College is often referred to as the greatest time in the life of those who are able to go to college. It is also a time when substance experimentation, use, and abuse are prominent. Students at this stage of life are more willing to engage in dangerous addictive behaviors because it is the first time they have actual freedom. The concentration of like-minded, same aged individuals also increases their likelihood of using and abusing drugs. Indiana college students are increasingly turning to drugs and alcohol during the time they are in college. There are a number of factors/reasons they turn to substance abuse in this period of their lives. The following are five reasons Indiana college students turn to substance abuse. Peer Pressure One of the most common reasons for substance abuse is peer pressure. College students are surrounded by thousands of other same aged students. Most of these students will engage, at one point or another, in substance use or abuse. Greek societies are the most synonymous with using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Every weekend, and most week nights, college students can find a party or gathering to which they can participate. Some college students use and abuse prescription medications as a way to improve their test scores. They can pressure other students to do the same as a way to ‘help’ improve their test scores. Stress The stress that college students are under today is immense. Students must compete with every other person in their major for jobs. It does not help their stress levels that students today understand that the job market is slim and increasingly competitive. They understand that they must perform extremely well ad participate in a number of extracurricular activities to better their appearance for possible jobs. The stress to perform, in both sports/activities and school, can force students to try to improve their scores through unhealthy processes. It can also push them to look for an easy way to unwind. Heavy Course Load In an effort to make themselves more appealing of a candidate for a job position, students can take on pretty heavy course loads. Some students add extra classes to help them finish school earlier or make their later college years more feasible. Heavy course loads can push students towards substance abuse because they need a way to unwind from the rigors of certain subjects. These students might find that they need to party as hard as they work. Often times, these students find unhealthy ways to unwind. This leads to substance use, abuse and possible addiction. Curiosity Curiosity is another reason that college students turn to substance abuse. For some students, it is the first time they have actual freedom. Unfortunately, they also believe this is a time that they should experiment with drugs and alcohol. Many simply do so because they are just curious. Students that come from ‘sheltered’ style homes are more likely to be curious about substance use and abuse. Curiosity is a very dangerous thing; one to which Indiana students should not flirt. Depression Depression is one of the leading causes of substance abuse. Co-occurring disorders like depression can easily go undetected in college students. When a person feels stressed, anxious or depressed they can turn to alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal drugs to help them overcome those issues. Self-medicating to treat and issue is hazardous to your health. Indiana college students are turning to drugs and alcohol to help them deal with the stress and depression they experience while working on their college degrees. Students must understand how unhealthy this is and that there are several ways they can overcome the issues that face them in college.