Editors note: To protect the identity of students quoted in this article, names have been changed. Any resemblence these names may have to actual students is purely coincidental.
It’s a sunny Monday morning. A girl and a guy are talking about their weekend on Dallas Hall lawn.
“What did you do last weekend?” the guy asked.
“I went out,” a girl in oversized black shirt and leggings replied. “I don’t really remember much else.”
“It must have been a good weekend,” he said.
The Hollywood version of college, where binge drinking and taking drugs to the point of blacking out is part of the culture, isn’t far off from the truth. According to the Prevention and Treatment Resource Press, 42 percent of college students reported binge drinking in the last month. A 2010 National Institute on Drug Abuse study found that 9.2 percent of the population, or 23.9 million Americans over the age of 12, use illicit drugs.
For some SMU students, the partying starts Wednesday night and goes on through the weekend. Between going out at night four days in a row, brunching and day drinking Saturday and brunching on Sunday, the tab adds up.
“I just spend it,” said Jane Smith, who spends about $150 on alcohol a week.
College students spend about $5.5 billion on alcohol alone, according to the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study. The amount Smith would spend on an average semester’s worth of alcohol is about $2,250.
Jack Brooks said he spends about $300 a week, if he goes out Wednesday through Saturday, brunches Saturday and Sunday and day drinks Saturday.
This doesn’t include any drugs Brooks might use.
“There is definitely a drug presence on campus,” said junior Abigail Jones, who smokes marijuana and Hookah occasionally.
Jones, who smoked more during the summer, was buying a gram every two weeks.
“It definitely depleted my bank account because I was spending money on weed and food, because you know,” Jones said.
Adderall, Xanax or Vyvanse are used just to get through a day, a study session or an exam.
“Market price for Adderall and Vyvanse?” someone posted on Yik Yak, during the week before finals. Another Yak read, “I just took a nap on Vyvanse, too tolerant.”
Mary Johnson, a junior, could spend about a $100 on marijuana, $60 per a gram of cocaine, $4 on 20 milligrams of Adderall, $2 on Xanax and $20 for per a gram of Molly a week. For just drugs, that means a $186 a week, $744 a month and $2,790 a semester. That’s the price of a round-trip ticket to China from Dallas, or eight and half months worth of groceries on a liberal spending budget, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
“No wonder my allowance is gone,” Johnson said.
The money that Jones spends on drugs is equivalent to what the National Association of College Stores says the average college student will spend on textbooks each year. Two months worth of drugs equals more than double the College Board’s annual cost of books and materials of $1,168. Smith, who spends about $110 on drugs, noticed the spike in the amount of money she spends on drugs and alcohol. Her first year, she was only buying alcohol and spending $30 a month on alcohol. It can cost to be a college guy who drinks or does drugs than a girl.
“Usually if you ask a guy to smoke you out and he likes you he will, or if you say you never smoked, guys try to get you baked,” Jones said.