The Facts About our Survey Data

Our data comes from a survey conducted in Fall 2017 at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

20% of the student body (372 students) was surveyed. The survey was anonymous and administered and evaluated by the Research Institute on Addictions at University of Buffalo. Students were able to complete it online or in person at various tabling events on campus. 


What We Learned

44% of students haven't had alcohol in the past month. That means only 56% of students have! And 7 out of 10 students either don't like to drink or only drink 1-3 drinks when they do. That means most students either don't drink or are drinking safely. 

81% of students haven't smoked a cigarette in the past month. That means only 19% of students have! And only about 10% of students are regular smokers. 

72% of students haven't used marijuana in the past month. That means only 28% have! With only 10% of students using every day.

95% of students haven't used cocaine in the past month. That means only 5% of have!

97% of students haven't used prescription pain medication (such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, codeine) without a doctor's prescription. 

5% of students reported being in recovery from alcohol and/or drug dependance. 

We will administer the survey again in Fall 2019. 


You don't believe it? That's normal. 

We tend to think that heavy drinking and drug use is part of the college experience. But for most students, it isn't! Research shows that we tend to misperceive (or misunderstand) social norms (what we think everyone is doing) and overestimate the number of people who behave in unhealthy ways or who accept unhealthy behavior.

Researchers have studied college students' misperceptions of social norms related to alcohol use. They've found that most college students do not participate in or enjoy heavy drinking. However, they tend to think that heavy drinking is the norm among their peers and over drink to fit in.

Our results are comparable with state and national trends. We also compared our results with similar colleges and past surveys and can say with confidence that "everyone is NOT doing it" when it comes to drinking and smoking! 


Why this is important?

We know that students who are heavy users of any substance (alcohol and other drugs) are more likely to not succeed in college. Does that mean that alcohol and drug use is the only reason a student isn't successful? No! But it seems to play a role.

We want to make sure students have all of the help and support they need to be successful here and truly live their Best Life. 

Sometimes students drink or use drugs to just have fun, but sometimes they do it to mask or deal with other issues in their life. We want to make sure students have a way to have fun safely and have the help and support to deal with any personal issues in a way that actually helps them to solve their problems.