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What do parents need to know about college drug use?

You drop your child off at college, trusting that they will graduate in a few years prepared to tackle their chosen profession. While college provides students with many positive academic, athletic and social opportunities, there are also hidden dangers to college life that many parents fail to notice.

Alcohol and drug abuse is a serious issue facing college campuses. According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey, 23 percent of college students used an illegal drug within the month leading up to the study. What should parents know about college drug use to keep their kids safe?

What types of illegal drugs are students abusing?

College campuses see a variety of drug types; however, a few of the most commonly abused drugs include:

  • Marijuana
  • Adderall and other prescription stimulants
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy

Why is drug use rampant on college campuses?

Parents are surprised to learn that 4-year college students are twice as likely to abuse drugs as their non-college attending peers.

College is the first time that most young adults leave their parents’ home and experience unsupervised freedom. While a necessary step for all youth to take, their new circumstances can lead to:

  • Increased stress and inappropriate drug use to relieve overwhelming feelings of pressure
  • Peer pressure as students seek to find their place within a new circle of friends
  • Curiosity to try new experiences as they are presented with illegal substances for the first time

What happens if your child gets caught with illegal drugs?

The state of Georgia takes drug possession very seriously. If your child is convicted of drug possession, their driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. If they are caught a second time, they will lose their license for a full year.

Drug possession convictions are accompanied by high fines and can lead to a prison sentence. The length of the sentence varies depending upon a variety of factors, including the type of the drug in possession.

If your child is under the age of 18, and are tried in juvenile court, they would face different potential repercussions. Instead of jail time, they may be temporarily placed in a youth development center, or within a drug treatment program.

What can you do to protect your child?

The best way you can help your child is to discuss the dangers of illegal drug use with them, and the legal penalties that they could face. Most college students do not consider the negative impact that drugs could have on their life when they are with their friends at a party or a bar.

Unfortunately, you cannot make decisions for your child. Despite your best efforts, they may experiment with drug use and end up with possession charges. If they face drug charges, contact an attorney immediately. An experienced attorney will evaluate all aspect of their arrest, and your child’s case in general, to formulate a strong defense and help protect their future.

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