Substance Abuse Among Teenagers, and Academics – Are they Related?
Author: Ashish Ranjan
II Year | School of Law and Governance, Central University of South Bihar
Substance abuse among school and college students has become a serious concern lately. A lot of students get addicted to drugs in their teenage itself. The number of children involved in drug abuse is higher in colleges as compared to schools. The basic reasoning behind this is the new freedom that children find commonly after schools.
Many students, for the first time, experience a different type of independence- away from their parents’ roof, when they step out of their house for higher education. In order to enjoy the newfound liberty, they often indulge in activities like substance abuse.
The Reasons Behind Drug Abuse:
There are many reasons which may lead to such addiction and abuse of drugs. Some of these reasons may be pressure or stress, low marks in academics, dropping out of school, economic problems, suffering physical or emotional abuse etc. It has been observed by the author that students often get addicted to the intoxicating substances because of stress caused due to low marks in exams. A group of drug-addict friends may also influence a student to use drugs.
However, it is also very common among college students to consume drugs voluntarily to get temporary pleasure. The voluntary consumption of drug mainly arises because of curiosity and indulgence in experimentation. The social pattern, family behaviour, locality are the other reasons which could push any child to start consuming drugs.
A survey of 47 drug addict student in a medical college showed that the reason drug abuse was to get relief from psychological stress and occasional celebration was about (34/47, 72.4%), peer pressure (20/47, 46.8%), experimental use (17/47, 36.2%).
Illicit Availability and Its Impact:
The Problem of drug abuse is not only limited to lower institutions but is expanding its horizons in most of the prestigious Engineering and Medical colleges across the country. In 2017, the IIT-Kanpur reached the district administration to tackle the problems of drug abuse on their campus. The local mafias were providing the substances to hundreds of students of their college. The reports suggest that students have easy access to the drugs at the tea stall near the campus.
“It is very difficult to trace the students involved in drugs as they do not show clear symptoms every time,” says Soumyo Mukherjii, dean of IIT Bombay.
Similarly, the availability of drugs in schools and colleges of Goa is very common. The abuse of cheap drug like marijuana can often be traced among students. “Marijuana comes a lot cheap as compared to other intoxicating substance and youth embrace it owing to its association with creativity and off-beat mood, said a law student from Goa”
The easy availability of drugs in and around various educational institutions is also a compelling reason to trigger the consumption of such substances by students studying in those colleges. The variation in the type of drugs also provides the scope to experience different types of substances. The most commonly used drugs are cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogens and tranquillizers. The basic cause behind the use of such drugs is their availability at a cheap price.
The survey result of drug abuse in medical colleges is even more threatening. A survey including 230 students shows the gravity of drug abuse. Out of 230, a whopping one fifth – 20.43% of students were found indulging in drug abuse. The substances used by those students include alcohol (19.13%), cigarettes (10%), cannabis (4.34%), bhang (3.48%), tobacco (2.17 %), and other substances (2.17%). Almost 91% of those students were unaware of its ill effect and legal consequences.
Drugs and Academics:
The illicit availability of drugs within and around schools and college has clinched a number of students in its grasp, which ultimately leads to a decline in their academic record. Frequent use of drugs and alcohols affects the neural system and the brain respectively. This lowers down the thinking ability of a student, thereby resulting in low performance in academic exams, among other things.
Apart from this, other disorders like hypersensitivity can also affect the student’s performance. Continuous use of drugs can make an individual lose their full control over their sense organs. This has the potential impact of making people unable to write with their shaky hands and lowering down their memory capacity due to neural dysfunction.
The problems continue to increase as the bodily demand for drug intake also increases due to addiction. Apart from physiological repercussions, substance abuse also causes social problems. Young adults find themselves tempted to stealing and aggression. This transformation of a child, from student to criminal, destroys their career completely.
Excessive use of drugs compels the students to drop their classes to meet their need for drugs whose direct impact lies upon the academic activity. It is very common among them to deny attending their lectures because of the lack of consciousness and bodily awareness.
Apart from all such dangerous transformations, a drug-addict student also faces mood swing which destroys his friendly relations with other people or students. This leads to further stress and compels addicted persons to use more drugs to seek temporary respite. All these situations invariably lead to the retrogradation of the academic record of a student.
Seeing the ill effects of substance abuse, it becomes very important to dissect and analyze various facets of the issue. It is necessary to prevent cases of drug abuse in schools and colleges.
In order to do so, the first step should be taken by the parents themselves. The impact of a parent on their child lasts for a very long time. They must build a connection of faith and talk to their children about the problems or pressures faced by the children. Their guidance at the initial stage of addiction may even help their child to minimise the damage.
The government must undertake vehement preventive measures against substance abuse in schools and colleges. Restricting unnecessary production of drugs and their delivery to the educational institution should be monitored strictly.
The legislature needs to come with laws regarding the prevention of drug abuse, particularly in relation to educational institutions. Yoga and meditation should be encouraged in schools and colleges to strengthen the will power of students, thus enabling them to avoid willful consumption of intoxicating substances.
Substance abuse is an avoidable crisis and must be prevented in due time, to save the students from bearing far-reaching consequences of this menace.
A. Arora, S. Kannan, P.P. Khosla, Substance abuse amongst the medical graduate student students in a developing country, THE INDIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL RESEARCH (Jan2016),https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822348/
Cocaine in tea stalls: Hundreds of IIT-Kanpur students using drugs, college reaches out to district admin, DNA INDIA (Dec 10, 2017), https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hundreds-of-iit-kanpur-students-in-grip-of-drugs-college-reaches-out-to-district-administration-for-help-2566550/amp
Lavina Mulchandani, Under the influence: As drug abuse grows, colleges are cracking down, M.HINDUSTAN TIMES.COM, (Sep 14, 2016), https://m.hindustantimes.com/education/under-the-influence-as-drug-abuse-grows-colleges-are-cracking-down/story-W1I8aLZYFzH20lG753el3N_amp.html
Newton Sequeira, Goa’s schools & colleges face a new test: Drug addiction, M.TIMES OF INDIA, (Jun 16, 2019) https://m.timesofindia.com/city/goa/goas-schools-colleges-face-a-new-test-drug-addiction/amp_articleshow/69807082.cms
A. Arora, S. Kannan, P.P. Khosla, Substance abuse amongst the medical graduate student students in a developing country, THE INDIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL RESEARCH (Jan2016), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822348/
Edited By: Samiksha Gupta
Founder, Editor and Writer | Leagle Samiksha