Alexis Masino: Drugs on Campus



Photography, Text and Video by Alexis Masino, Copyright 2017




The amount of drug use on campus is shocking. As someone who had never actually seen a drug stronger than weed in person prior to college, it was a rude awakening to come here and let the idea of drug use become so familiar.

Arguably the most prevalently used drug on campus. Caffeine is so normalized in our

culture that most wouldn’t even consider it a drug. It’s consumed more heavily than was ever intended by students attempting to stay up all night studying. It’s unhealthy, but not the worst abuse I see.


Depression runs rampant here and plagues many. Some face it, others deny it. Drugs like

prozac are used, usually prescribed, to numb the pain. But in overuse or abuse, people can be zombies. Maybe there is something at this school contributing to the widespread mental illness, not to mention suicide rates and drug abuse.


The irony of this one is peculiar. At events like “date nights” and “BYO”s, students

attempt to be fancy and make this night of drinking into something that it’s not. It always ends in binge drinking anyway, it’s just disguised as something classier than a frat party.



This is a more honest form of binge drinking, at least. It seems to help people feel like

they are relaxing or unwinding on the weekend. We are known as the number one “work hard, play hard” school, anyway. This often leads to decisions that are regrettable the next morning, or a trip in a MERT van and a night in a hospital.


There are two common instances of this drug being used. The first is at frat parties,

usually upstairs if you know a brother or in a back alley. The appeal is getting “cross faded” between alcohol and weed, and this pretty much applies to the description of the previous drug. The other use is usually alone or with a small group of people, laying around to bask in the highness. Either way, it’s used as a form of relief or relaxation.


This one is less common, but I’d call it the step up from weed. Cough syrup being abused

in the name of “relaxation”. Either way, it’s troubling to know it’s an existing use on campus.


LSD is usually a 12-hour commitment, so this is planned out in advance. The appeal isn’t

so much for relaxation as it is for a good time, or to experience a “trip” and see things you

wouldn’t usually see. Still, it’s incredibly dangerous and I never would have expected to encounter use of it nearly as much as I have.


Before I came to college, the idea of coke was insane to me. I never expected to know

people who had ever done it, let alone use it on a steady basis. But it’s everywhere and it’s common, even at parties.



About The Author: Alexis Masino is a freshman enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020.  To access additional articles by Alexis Masino, go here



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