Cocaine use grows on college campuses

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College campuses are getting larger, and the use of illegal drugIMG_2280s, specifically cocaine, is growing too.

Trevor Bajkowski, who graduated from West last year and attends Mizzou, said, “I’d estimate roughly one in every fifteen to twenty students at Mizzou uses illegal drugs, whether it’s marijuana, prescriptions, cocaine, or hallucinogens.”

Elizabeth Triplett, who also graduated from West last year and is a freshman at Mizzou, describes that drug use is a major problem on campus. Triplett said, “I have seen people using illegal drugs on campus, although most people who engage in such behaviors attempt to be secretive about their actions”.

Like Triplett, Bajkowski has also seen illegal drug use. “In fact, every once in a while my floor in my Residence Hall will smell like marijuana. I guess even the Honors College Students are susceptible to drug use,” said Bajkowski.

Both Triplett and Bajkowski said that people get involved with drugs socially. “I would say that people most commonly become involved with drugs through friend groups or at parties when offered,” Triplett said. Bajkowski said, “I’d say it’s probably a social thing. College is a time in peoples’ lives where they want to try new things, drugs included”.

Robert Conard, West’s resource officer said, “Students experience their first taste of freedom from parents during college and will often times make riskier decisions.”

Triplett said, “The stigma around illegal drug use is in the name- the drugs are illegal”.

Drug use is a problem on college campuses but more specifically cocaine, a drug illegal in all 50 states, is becoming more popular among college students. “People who begin their usage with less intense drugs could be looking to increase their high. I know that cocaine is definitely present on campus,” said Triplett.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Cocaine is a highly addictive drug native to South America. It stimulates the central nervous system increasing the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, which regulates pleasure and movement. A survery conducted in 2013 showed that 11.6 percent of people 18 to 25 have used cocaine in their lifetime. Cocaine can constrict blood vessels, dilate pupils, and increase body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Cocaine can even cause death- which is usually a result from cardiac arrest, or when your heart stops. Cocaine is more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol.

Bajkowski said, “People also talk about how prevalent cocaine is with some fraternities. Right here I think it’s important to note that not all fraternities use these kinds of drugs or any at all, but there’s definitely talk about that being the case for some of the ‘crazier’ ones.”

Triplett said, “Paired with lowered inhibitions after alcohol intake, many people turn to drugs to get ‘cross-faded.”

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, cocaine can have serious side effects and can possibly lead to death. Bajkowski said “Cocaine is a serious drug and most college students are capable of realizing that and avoiding it.”

Other drugs are prominent on college campuses too. Conard said, “Stimulants (Ritalin®, Adderall®) have been popular with college students.” “People talk about Adderall® a lot, especially around finals week,” said Bajkowski.

Triplett said, “The most prevalent drug on campus is marijuana, and its usage is high.” Bajkowski said, “Conversations about marijuana are super common, especially due to the fact that its legalization is such a hot topic right now.”

“Campus puts on activities to promote student health and wellness and to divert attention away from unhealthful behaviors,” said Triplett.

Bajkowski said, “Teachers and faculty probably hear all sorts of crazy stuff from people chatting in hallways or in common areas… a good amount of them are probably aware.”

The consequences for students who participate in drug use can include punishment with law enforcement agencies. “There are always state and city statues as well as possible administrative action against the student,” said Conard.

Triplett said, “I know of students that have gotten in extreme trouble with law enforcement agencies as a result of their actions… students should remember that they are at their university of choice to receive an education.”

“No one in college will force drugs upon you, except for maybe some fraternities or really bad friends. As long as you make friends who respect your opinions and beliefs and you remain steadfast for your opinions and beliefs you should be fine,” said Bajkowski.

Triplett said, “Never allow another person to coerce you into participating in something that you do not wish to do.”

Conard said, “Education, treatment, along with enforcement of drug laws continue to show that they can help curtail the use and abuse of drugs.”

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