Use of Alcohol and other Psychoactive Substances by Psychology Students

Abstract

The consumption of psychoactive substances (SPAs) grows worldwide, especially among university students. This study evaluated the pattern of alcohol use and other SPAs in psychology students. The sample consisted of 180 Psychology undergraduates who filled out a sociodemographic questionnaire and instruments for tracking the use of SPAs validated for the Brazilian context. The results showed a higher prevalence of alcohol use: 81.7% in life, 67.6% in the last three months and 55% following a binge pattern. Among the reasons endorsed for the consumption stand out university conviviality, but the most valued factor was alcohol as a potentiator of the desire to smoke, followed by its perception as a gregarious factor in parties/social gatherings and as a facilitator to cope with stress situations. The pressures of university life create insecurity and instability, which make university students more susceptible to peer influence and the search for fun and relaxation in party environments where drinking is stimulated and facilitated, which may favor binge drinking. This pattern of consumption may be associated to other risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, having unprotected sex, or engaging in public order disturbances and infractions of the law. Considering that these young people make excessive use of SPAs without adequate social and community support, it is necessary to invest in prevention programs and public policies guided by the notions of self-care, protagonism and active participation in self rehabilitation.

Keywords:
Drug Usage; College Students; Psychology; Mental Health; Drug Abuse Prevention

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