescription drugs. 

How To Talk To My Kid About Alcohol and Drug Use in College

The key to talking to your kid about alcohol and drug use in college is to realize that you’re starting an ongoing conversation. You will not speak once about this topic. You are opening the line of communication and you must do so in a way that invites your kid to talk as much as listen. While it can be hard to see that our children are growing into adults, it’s helpful to keep this in mind when having these conversations. The reality is that you will no longer have control over your child’s daily activities but you can arm them with the best information possible. To start the dialogue, you can explain the consequences of alcohol and drug use in college. Your college kid must understand that there can be health, academic, safety, and legal consequences to drinking alcohol. Ask them to think about how they will respond if they find themselves in a situation where they feel pressured to drink or use drugs? Encourage them to keep talking to you and reach out if the alcohol and drug use scene at their college makes them uncomfortable. Remind them that prescription drugs should only be taken by the person they are prescribed to and in the way specified. Most importantly, let your college kid know that you trust them to make good decisions and let them know that while you’ll be a little further away, you will always be in their corner. 

Get Help Today With Addiction at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to create success in sobriety.  We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put your loved one on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  If your college student develops a problem with drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help them. Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we can provide your loved one with an individualized plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help your loved one with addiction!  

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