Counseling Center

Alcohol and Drugs

At times, you may become concerned about a student’s use of alcohol or other drugs.  Problematic use of substances can affect the student’s academics, relationships, and mental and physical health.  A party culture that involves heavy alcohol or drug consumption can have a negative impact on the larger campus community.  There is no specific measurement to determine when substance use becomes “too much” and crosses over the line from social to unhealthy.  However, the following signs may indicate that a problem exists; the greater the number of signs on the list, the greater the concern.

Recognize

  • Daily functioning is impaired, e.g. hygiene, class or work attendance or performance, relationships, attention and memory, etc.
  • The student or someone else has expressed concerns about their use
  • The student appears to be under the influence while in class or at work
  • The student or someone else has been injured as a result of their substance use
  • The student has encountered legal or disciplinary problems as a result of their substance use
  • The student has experienced blackouts or brownouts (memory lapses) as a result of their substance use
  • The student engages in high-risk behaviors, such as binge drinking, drinking and driving, having unprotected sex under the influence, etc.
  • The student expresses guilt or remorse about their substance use or behavior when under the influence
  • The student seems preoccupied with alcohol/drug use, e.g. when they will next drink/use
  • The student seems reliant on alcohol or drugs, e.g. drinks in the morning, can’t go without smoking for a day, “has to” drink or get high in social situations, etc.

Respond

  • Treat the situation as serious
  • Use “I statements”
  • Make specific observations about the behaviors you’re concerned about, e.g. “I noticed _____ and I’m concerned because _____”
  • Encourage the student to seek help
  • Involve the student in assessing their use of alcohol or drugs. Ask them how they view their alcohol/drug use and then listen respectfully.
  • Recognize that denial is a powerful aspect of substance problems and that the student may not be ready to acknowledge that there is anything wrong.

Refer

On Campus (413-542-extension):

Off Campus: