Campus News

Doctoral student discusses research into college drug use

Ash Warnock, a doctoral student in the College of Public Health, spoke about their research with News Medical.

While college might not be as big of a party as it seems in movies and TV shows, there is still a large amount of drug and alcohol use on college campuses and by college students. This can mean more than just party drugs or liquor shots, too.

“Stimulant use may be a kind of catch-up behavior. Some studies have shown that students who party with drugs and alcohol on the weekends use stimulants like an academic catch up because they’re behind on their studies,” said Warnock, the lead author of the recent study.

This means that students who party often are more prone to the side effects of stimulant drugs like Adderall or Ritalin.

“We know that students that use prescription stimulants are more likely to have depression or have anxiety, or have sleep problems,” explained Warnock.

Warnock also says that even if these drugs are prescribed, they might not actually help you recover from being behind in school.

“The fact is that these drugs don’t help you academically. It’s a subjective effect. You feel lifted. You feel up, and so, you feel like you might be more focused, but the research doesn’t show that. The research shows that people that do stimulants like this likely do worse,” Warnock said.

Warnock acknowledged that the sample for this research was limited and may not be able to be applied to all college students that use stimulants.

However, Warnock still thought this research was important for universities to understand their students.

“It is important for universities to know that students who are involved with those kinds of substances are likely to be involved in prescription stimulants also. We need to be aware of the addictive health effects of these behaviors,” said Warnock.