Students: Health Information
College is an exciting time. To make the most of the experience, students should make an effort to practice good health habits, starting with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Be aware of the pitfalls associated with drugs, including some prescription medications, and alcohol.
Health Tips for College Students
College is exciting, but it’s also stressful. You will be meeting new people and facing many new challenges inside and outside the classroom. You’ll have to make your own decision, and will likely be faced with pressures related to food, drink, appearance, drugs, and sexual activity. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to ensure a happy and healthy college experience.
- Maintain a Health Lifestyle: Eating right and exercising regularly will help optimize your health. A diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will ensure good nutrition. Adults should aim for at least 2 ½ hours of exercise every week.
- Manage Stress: Some level of stress is normal for a college student. But it should never become overwhelming. Getting enough sleep, avoiding drugs and alcohol, connecting socially and taking time for yourself can help you to manage stress.
- Avoid Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Half of all new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur among young people under the age of 25. If you’re sexually active, get tested for STDs and HIV. And be sure to take precautions to protect yourself and your partner.
- Sexual Assault: One in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college. Know your rights, and know where to get help if you or someone you know has been assaulted.
- Avoid Binge Drinking & Substance Abuse: About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks. In 2013, around 21% of those aged 18 to 25 years reported use of illicit drugs in the past month. Alcohol and substance abuse can lead to or risky sexual behavior, unintended pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, car crashes, violence, overdose and alcohol poisoning.
College Students and Prescription Drugs
When most people think of drug abuse, they tend to focus on cocaine, marijuana, heroine and other illicit substances. But prescription drugs, including painkillers and stimulants, can also be abused. In fact, rates of prescription drug misuse among college students grew from 8.3 percent in 1996 to 14.6 percent in 2006. Some of the mostly commonly abused prescription drugs include:
- Stimulants: Stimulants include prescription medications like Ritalin, Adderal and Dexadrine. Amphetamine misuse among college students rose from 5.7 percent in 2008 to 11.1 percent in 2012. Amphetamines were the only illicit drugs with higher rates among college students than their non-college peers in 2012.
- Opiods: Prescription painkillers, like OxyContin Oxycodone, Vicodin, and Percocet, continue to be a major public health concern because of the high risk for overdose and addiction. In 2008, 14,800 overdose deaths in the United States involved prescription opioid painkillers, outnumbering deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.
Prescription drug overdose deaths increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the United States that year, and three out of four of the medication overdose deaths were caused by addictive pain killers, including OxyContin.
Last Modified: June 3, 2016