Understanding the Risk Factors of Drugs and Alcohol for Incoming College Freshmen

Young man passed out drunk

College freshmen around the country are moving into their college dorms this week. As parents help them get settled and make sure they have the basics, they should also have a healthy and honest discussion with them about alcohol and drugs. It could help them realize some of the risks out there as they attempt to transition to college life.


The first week of school can be especially confusing for freshmen living on their own for the first time. Students could potentially have many different reactions to their newfound freedom. Some could get homesick. Others could decide to engage in more high-risk situations in order to fit in.


There was a PBS feature released several years ago on the potential risk factors that college freshmen face during the first few weeks of college. Although students today do binge drink less and have a healthier attitude towards alcohol than students of years’ past, deaths and other serious injuries do occur from students engaging in dangerous behaviors.


In addition to parental support, colleges across the country are doing more to combat drug and alcohol use and provide students with a safe way to meet new people and transition into college life. Also, many will offer a variety of programs to help students if they feel that they have a problem or just want to know more about the risk factors of drugs and alcohol.


At UCSB, for example, Edwin Feliciano and other staff members at UCSB Student Health work hard to offer a variety of addiction and behavioral health services to help those in need. Students have access to individual and group counseling, information sessions, and more. For some students, the transition might not be that difficult. For others, though, it might take some intervention or extra care. In those cases, there are programs like those at UCSB that can help.

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