Substance Abuse

Addiction is a chronic brain disease defined by compulsive drug seeking and use. Drug use can change the structure of the brain and how it works, and this can cause long-lasting and harmful behaviors. 

People take drugs for several reasons:

  • To feel good- certain stimulants can momentarily increase self-confidence, energy, and power. This is followed by a feeling of relaxation.
  • To feel better- people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other stressors may use drugs to escape the feelings of distress.
  • Peer pressure- young people are more likely to engage in risky behavior for the purpose of “fitting in”
  • Increase performance- sometimes drugs can be used by athletes or students to improve cognitive or athletic performance.


Opioid Use Disorder

Opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat pain. Common types are oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain, usually advanced or late stage cancers. Heroin is an illegal opioid.

Statistics show that in 2016 more than 11 million people abused opioids.

Prescription and illicit opioid drug use are the main cause of death by overdose. In 2016, Tennessee had 1,630 deaths attributed to opioids.

More information may be found at CDC'sProvisional Drug Overdose Death Counts

Seeking Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug use, please seek help. If you are unsure of where to turn, please contact the Office of Student Engagement & Support at, (615) 230-3492, or visit us in the Wood Campus Center 215 to talk. We have resources available to help you.

Vol State Policy

View Vol State's Drug-Free Campus/Workplace Policy