Introduction of the Issue
The survey by NIDA shows that the use of stimulating drugs (Aderall, Ritalin), alcohol, and marijuana has grown significantly over the last years (College‐age trends in drug use: Marijuana and nonmedical use of Rx stimulants rising, 2015). Unfortunately, regardless of all the reforms and policies designed to address the problem of drug abuse by the youth and adults in the United States, the issue still exists and it is all-consuming. The substance abuse has been carrying a character of an epidemic ever since the 1960s (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2012). This problem is widespread and common, it affects most of the American higher educational facilities, decreases the academic success of the learners, exposes them to acts of violence caused by intoxications, and long-term negative effects on their health (White & Rabiner, 2012).
Drug Abuse at Florida International University
The leaders and administration of Florida International University are concerned with drug abuse at their facility. That is why this issue is addressed by the university policies that prohibit the manufacturing, use, and distribution of any addictive substances on the territory of the campus. At Florida International University drugs and addictive substances are recognized and addressed as serious threats to the health and wellbeing of the students.
Development of the Issue
Drug abuse in the educational facilities is a common tendency in the United States. As stated by Johnston (2010), about 69% of all drug abuse cases occur within the territories of campuses. FIU’s drug abuse problem evolved from the students’ use of medications for cognitive-behavioral disorders such as mental and emotional issues, or learning disabilities. The drug intake at FIU has been stably increasing ever since the university was founded in 1965 and has tripled by today. As a result, this issue is currently imposing a serious threat to the university.
Need for Prevention
There are five main groups of stakeholders of this problem – university students, teachers and administration, health care professionals, the state and local government, and the community in general. All of them are affected by the drug abuse at the university and are directly or indirectly interested in the prevention of this issue.
The President of Florida International University has expressed his point of view on the matter of drug abuse among the students and has admitted that this issue has become common at FIU which is unacceptable. Therefore, Rosenberg emphasized the need for an efficient intervention program. Besides, the President ha noticed that the voluntary counseling programs for the students with addictions to drugs and alcohol have demonstrated significant positive results and helped reduce the number of students with problems. The President also added that the collaboration of all the stakeholders (parents, teachers, the government, and medical professionals) is vital for the intervention to work successfully.
University and Drug Abuse
As an educational facility any university is a place where the learners of different backgrounds interact and may affect one another. A university is the basis for the future life of the students. The university’s role in the community is to deliver knowledge, teach strong ethics and morals, and be responsible for the wellbeing and health of the students. That way, a university is to provide the learners with information on drugs, substance abuse, and behaviors in emergency situations related to drugs. Besides, a university is to collaborate with the rest of the community, and work out solutions for the problem of drug abuse among students.
Potential Solution: Drug Abuse as a Subject
One of the potential solutions for the issues of drug abuse is the improvement of the students’ literacy on the matter. A recent survey showed that at least 37% of the young people who ingest opoids regularly are unaware of the measures that need to be taken in cases of overdose (College-age youths need information on opoids overdose, 2015). Adding Drug Abuse as a subject to the curriculum at FIU will not only provide the required information, but also warn the students about the negative effects and outcomes of drugs along with promoting healthy lifestyle.
Another solution that has been applied at Florida International University earlier is counseling on the territory of the educational facility. The university has a counseling department that is specifically involved into the communication with the students concerning their problems of various types. To address the growing problem and be able to cover the large number of students who might come for help, the department needs to be expanded. Besides, the relationships between the students and the university teachers and administration need to be improved so that the former were wore open about asking for advice or help within the university community.
Apart from educational, and psychological approaches to the problem of drug abuse in the university, the FIU authorities also should address the issue legally enforcing strict rules when it comes to dealing, use, and manufacturing addictive drugs of any kinds on the territory of the university. Moreover, the promotion of drug use has to be prohibited as well to minimize the university’s contribution to the growth of the drug use in the country and within the facility.
Discussion with the Stakeholders
A meeting with the stakeholders needs to take place in order for the university to be able to enforce the newly developed intervention program successfully. The stakeholders will be gathered and informed about the objectives and course of the program. Their questions and propositions will be answered, their ideas – discussed. The meeting is crucial for the further collaboration of the community groups for possible assistance with the program.
Outcome: The Student’s Wellbeing and Health
According to the research by Palmer et al. (2012), many of the students who use drugs notice negative impacts on their health and are interested in interventions. Drug use intervention program at FIU will provide the required guidance to those who are concerned about their substance intake. As a result, many students will benefit from the program in relation to health and wellbeing both short and long term.
Drug addicts need their substances on physical and psychological levels. May students believe that drugs enhance their learning abilities (help to calm down, relax, focus, enable imagination, give better ideas), but this is nothing but a myth. At the same time, for the students with learning disabilities drugs such as Aderall may be a necessity. Addictions are equally harmful for everyone, killing academic success. That way, preventing drug abuse, the university will ensure proper learning.
FIU is likely to benefit from the program as well. This measure will improve its reputation, attract more learners, and serve as the promotion of the intervention strategy involved.
Limitations of the Solution
Some of the factors may be impossible to address for the program. For example, many harmful habits are developed due to peer-influence and activities that students engage into outside of the university (Duncan, Boisjoly, Kremer, Levy, & Eccles, 2013; Mohanty, Tripathy, Palo, & Jena, 2013). Besides, the learner’s environments may facilitate drug use – stress, emotional crises, depressions. Moreover, some students may simply refuse to participate in the intervention due to their distrust to the university authorities and the community.
To sum up, the problem of FIU has a global character as it affects multiple stakeholders such as students, teachers and administration of the university, the community in general. All of them are interested in the intervention. The possible solutions of the problem include counseling at the university, addition of Drug Abuse as a curriculum subject, legal restrictions for drug use. These measures will result in a number of positive outcomes such as health are safety benefits for the community, academic success of the students, and reputation improvement for the university. One important condition for the intervention to work effectively is the collaboration of all the stakeholders and group effort directed at the problem.
Bickel, W., & DeGrandpre, R. (2013). Drug policy and human nature. New York: Plenum Press.
College‐age trends in drug use: Marijuana and nonmedical use of Rx stimulants rising. (2015). Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly , 27(21).
College-age youths need information on opoids overdose. (2015). Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly , 27(33).
Duncan, G., Boisjoly, J., Kremer, M., Levy, D., & Eccles, J. (2005). Peer Effects in Drug Use and Sex Among College Students. Journal Of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(3), 375- 385.
Johnston, L. (2010). Monitoring the future: National survey results on drug use, 1975-2008. Collingdale, Pennsylvania: Diane Publishing.
Johnston, L., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2012). Monitoring the future: National survey results on drug use, 1975-2012. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.
Mohanty, S., Tripathy, R., Palo, S., & Jena, D. (2013). Socioeconomic, demographic study on substance abuse among students of professional college in a southern town, Berhampur of Odisha state (India). Journal Of Forensic And Legal Medicine, 20(8), 1057-1062.
Palmer, R., McMahon, T., Moreggi, D., Rounsaville, B., & Ball, S. (2012). College Student Drug Use: Patterns, Concerns, Consequences, and Interest in Intervention. Journal Of College Student Development, 53(1), 124-132.