Popping a chill pill
Grace Kimmell, Anchor Staff
Addiction runs in my family. Given this, I know that I have to avoid substances all together to avoid addiction, to avoid becoming an addict. More and more, people I love are becoming hooked on opioids, recreational drugs and alcohol each passing day. I know all too well the seemingly inescapable craving, burning and screaming at a molecular level. But I also know I’m not alone.
According to the American Addiction Centers, one in every seven young adults (age 18-25) suffer from a substance abuse issue. Those young people? That’s us. And that number is scary. You don’t only have to come from a lineage of addiction to get hooked, but you are especially predispositioned to if that runs in your family. Drug abuse can touch anyone. The news is strewn with headlines announcing that the opioid crisis has hit an all-time high; which reasonably begs the question everyone is asking: what drives young people to try drugs, start using them regularly, and ultimately even kill themselves for the high?
Well, at least part of the sinister equation that can result in substance abuse is squarely centered around stress. For college-age students’ stress levels are at an all-time high, and many students are unsure how they are going to balance work, school, social life, mental health and a litany of other things, all while looking good doing it. This dangerous mix further entices us to try different substances to alleviate the stress. Alcohol, Adderall and marijuana are common gateways to slip into oblivion if we so choose. The inescapable reality is that we all sometimes feel overwhelmed, forgotten, stressed and down on our luck in life. For at least one in seven of us, drugs are the chosen way to cope.
It’s not the only way, though, and obviously not the most desirable way either. This mechanism has damaging, life-long consequences and many of which can ruin your personality, mental health, family and job security. We have so many more alternative coping mechanisms available to us, especially as college students. Counseling and Health Services on campus are always a resource for students who are struggling with any sort of problem, and they can point students that are potentially struggling with addiction in the right direction. During finals week, there are often activities to give students a break from the stress of it all (such as yoga on campus). Perhaps our college should place more emphasis on these types of events year-round, especially since stress during finals is typically the accumulated stress that we’ve all been trying to ignore all semester.
For students who need someone to talk to, there is the counseling services hotline, which is referred to as the RIC Hope Line. If you call the number 401-456-HOPE (4673), you can speak with someone if you cannot speak with those in counseling services (such as late at night).These resources are free to you as a RIC student. No matter how bleak your situation may feel, there are people here to help you cope in healthy, productive ways.
You could be an addict, too. Don’t become a part of the statistic. And as long as you’re here at RIC, you’ll never be alone. You have the resources to cope properly and healthily. We’re here to help, all you have to do is ask and be smart about making the right choices for your present life and future self.