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Erica Guo
Doug Gilbert
Social Justice
February 15th, 2016
Addiction and Its Challenges
Addiction, or substance abuse, is a serious mental illness that is prevalent among college
and high school students today. Benjamin Rush, one of Americas founding fathers, was the first
to posit that alcoholism was not a moral blunder, but a disease that should be treated. (White).
From 1919 to 1924, many communities established morphine maintenance communities to care
for addicts. In 1974, American counselors were first credentialized to work in alcohol and drug
treatment programs. Even back then, drugs were a problem, and they increasingly become so
among youth. Alcohol abuse, and drug abuse, is highly correlated with poor academic
performance and truancy (Caron).
Currently, organizations are trying their best to address drug abuse among high school
students and college students. Addiction Center, for example, is an online resource that connects
networks of treatment centers. It has a confidential hotline for addicts to express their thoughts
that provide access to treatment, guidance, and financial assistance options (Addiction Center
About Us Comments). College Parents of America is an organization that assists parents of

addicts on their path to recovery (Addiction Prevention - College Students.). There is even a
recovery-based high school called SLAM (Sobriety Learning and Motivation) that accepts
addicted students and attempts to rehabilitate them (SLAM NYC).
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Drug abuse exists for a wide variety of reasons (Addiction Center College Drug Abuse
Comments). For college students and high school students alike, stress is a primary factor. Social

obligations and rigorous academic course loads can lead young adults to pursue an outlet for
their stress. Another major reason is to improve academic performance. Students can develop
addictions to stimulants such as Adderall, which helps them stay awake to complete assignments
or study. Third, they can merely be curious and try experimenting with drugs. Finally, college
students are peer pressured into use drugs because it is hip or cool. There are also genetic
factors at play -- perhaps certain hereditary features cause certain students to become addicts.
As a solution, colleges should offer more methods to contain addiction. Prevention is the
best method. Since colleges have an especially high rate of addiction (22.9%) compared to the
rest of the country (Learn Psychology), they should include information about substance abuse in
their curriculum. Colleges should also more thoroughly screen all students, new and current
students, for addictive behaviors, and monitor rates of student substance use in order to improve
programs. Another helpful thing to do would be to restrict classes and exams to weekdays, so
students have less incentive to release stress on the weekends. Because most high schools are
public, state governments should strive to include more information on the consequences of drug
abuse in education. Also, high school boards should make addiction recovery and prevention
resources readily available to students.

Works Cited

"Addiction Center - Connecting Addicts With the Best Treatment." Addiction Center About Us Comments.
N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. <>

"Addiction Prevention - College Students." Addiction Prevention - College Students. N.p., n.d. Web. 16
Feb. 2016. <>.

"College Campus Addiction Resource Guidebook |" Psychology. Learn

Psychology, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <>.

"College Drug Abuse - Alcohol and Drug Addiction in College Students." Addiction Center College Drug
Abuse Comments. Addiction Center, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

"School Problems & Addiction." Caron. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.

"SLAM NYC." SLAM NYC. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016. <ttp://>.

White, William. "Significant Events in the History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America."
William White Papers (n.d.): 1-18. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.