Perception, Prevalence and Pressure: Drugs and Alcohol in College and High School

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Eventually we will all leave Bolles and be spewed into the real world. While we might encounter aspects of drug use and partying in high school, a common perception about college is an array of weeknight parties, binge drinking, and drugs as far as the eye can see. We decided to interview recent alums to find out the reality of college partying.  In this article, we reached out to Frankie Collier ‘18, Stefanie Mendizabal ‘17, and Barbie Goldstein ‘19.

Is partying different in college than in high school?

Collier: It’s the same level of extremity and the same in regards to normalization of party culture.

Mendizabal: It is definitely more common in college.

Goldstein: So a big thing here, is people go clubbing on Thursdays. I personally don’t do that because I have like 40 classes. Also it’s a weekday, but that’s just because it’s like, clubs become 18 plus [with alcohol 21 plus].

Are alcohol/drugs more or less prevalent?

Barbie: [pertaining to the consumption of marijuana] So I just don’t whenever people do it I just don’t hang around them when they do it. Not like it’s not treated as some sort of big thing. It’s not peer pressure. It’s like honestly College is a lot more relaxed with the atmosphere there’s really not much peer pressure

Collier: It’s about the same usage [of marijuana and vaping], but a tad more in college.  

Mendizabal: Almost every single high school party would have drugs or alcohol, but it is more common in college, because in high school you have a lot of people who don’t want to do those stuff yet but in college more people drink and do drugs than in high school because they are older. In high school people are not yet at the age to drink. There are a lot of alcohol stores near colleges who don’t care if you use a fake ID because they want the money. Getting alcohol in college if you’re 21 is not an issue. People bring their own alcohol, very rarely do people supply alcohol, at high school parties people do bring their own alcohol too so you know what you are drinking and you aren’t scared people put something in it. Alcohol is also very expensive. If there are drugs it is always done in private. Compared to alcohol that is drunk openly, people would sneak off if they wanted to do drugs.

Do you feel pressured to drink/do drugs at college?

Goldstein: [pertaining to the consumption of marijuana] So I just don’t whenever people do it I just don’t hang around them when they do it. Not like it’s not treated as some sort of big thing. It’s not peer pressure. It’s like honestly college is a lot more relaxed with the atmosphere there’s really not much peer pressure

Stef: In high school parties, I wasn’t really pressured, but at college I am not at all. People just mind their own business. I think that they take into account that some people have family history of alcohol or drug abuse so lets say someone’s grandma or mom had a history with alcohol abuse they are less likely to drink because they are more prone to it, and people respect that. People honestly mind their own business in college and you do you, if you don’t want to drink it is fine. There is honestly a huge misconception around that.

Perception of drugs/alcohol at parties in college?

Mendizabal: parties are more fun in college. And i am more likely to go to one than in high school. BEcause then you are always afraid you’ll get busted by the cops and in college that isnt that big of a problem. But if it does get busted they would just tell the college kids to shut it down but in high school the cops would make everyone stay and get their IDs checked and they would call your parents.

Goldstein: People are a lot more relaxed about alcohol, because they[‘ve] had it before and there’s not that much stigma around it.