Miami University is the #1 public ivy in the country, and what Robert Frost approves as "the most beautiful campus that ever there was." Known for being the Mother of Fraternities, and for the world renowned Farmer School of Business, all 8,456 students call Oxford, OH home.
However, there is a whole other side to Miami University that happens behind closed doors. Much to the dismay of the university, Miami is consistently ranked in the Top 5 party Schools in the Country -- this year it has a record of the #1 party school in Ohio, and #4 in the US.
And even the public can't help but to take notice.
Recently, Miami's campus was swarming with news channels as arrests and hospital admissions for drug possession, alcohol, and hazing allegations among sororities and fraternities spiked.
As 27 students were sent to the hospital in a period of one week, the hidden life behind Miami University is being revealed.
I personally can say, there is not only an evident drinking problem at Miami University, but a substance abuse problem in general. "Those who are enrolled in a full-time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than those who don’t attend college."
However, I also want to address, that these problems lie at every university, whether they are rated as high up on the "Top Party Schools" list or not.
But at Miami, we aren't talking about substance abuse or recognizing it as a problem. It's time we start.
Not only do most students binge drink, but I, or close friends of mine, also know at least 12 students who exhibit several symptoms of actual alcoholism. In addition, most people I know can also say they have met around seven other students who have an addiction to the anti-anxiety medication, Xanax, another 15 who regularly use cocaine, many who smoke marijuana, and countless others who buy and/or sell the ADHD medication Vyvanse to study or overcome hangover; these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Substance abuse does not just happen at Miami, but it is a growing problem here in Oxford, OH.
I spoke with a female who struggled with addiction and, as a direct result of substance abuse while at Miami, withdrew from the university. She asked to remain anonymous, but described her experience:
"I loved Miami, but it wasn't a healthy environment for me. That doesn't make it a bad school, it just makes it a hard school for people who are predisposed to struggle with peer pressure and addiction.
As a freshman, I made friends, loved my classes, and I loved the campus. But what I loved most was that I was able to do whatever I wanted with no consequences. The freedom was everything.
I smoked weed everyday. I drank heavily to the point of blacking out 4-5 days a week. I tried cocaine for the first time and continued to use it from time to time afterwards as well.
What made me start using? The pressure. Miami has a million beautiful girls who have a size 0 waist. Every student expects you to have the same! It was all of that -- the intelligence, hot guys, etc.
Most importantly, there was enormous peer pressure to keep up with the party scene.
Sophomore year, I took MDMA, and that's when I really got addicted. I even started to take it before class! Then, after the come-down, I'd turn to Vyvanse or Concerta to study. To sleep, I took Xanax. Not to mention, I was still binge drinking most days, too.
Starting to see the cycle? I was definitely on a downward spiral.
I slept with men and can't remember their names, I woke up places not remembering the entire few days before, and I was super depressed and began cutting. I never ate and had severe body dysmorphic disorder (when a person sees flaws in the mirror that aren't really there. Usually associated with weight). I even got an STD and had to get it treated.
But that's not the worst of it. It all crashed down one night when I hadn't slept in six days. I had a breakdown and became unconscious after doing cocaine. When the hospital checked my system for substances, they found five and saw the cuts on my arms.
I was admitted to the psych ward and my parents came to pick me up. After two weeks of inpatient therapy, and now over one year of weekly outpatient sobriety therapy, I can never to go back to Miami.
I'm not usually this honest about what happened because I am ashamed, but I'm doing this interview to spread the word that these things do happen.
It could be the boy next to you in your Calculus class, or the girl on the treadmill at the gym. The peer pressure at Miami and at all colleges is real, and a huge problem.
Yeah, Oxford is a small town you're only in for a couple of years, but addiction follows someone forever. I could have died, and I'm lucky I didn't.
So, if you could tell your article readers one thing for me, it would be that it could be you who becomes an addict. I was a straight A student and popular. Most of the people in my sobriety meetings were! The pressure got to me, and I just never ever want someone to go through what I did.
It's just not worth it."
Overall, it's important to recognize that the 27 students who were recently hospitalized are just the surface of those struggling with substance abuse here at Miami. Miami University, as well as college in general, isn't for everyone. There are immense amounts of pressures in a college setting, and young people (ages 18 to 24) are already at a heightened risk of addiction.
Make the change to be supportive of others when they choose not to drink and/or do drugs, and start talking.
(888) 983-0667 -- Addiction Center's 24/7 confidential helpline