Substance Abuse & Its Effects on Education

Drug abuse and academic achievement do not go hand in hand. The act of abusing drugs can prevent students from participating in studies and certain drugs can also cause long-term problems for the brain that can prevent users from learning. Drugs also have secondary effects on those who do not abuse drugs.

  1. Drinking Binges

    • Students drinking at night often wake up with hangovers in the morning. This prevents them from focusing on classes and even missing classes. Time spent drinking takes students away from their studies.

    College Drug Abuse

    • In college, many students engage in substance abuse once they have freedom from their families. Drug abuse can lead to jail time, cause students to lose sports scholarships and also fall behind in studies, which can lead to students getting kicked out of school.

    Drug Education Programs

    • Schools have worked with the Department of Justice to implement education programs designed to inform students about drugs and discourage them from abusing drugs. Efforts to inform students about the effects of drugs have been successful, but changing student attitudes toward drug use have been less successful. Student attitudes toward drugs change the most when peers develop different attitudes toward drugs.

    Mental Effects

    • Drug addicts can lose interest in activities unrelated to drugs, including education. Time spent studying might instead be spent searching for drugs or abusing drugs. Some drug users go on drug-binging sprees that can last for days. Also, the temporary highs can leave drug users disoriented and unmotivated to process information. Some drugs, such as alcohol, impair memory, preventing students from retaining information.

    Reality Distortion

    • Some drugs can cause hallucinations, which can distract students from anything, including studies. Drugs like marijuana are known to reduce motivation over time and can also make abusers feel sleepy. Marijuana also inhibits problem-solving and the formation of memories in a time when schools are emphasizing critical-thinking skills. Some drug users need the drug to function, yet students cannot abuse these drugs in school. Therefore, they either don't attend school or cannot function while in school. Inhalants destroy fatty tissues in the brain that protect nerve cells, leading to students losing the ability to remember, learn and solve problems. Ecstasy causes users to lose touch with reality and also disconnects brain cells from each other, though cells can reconnect later if the abuse stops. Steroids permanently impair learning abilities.

    Secondary Effects

    • While not all students drink, alcohol abuse on a campus can even inhibit the learning of students who do not drink. Students often have their sleep interrupted by drunken friends and some students even have to take care of drunken friends when they should be studying. Females also often experience unwanted sexual advances. Drinking also can lead to property damage that prevents students from getting schoolwork done.

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