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Substance Abuse

Alcohol has caused problems since the first colleges and universities were founded and remain to this day the drug most abused by students. While some people decrease alcohol and/or drug use after their first two to three years in college, others continue to binge drink or use drugs and eventually develop a substance abuse problem.

Signs of abusing alcohol and/or other substances include: failure to fulfill obligations at school and work (e.g., absences, tardiness, incomplete assignments, performing below potential); substance use in situations when it’s physically hazardous (e.g., driving under the influence); substance-related legal problems (e.g., fighting, damaging property, date or acquaintance rape, sexual harassment); continued use despite recurrent social or interpersonal problems (e.g., losing friends, significant others, family members); continued use despite repeated harmful consequences (e.g., placed on academic probation, losing a part-time job, being arrested).

  • If you know of a person with a drinking and/or substance use problem:

    1. Seek assistance. The following resources are available to help you.

    2. Submit a Care Report.

    Submit a CARE Report

  • DO

    • Treat the situation as serious, but withhold judgment. Be objective.
    • Be aware that the use of substances is not based on logic. Lecturing isn’t effective.
    • Hold the person responsible for his/her behaviors and assignments.
    • Be aware that denial is powerful and includes conscious and unconscious lying, distortions and delusions (at times).
    • Be aware that for a person who is addicted to a substance, cravings or hunger for the substance may be increased by stress.
    • Be aware that the more a person is exposed to treatment opportunities, the better chance s/he will be motivated to change behavior.
    • Refer the person to the Alcohol and Drug Program for a drug and alcohol assessment.


    • Make light of drug and drinking stories.
    • Tell your personal stories of party days.
    • Engage in drug use or drinking with the person.
    • Assume college drug and alcohol experimentation is harmless.

    Submit a Care Report

    Submit a CARE Report