Today is the First Day of
the Rest of Your Life

Get Started

Thursday, January 7, 2021

College Students Turning to Drugs to Cope With Pandemic

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide. As case levels and death rates in America continue spiking to alarming levels, many people are craving a return to normalcy and seeking new ways to occupy the time they used to spend visiting with family and friends and attending large gatherings like concerts and plays. After nearly a year of self-quarantining and avoiding unnecessary trips outside the home, news of two viable vaccines is a ray of hope. However, delays in the vaccine rollout process might mean it could still take many months to achieve the “herd immunity” necessary to return to business as usual.

For the last several months, mental health experts have been sounding alarms about the pandemic’s long-term psychological effects. Chronic stress, coupled with grief and the mental health issues associated with isolation, could leave long-lasting societal scars. Many health professionals have shared their worries that these factors may also contribute to an increase in substance use disorders, as people increasingly turn to drugs as a coping mechanism to relieve anxiety or alleviate boredom. College students are one demographic that’s uniquely vulnerable to this issue.

Drug and Alcohol Experimentation Is Rising During COVID-19

Even before the pandemic emerged as a major public health threat, binge drinking and drug use was a prevalent problem on college campuses from coast to coast. Substances like alcohol, marijuana and prescription stimulants such as Adderall are readily accessible on many campuses. College also provides a more permissive environment where students might choose to use their newfound freedom and independence as a justification for engaging in risky behavior. Widespread lockdowns drove many people to buy and sell drugs online, making these addictive substances even more easily available.

Once using and drinking becomes part of college culture, students might not realize they’re developing a problematic relationship with drugs and alcohol. If getting drunk or high is the typical way you and your friends spend your nights and weekends, your tolerance will continue increasing, and you’ll be increasingly in danger of progressing to a substance use disorder. The pandemic also makes it less likely that many people will seek the necessary help for addictive tendencies and any co-occurring mental health conditions, thus compounding these problems.

Drug-Free Ways to Cope With the COVID-19 Pandemic

What can you do to stay safe and avoid falling into the cycle of substance abuse that has affected so many college students? Here are some tips for coping with the stress, isolation and idle time that have characterized the pandemic.

  • Limit your news consumption: While it’s essential to stay abreast of evolving community health updates, it’s not productive to doomscroll through your newsfeed every time you feel bored. Only allow yourself to check daily headlines at specific intervals, and set a timer so you don’t spend too long staring at your screen.
  • Keep up with your physical and mental wellness: Incorporate exercise, a healthy diet and mindfulness activities into your daily life. A 30-minute walk outside can elevate your heart rate and provide a mood boost that carries you through the rest of your day.
  • Start a new hobby or revisit an old one: Self-quarantine is an ideal opportunity to spark your creativity. Activities like journaling, painting and needlework can turn formerly unproductive hours into a healthy habit you look forward to doing.

Seeking Young Adult Addiction Treatment at Hope Academy

If you’ve been struggling with substance abuse issues and have made it a priority to get clean and sober in 2021, Hope Academy is here for you. At our California drug rehab center, we work exclusively with young adults who want to learn how to make healthier life choices. Reach out today to learn more about our services and how to verify your insurance coverage.
CignaAetnaBlueCross BlueShieldUnited HealthcareMore Options/Verify Benefits

Call us at to Learn About Open Enrollment

Request A Call Back