Alcohol and substance abuse is a prevalent struggle for college students and therefore is something that should be discussed on the campus of Eastern Nazarene College (ENC).

According to the Addiction Center online, people between ages 18 and 24 are at a heightened risk for addiction; these are the typical ages of college students. Students turn to drugs or alcohol for a variety of reasons including stress, peer pressure, course load, and curiosity. A few substances that tend to be a “drug of choice” for college students are Adderall, alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy. With so many temptations and pressures, it is important for campuses to shine a light on the issue and offer help.

ENC took a step towards raising awareness to the struggle of substance abuse by inviting Teen Challenge, a Christ-centered rehab group, to speak during chapel on April 3. Members from Teen Challenge openly shared their journey through drug abuse and the healing process. They also spoke at a late night chapel on campus, and students were able to approach them with any questions. By hosting this event, ENC brought awareness to drug/alcohol abuse and gave a possible resource for students to go to.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “addiction is a chronic but treatable medical condition involving changes to circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control.” With this being stated, substance/alcohol abuse is something anyone could deal with at some point—directly or indirectly. Those who have family members struggling with addiction can feel the stress of it and be negatively affected. Dr. Catherine Mueller-Bell,  a professor in the department of psychology and crime, law and justice, has shared her story of the effects addiction has had on her family.

“It was very lonely being a member of a family that had addictive tendencies—since the vices always won the attention of each family member—so there was a significant disconnect between family members since there was a tendency to ‘chase the high’ instead of connecting with God or one another.”

She explained that she knew she was greatly affected by the addiction in that she was always trying to be the peacemaker in the midst of the chaos. Through these experiences, Mueller-Bell shares that she has learned a lot, especially that one needs to be present and not turn to drugs for healing, but instead turn to God.

ENC offers a variety of ways students can deal with problems they may be facing. The Brickley Center has free counseling for students. This is a great way to deal with problems before one feels the need to turn to substances or alcohol. It is also a place to go if you are already struggling with addiction.

Addiction can affect anyone, including ENC students. Whether students are affected directly, or they have family members or friends struggling, campuses should offer information and help. By doing this, the topic of addiction will become less of a taboo topic and students can get the help they need.