How do I know if my student has a problem with alcohol or other drugs? What do I do?
Worried about your Student?
How Can I Recognize Signs of a Possible Alcohol/Drug Problem in My Student?
Check all that apply:
- Drinking and/or drugging to calm nerves, forget worries or boost a depressed/sad mood
- Missing morning classes, falling behind on course work, and sudden or incremental deterioration in academic performance
- Guilt about drinking and/or drugging
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop drinking and/or drugging
- Experiencing unwanted consequences and acting irresponsibly (getting in trouble with school authorities and/or legal authorities, fighting, destruction of property, frequent hangovers)
- Lying about or hiding drinking and/or drugging habits
- Causing harm to oneself or someone else as a result of drinking and/or drugging
- Needing to drink and/or drug in increasingly greater amounts in order to achieve desired effect
- Feeling irritable, resentful, unreasonable, and moody when not drinking and/or drugging
- Medical, social, family, or financial problems have led to using alcohol and/or drugs as a coping mechanism
- Spending a great deal of time getting and using alcohol and/or drugs
- Drinking and/or drugging in risky situations such as before driving or before engaging in unwanted/unprotected sex
- Social life revolves entirely around drinking and/or drugging and there is a loss of interest in things that used to be pleasurable
What to do if you think your student might have an alcohol and/or drug problem:
- Choose a good time to talk with your student, for example, soon after an alcohol and/or drug related problem has occurred. Choose a time when he or she is sober, when both of you are calm and when you can speak privately. Use this time to be an active listener while maintaining a non-judgmental stance.
- Be specific. Let your student know that you are genuinely concerned about his or her drinking and/or drugging and you want to be supportive in getting them help. Back up your concern with examples of the ways in which his or her drinking and/or drugging has caused problems for both of you, including the most recent incident.
- Don't make excuses for your student's behavior. Many people try to protect their student from the consequences of his or her drinking and/or drugging behavior by making excuses to others and by minimizing problem behavior. Making excuses and minimizing allows your student to avoid changing his or her behavior.
- Let your student know that risky drinking, including binge drinking, and/or drug use, can lead to more severe problems including alcohol dependence (alcoholism) and/or drug dependence, as well as to injuries, unwanted/unprotected sex, academic failure, and interpersonal problems.
- Seek out resources on campus to help your student. Talk to a clinician at the wellness or counseling center, or a residence hall staff member. Ask the wellness or counseling center staff what resources are available for your student and how to motivate him or her to use them.
- Use the resources. Do what you can to encourage your student to use the resources you identify but remember the only person who can change is your student. If you think you also need help due to your student's drinking and/or drugging, don't hesitate to seek it.
- Keep in mind you are not alone. There are many people and resources on campus that can support your effort to get help for your student. Seek them out. (See below for details).
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How do I get involved with the AOD Committee?
The Alcohol and Other Drug Committee meets regularly and welcomes partnerships from faculty and staff. Please contact the Counseling Center at (914) 633-2038 if you would like to work with us!
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