College is an incredibly exciting time for students and their families. For most it is the first time they branch out on their own. Free from the safety of their parents homes. It is understood to be a time for exploration and education. It has also become known as a time period for risky behavior. The excitement, lack of supervision, and ability to behave as an adult encourage individuals to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Drug and alcohol use and abuse are prevalent among most college campuses. A new study was aimed at understanding when college students were most likely to experiment and use certain drugs during the school year. The study looked into alcohol consumption, tobacco use, prescription drug abuse, and marijuana use. Prescription Drug Abuse The study found that most college students would experiment with prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin for the first time in November, December or April. College students believed that taking these drugs would increase their focus and help them study and with their exams. Final exams for the fall and the spring are in these three months. While the idea that they are taking these drugs to help them study is pure speculation, it is most likely correct. Prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed for those with Attention Deficient Disorder. The drug is a central nervous system depressant, which helps those with the disorder focus and calm down. Those who take the drug recreationally believe that drug increases their intelligence. There is no evidence that this drug has that effect, but it is a common practice for college students. Most likely the placebo effect of the drug increases students focus and confidence heading into exams. Non-medical use of prescription pain killer peaks in December. This could be a coping mechanism or self-medicating to reduce the stress of exams at the completion of a semester. Marijuana Use According to the report, college students are most likely to try marijuana, inhalants and alcohol for the first time during the summer. Marijuana use is not connected in any way to increased scores or focus, in fact it hinders anyone’s ability to focus on anything but food. That is why summer time is the most common time college students begin to experiment with the drug. After exams are over and grades are in, students have the ability to relax. With the weight of their college courses off their shoulders college students experiment with the drug as a way to relax or even as a reward for completing a year of school. Parental Influence Most parents breathe a sigh of relief when their child finally graduates from high school and begins their college education. In reality parents should be much more involved during the college years of their child. College life is incredibly stressful and dangerous period for these young adults. Those students who have yet to experiment with drugs and alcohol are most likely going to start in college. The high cost of college education, introduction of drugs and alcohol, and added stress of performing at a high level create a powder keg for problems. Parents that stay involved in their college student’s life will be more likely to help them if a problem arises. College life is a time of independence and exploration, but it does not have to be a time where drug abuse and addiction set it. Checking in on a college student’s grades, activities, and health is not intrusive. Parents have the right to make sure their child is healthy, but more importantly they should encourage hard work and success in their child’s college career.