Interesting College Alcohol and Drug Use Statistics

In the year 2000 there were approximately 85,000 deaths in the US attributable to hazardous drinking—making alcohol the third actual leading cause of death.

Abuse of alcohol and drugs on college campuses is a primary concern of parents sending their children off to school and on their own for the first time. The best way to prepare yourself for life changes like these, are to familiarize yourself with information that you can then impart to your child.

Be sure to check out these statistics on drug and alcohol abuse below:

  • 41.5% of college students participate in episodic heavy drinking (5 or more drinks on at least one occasion within 30 days).
  • In 1998, over 500,000 full-time 4-year college students were unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol and over 600,000 were hit or assaulted by another student who had been drinking.
  • In 1998, over 1,400 adolescents enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges died from alcohol-related injuries.
  • In 1998, over 2 million college students in the United States drove under the influence of alcohol and over 3 million rode with a driver who had been drinking.
  • 40% of all crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol.
  • 40% of persons convicted of rape or sexual assault state they were drinking at the time of the offence.
  • 72% of rapes on college campuses occur while victims are intoxicated to the point that they are unable to consent or refuse sex.
  • A 2003 poll shows that 8.2% of persons 12 and older have used illicit drugs in the last month.
  • 28.8 % of college students use cigarettes.
  • 17.3% of college students use marijuana.
  • 6.6% of college students have used cocaine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1997, November). National college health risk behavior survey (NCHRBS): MMWR, 46(SS-6).
Hingson, R. W., Heeren, T., Zakocs, R., Kopstein, A., & Wechsler, H. (2001). Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24. Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston: Boston University School of Public Health.
National Center for Health Statistics. (2004). Health, United States, 2004: With chartbook on trends in the health of Americans. Hyattsville, Maryland: Author.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1997, November). National college health risk behavior survey (NCHRBS): MMWR, 46(SS-6).

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Dr. Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore, PhD, is Founder and Chair at Thriveworks — a counseling practice focused on premium client care, with 340+ locations across the US. Anthony is a Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and author of "How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice". He is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

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