Binge drinking on college campuses is steadily rising. This is leading to more cases of alcoholism, car accidents, alcohol poisoning, and destructive decisions. Heavy drinking often affects a student’s academic life. Because of the culture on college campuses, often students think this behavior is completely normal. Many students do not realize what is a “normal” amount to drink, or how often. Because of this, many colleges are adopting programs, classes, and clubs to educate students on safe alcohol use and illicit drug harm reduction. Many colleges are also dedicating parts of their websites to alcohol abuse awareness and harm reduction.
Often on a college campus, if a student develops an addiction they are stigmatized and frowned upon. They may even receive suspensions from the college or other punishment. This often leads to the student dropping out and further exacerbating their addiction. They may receive criminal charges which also decreases their chances of becoming sober and/or being accepted into a university. Because addiction is beginning to face more attention due to the opioid crisis, people are taking notice of these problems. Instead of being stigmatized it is best to support students and help them find help for their addiction. Organizations are popping up across the country with the goal of ending stigma and helping students. Other organizations fight for awareness to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse.
Organizations That Can Help
There many organizations around the country that can help with addiction awareness, prevention, and harm reduction. Some of these are even made of student body and professors. Here are just a few organizations that can help:
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a grassroots student-led organization with the goal of ending the war on drugs and ending the stigma against addiction. They believe that the war on drugs further enhances the addiction epidemic and leads to mass incarceration and the stigmatization of addicts. They believe if drug use stigma and penalties were less cruel more people would be open to getting help. They also believe that further acceptance would lead to more education resulting in fewer people becoming addicted to hard drugs. They neither condone nor condemn drug use, and believe each person has the right to decide for themselves. They also promote harm reduction so people who use can know how to use “properly”.
Harm Reduction Coalition
The Harm Reduction Coalition is a nationwide organization of advocates and health professionals who are fighting the stigma of addiction and promote public health reform. They are made up of health professionals, needle exchange programs, volunteers, and even drug users. The organize campaigns to make real policy changes. They also produce extensive amounts of resources to educate about harm reduction and its benefit on society.
The Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition is a group of students, health professionals, and community members who promote policy changes that are committed to harm reduction practices. They believe harm reduction principles can help prevent the consequences of drug use, sex work, and other risky activities. They fight to end the stigma against drug use because they believe education and support is the best way to solve these problems. They believe harm reduction should be a fundamental part of healthcare.
HAMS is a non-profit organization that promotes harm reduction and educated decisions. They focus on “soft” drugs like marijuana and alcohol and often aim toward students and young people. Their goal is to help people reduce the negative consequences alcohol and drug use has on their lives. They achieve this with education and support groups. They have a college student’s guide to safer drinking. The organization is made up of many college professors and health professionals. Their slogan is simply “Better is Better”.
Students Against Destructive Decisions is a nationwide organization with the goal of raising awareness of drug abuse, alcoholism, drunk driving, distracted driving, anxiety, and depression. They promote safety and educate young people about the dangers of drug use and underage drinking. They offer a positive movement for young people to be involved in. The most successful form of harm reduction is abstinence, education, and prevention.