Drug dependency is defined as a state in which a person only functions normally in the presence of the drug, usually due to repeated use of the drug.
According to the AddictionCenter from the Delphi Behavioral Health group, college students are one of the largest groups of people who misuse drugs in the United States and people between the ages of 18 and 24 are at a heightened risk of substance misuse.
Students’ dependency on various substances can be a result of factors such as pressure to fit into a new environment and handle academic stress. On the other hand, substance misuse can also lead to addiction, which is characterized by changes in behavior.
Every quarter, UCLA sends out a substance misuse brochure, detailing the campus’ stance on drug use and possession. Though one part covers the resources available to those living with drug addiction, the brochure also mentions the consequences which those caught violating the policies may face. These potential consequences students can encounter promote a silencing of the issue and the stigma already shrouding drug dependency and addiction.
People with drug addictions are associated with many negative characteristics, according to Adi Jaffe, a former UCLA psychology lecturer and nationally recognized expert on mental health, addiction and stigma.
The perpetuation of the stigma behind drug dependence and addiction, despite the availability of resources, dissuades students on campus from opening up about their experiences with drug dependence and addiction and seeking the appropriate help to put them on the road to recovery.
The influence of stigma on one’s ability to recover can be complicated and complex, but defining a solution to the issue can start with understanding the various factors that make college students more susceptible to drug misuse, dependency and addiction.