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Almost half of all admissions for substance abuse treatment that involve college students are primarily related to alcohol, according to a new government report.

The report, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found the rate of alcohol-related treatment admissions is much higher among college students than for non-college students who are the same age—46.6 percent versus 30.6 percent.

College students are less likely than their non-student peers to abuse drugs such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, Reuters reports. For instance, 16.1 percent of non-students ages 18 to 24 seeking treatment were abusing heroin, compared with 7.2 percent of the college students. Cocaine admission rates were more than twice as high among non-students (4.2 percent versus 1.9 percent), and methamphetamine admissions were more than four times as high (4.4 percent versus 1 percent).

Marijuana accounted for about 30 percent of both student and non-student admissions.

SAMHSA analyzed data from 2009, when about 374,000 people ages 18 to 24 were treated for substance abuse or dependence in the United States. Most of them—362,000—were not enrolled in college or post-secondary school.

“This report confirms the pervasive and potentially devastating role that alcohol plays on far too many college campuses,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “Other SAMHSA studies have shown that one in four full-time college students have experienced past year alcohol abuse or dependence. SAMHSA is working with the academic community and its partners in behavioral health to help students prevent exposure to the dangers of alcohol misuse and encourage those who have a problem to seek treatment.”


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