We wouldn’t publish a weed brownie recipe or a guide to healthy munchies if we didn’t have an audience for them. After all, we’re a college paper — if you’re reading our 420 Drug Issue, chances are you at the very least know someone who regularly uses some sort of drug — that is if you don’t do so yourself.

While not everyone chooses to use substances, drugs are a regular part of college life. Students have relatively easy access to them, often do not face severe legal consequences for doing them and are frequently in social situations where they’re encouraged, if not expected, to use them. Because this is a reality, we’re not about to tell students to avoid drugs, nor try to warn them of their serious physical and mental effects.

Most people already have a decent idea of what drugs do to the brain and body, as well as the consequences that occur when someone becomes addicted to a substance. The truth is simple — drug abuse is not good — but it is a truth many of us comfortably and confidently choose to overlook.

However, it is one thing to see how addiction manifests in others, and a very different thing to see it in yourself. One can quickly cross the line from recreation to self-medication, which is why we believe, as simple as it sounds, that it’s important for students to take a step back and consider the reasoning and expectations behind their drug use.

Many write off their drug use as something temporary. After all, “it’s college.” Yes, rates of drug use decrease as people age, but the habits built by college students, which are direct responses to the many stressors of college life, have the potential to remain with you past schooling years. College isn’t only a place where you learn the syllabus, it’s where you learn how to deal with the demands and expectations of life. If you learn to confront stress with pills, booze or weed, then you may need to do so in the future.

The most important thing we want to stress is for students to be self-aware. Realize when you’re getting high to socialize and blow off steam, and when you’re doing so to delay addressing a more serious problem. It isn’t about stopping drug use altogether — it’s making sure that use is safe, physically and mentally.

Not all drugs are equal. Unless you’re growing your own, you can never be sure what you’re getting isn’t cut with something dangerous. If you choose to take drugs, don’t compare your experience to that of others. Everyone is wired differently and can’t expect to react the same way to drugs as their peers. There is risk that people accept every time they use a substance, and people choose how much of that risk they will to tolerate.

If you choose to take that risk, know what you’re getting into, and make sure that you’re able to get out.