Substance Abuse - IHE

Substance Abuse
Higher Education

Substance abuse is a harmful pattern of alcohol or other drug (AOD) use.

While sometimes seen as a rite of passage in college, high-risk AOD use can result in a host of negative consequences for students, including missing classes and lower academic performance. AOD use can also lead to risky behaviors, including driving while impaired, perpetrating or being a victim of violence, and unsafe sexual activity.

Widespread AOD use can affect the safety of the entire campus community. IHEs can take an environmental approach to preventing and addressing risky AOD use among students. Such an approach covers the prevention spectrum—from implementing campus wide prevention programs, to establishing campus-community coalitions to reduce underage drinking, to providing intervention and treatment services for students with substance use disorders.

Featured Resources

Benefits of Conducting a Biennial Review

Conducting a thorough and rigorous biennial review is great practice, and provides those implementing a comprehensive substance misuse prevention program -- inclusive of policy, education and student assistance, enforcement, campus needs assessment, and campus/community collaboration -- an opportunity to reflect what is going well, determine where improvements need to be made, and strategically plan how to maintain and strengthen the overall efforts of a campus to address alcohol and other drug use.

Prevention with Purpose: A Strategic Planning Guide for Preventing Drug Misuse Among College Students

In this 2024 edition of the guide – first published in 2020 – you will find updated data, profiles highlighting real-life stories from campus prevention professionals focused on a unique or innovative approach to the Strategic Prevention Framework, ideas for building considerations of cultural factors into each step of the SPF, and five strategies for success during times of disruption to campus life.

What You Need to Know About Building a Collegiate Recovery Program

Starting a collegiate recovery program (CRP) can seem like a daunting task, especially in the beginning stages.  It is important to have a vision and long-term goals, and it is even more important to have a plan. This document is intended to help you get started in your planning process. Since every campus has its own unique culture, this document is not intended to be a step-by-step how-to guide, but rather it is something every school can adapt in its own way in order to meet the needs of students in recovery on that campus.

NCAA Student-Athlete Health and Wellness Study

This substance use study is based on data collected in a comprehensive study of student-athlete health and wellness during the 2022-23 academic year. This is the 10th study conducted by the NCAA since 1985 that has examined the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by student-athletes.

Related Resources

Other Resource





American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

©2024 American Institutes for Research — Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy   |   Accessibility Statement