Texas College Survey of Substance Use

These dashboards display data from the Texas College Survey of Substance Use, a self-report survey distributed to colleges and universities across Texas. Students are surveyed on alcohol and drug use, mental health status, risk behaviors, and perceived attitudes and beliefs. Students are surveyed every 2 years.

For questions about this data, send email to texascollegesurvey@tamu.edu

Data Source

The Texas College Survey of Substance Use data is made available to the public by the Public Service and Administration (PSAA) at Texas A&M University and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC.)


The Texas College Survey of Substance Use (TCS) collects self-reported nicotine, alcohol, and other substance use data from Texas college students every 2 years. Beginning in 2015, data is collected every 2 years. Language from this dashboard is taken directly from the survey and questions from the survey itself.

To be eligible to complete the survey, a student had to be college-aged, which was defined as between the ages of 18 and 26. Each student also had to be an undergraduate registered in more than 4 hours of classes.

The TCS is a tool for decision makers, from the state-level to the local-level, to track trends in substance use among college students in Texas, to base decisions and establish prevention strategies upon data. This visualization allows users to explore substance use and risk/protective factor trends.

Survey weights are applied to all data exempt for median calculations. For further explanation of how the survey weights are calculated, see the TCS Methodology Reports.

Demographics: Race and ethnicity have been combined into Hispanic, any race vs. Non-Hispanic races.

Alcohol binging is defined by 4 drinks in a single occasion for women or 5 drinks in a single occasion for men.

Nicotine use was calculated by aggregating responses pertaining to nicotine-containing items, so that the most recent indication of use of smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, vaporizers or e-cigarettes, hookah, or shisha was counted as the most recent use of nicotine.

Risk factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes.

Protective factors are characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor's impact.

The Kessler K6 distress scale is a 6-item self-report measure of psychological distress intended to be used as a quick tool to assess risk for serious mental illness in the general adult population. K6 scores are calculated using the unweighted median scores of the responses from the TCS. Scores range from 0 (no psychological distress) to 24 (high psychological distress). Scores of ≥ 13 indicates severe mental illness; ≥ 5 indicates lower threshold of moderate mental distress.

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