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How often do college students use drugs and alcohol?

Watch any movie about college in America, and you will likely see a fair amount of drug and alcohol use. They just seem to go hand-in-hand. But how accurate are those portrayals? How often do college students actually partake in illegal drinking and drug use?

According to one study, it does happen a lot. That study claimed that one out of five students (20 percent) had used illicit drugs when asked during a survey, and that was just in the last 30 days. That means the true percentage is likely higher when considering any use at all during college.

The same study found that drinking was even more common, claiming that more than one out of every three college students (33 percent) drank to the point that it would be considered binge drinking. Again, that was in the past month. It also only took into account students between the ages of 18 and 22 who counted as full-time members of their universities.

Binge drinking does not tell the full story when it comes to underage drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) says that binge drinking is getting one'sblood alcohol concentration (BAC) all the way up to the legal driving limit of .08. When given two hours to drink, this means men usually need five drinks, while women need just four.

As you can imagine, many students may drink smaller amounts of alcohol and not qualify as binge drinkers, even though they are underage and it is still illegal.

Is your child facing DUI charges, underage drinking charges or drug charges while in college? Make sure you know all of the legal options available to you.

Source: SAMHSA, "A Day in the Life of College Students Aged 18 to 22: Substance Use Facts," Rachel N. Lipari and Beda Jean-Francois, accessed June 01, 2018

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