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Ways to Help


When concerned about a friend and considering discussing these concerns about alcohol or other drug use, please keep the following in mind:

  • Watch for changes in the following:
    • Mood
    • Appearance
    • Motivation
    • Behavior
    • Drinking/drugging patterns (increase in quantity and/or frequency)
    • Consequences from drinking/drugging (increase)
  • Fights with friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, or strangers
  • Poor scholastic performance
  • Loss of energy
  • Financial troubles
  • Health concerns

Talk with your friend about what you see, expressing your concern.

  • Be specific, giving examples of what you have seen that is causing concern.
  • Focus on the observable behavior and not the person.
  • If others who care see the same things, involve them in the discussions.
  • Be willing to refer them for help; know your resources.
  • Support and encourage sober, more responsible behaviors.
  • Get any support you may need.

Faculty and Staff

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

If you think a student might have a substance abuse problem there may be some behaviors or symptoms that are easily observable and could indicate the presence of a problem. The following signs and symptoms might indicate that someone has or is at risk for having a problem with drugs or alcohol:

  • You have heard reports or the student informs you that they are abusing substances.
  • The student has been involved in disciplinary actions as a result of alcohol or drug violations.
  • The student's grades have suffered.
  • Missing classes or appointments.
  • You notice the student is having difficulty with peers.
  • Emotional outbursts or changes in mood.
  • Falling asleep in class.
  • Noticeable change in appearance, such as a significant shift in weight or poor hygiene.

Guidelines for Intervention

  • Talk to a student in a private space.
  • Express concern. Be as specific as possible in stating your observations and the reasons for concern.
  • Be direct. It communicates respect and caring for the individual.
  • Don't rush. Except in emergencies, the student should feel free to accept, consider, or refuse the referral.
  • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
  • If the student resists help and you remain uncomfortable with the situation, contact the Counseling Center to discuss your concerns with a counselor.
  • If the student is open to referrals, you can provide them with contact information for the Counseling Center: 215.895.1415 or

Parents and Families

Please see the Parent and Family Information tab for more helpful information.