College Marijuana Use Linked With Skipped Classes, Lower Grades, Late Graduation

A new study finds marijuana use in the first year of college can lead to students missing classes. The more frequently a student uses marijuana, the more they tend to skip class, earn lower grades, and graduate later.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health followed 1,117 college students for eight years to test the direct and indirect effects on marijuana use on GPA and time to graduation. The findings are part of a larger study, called the College Life Study, which began in 2003.

“Alcohol and other drug use are also related to skipping class, but when we adjusted for other substance use we still found a relationship between marijuana and skipping class,” said lead researcher Amelia Arria, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

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Being Emotionally Unprepared for College Linked to Increased Risk of Substance Use

Students who are emotionally unprepared for college have lower grades, are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and are more likely to consider transferring to a different school, compared with their peers who are more emotionally prepared, a new poll finds.

The results indicate that college readiness requires much more than a solid academic foundation, according to John MacPhee, Executive Director of the JED Foundation, one of the organizations that released the results of the National Harris Poll. “These findings are a call to action about the college readiness process,” he said. “We need to consider students’ emotional preparedness when we help prepare students for their transition from high school into college.”

The poll of 1,502 first-year college students was also sponsored by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The Jordan Porco Foundation.

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NIAAA Introduces Resource to Help Colleges Curb Student Drinking

The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse has introduced a new tool to help colleges cut down on student drinking, CNN reports. CollegeAIM includes 60 alcohol interventions, with information on their effectiveness, costs and barriers to implementation.

The guide includes a wide variety of interventions, from requiring Friday morning classes to restricting happy hours and other drinking promotions.

“Despite our collective efforts to address it, high-risk drinking remains a significant and persistent problem on U.S. campuses,” George Koob, Ph.D., NIAAA Director, said in a news release. “While college officials have numerous options for alcohol interventions, they are not all equally effective. CollegeAIM can help schools choose wisely among available strategies, boosting their chances for success and helping them improve the health and safety of their students.”

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College Takes Innovative Approach to Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse

Miami University is using an innovative approach to preventing prescription drug abuse among its students. Before prescribing medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the university student counseling service requires students to participate in a workshop about time management, and another session about taking medication safely.

The school has developed similar prevention strategies for treating anxiety, sleep disorders and pain, according to Joshua Hersh, MD, Staff Psychiatrist at Miami University Student Counseling, located in Oxford, Ohio. “We are trying to minimize abuse by maximizing care,” said Dr. Hersh, who spoke about the university’s approach at the recent American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.

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