Has your college-aged child come to you with an addiction problem? Here’s how you can help them through the recovery process.

The statistics on drug and alcohol use in college contain numbers that no parent wants to hear. Approximately 20 percent of college students between the ages of 18-22 have used an illicit drug in the past month. During that same month, more than a third of them have participated in at least one episode of binge drinking. There are those that will brush these behaviors off as experimentation or rebellion, but for some students, occasional use can quickly spiral into a full blown addiction.

“It’s never an easy thing for a parent to hear, but if your college student has come to you and admitted that they have a substance use problem, they are doing so because they want your help,” says Kerry Coyle the Executive Director at Life of Purpose’s Florida based addiction treatment center for teens and young adults. “At a time when you and your college student feel helpless and lost, trust that you can get through this together.”

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Understanding Drug and Alcohol Use in College

Parents might feel confused and in disbelief when their college student comes to them for help. Drug and alcohol use in college often affects students that you might think are immune to the temptations of peer pressure or the “thrill” that is associated with substance use.

There is a myriad of factors that contribute to addictive patterns in college. Not only are students exploring their independence as young adults and teens, but they’re also facing the intense pressure to perform academically at the same time that they’re navigating their first steps into adulthood.

For parents who have just discovered that their child has an addiction problem, the most important thing they can do is not get angry or place blame. Instead, it’s important to realize that with patience, compassion and a plan for action, they can help their young adult find the path to recovery.

Addiction Recovery in College

The thing about addiction and recovery is that normal life goes on, whether or not you’re actively participating in it. Addiction recovery in college can be especially challenging because a student might worry that they’ll throw away the entire semester if they have to take time away to enter treatment. As your college student’s advocate, you can help them get the treatment they need and successfully participate in academics.

The first step is to talk with your young adult and learn as much as you can about their addiction problem. What substances have they used and when did the addictive behaviors begin. This step is also the time to establish an open, non-judgmental dialogue to provide your student with the opportunity to share what brought them to this point – but only if they are ready.

Next is to research treatment options. If the options exist, you’ll want to speak with several treatment centers to get a feel for their services, their approach to treatment, and the support they provide for aftercare. Don’t hesitate to ask them the hard questions – your college student’s future is at stake.

If your student is actively enrolled in classes, it might be helpful to have your student talk to a counselor at school about how they should proceed academically during and after treatment. The hard work they’ve put into their education doesn’t have to be lost due to addiction treatment and recovery.

Speak to an Academically Focused Addiction Treatment Center in Boca Raton

When your college student is overcoming an addiction problem, the best option is a compassionate, innovative treatment center that is academically focused to keep them on track in their collegiate career. “When you want your young adult to receive the best possible care, while also not missing out on their education, there are only a few choices,” says Andrew Rothermel the CEO of Life of Purpose a Florida based addiction treatment for young adults.   The right treatment center can make all the difference in the recovery process and prepare your college student for a life free of drug and alcohol addiction.



  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2361/ShortReport-2361.html