Ways to Help
Be aware of your own as well as your friend's behavior. Does it concern you? Are you curious about problems that arise when you or a friend is intoxicated? Know the resources we have to offer and do not be afraid to seek and/or suggest help when needed. Get informed and know the facts that can inform your choice!
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:
- 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.
Consider including or infusing information about alcohol and other drugs into your coursework — a topic of a paper, discussion, project, design etc. There are many ways to keep true to your discipline and learning objectives while making alcohol and/or other drugs a focus of an assignment; from a media project, to the engineering of a breathalyzer, to designing computer programs that demonstrate the effects, the list goes on.
Curriculum Infusion – An Instructor's Tip Sheet
So, what does curriculum infusion mean exactly?
Curriculum infusion (CI) is a program used by many campuses to affect the behavior of groups of students regarding alcohol consumption. The Network for the Dissemination of Curriculum Infusion (NDCI) defines CI as the process of integrating information about alcohol and other drugs (AOD) abuse prevention into the curriculum of regularly offered courses.
An important benefit of CI is its focus on instructors and faculty, but often an underutilized resource in campus alcohol misuse prevention efforts. Here is why incorporating instructors and faculty in alcohol prevention is beneficial:
- As a classroom-based strategy, CI can reach a broader range of students than voluntary educational programs.
- CI has the potential to reach more students than alcohol educational efforts delivered in health, wellness, or other special topic classes.
- Classroom prevention efforts may be especially useful for commuter students or those that live off campus, as the students who live off campus are also at risk.
- Instructor and faculty involvement in prevention also offers stability to prevention efforts.
- Interactive activities (not necessarily all discussion) – ex: case studies, games, daily factoid, etc.
- Other – ex: guest speaker
Parents and Families
Know the facts and resources and talk with your students. Every generation has their experience with alcohol and other drugs. Whether one chooses to experiment, use, abuse, or abstain, it is helpful to begin to have discussions about how you and your student will communicate about alcohol and other drugs before they get to campus. It is also wise to discuss decision making in general, gather, and share accurate information about the use and/or abuse of substances, and consider how you may best support the healthy and responsible choices.
Professional Staff and Faculty
Develop relationships with the students you encounter on a regular basis; for many this is a part of the work you already do. In the context of the relationship take note of anything a student says or does that causes concern or raises some sort of red flag suggesting problematic behavior. As you are comfortable, talk with students about your concerns in very specific and concrete ways and feel free to refer students to, or consult with, The Haven at Drexel or Drexel's Counseling Center for alcohol, other drug, and health education for additional guidance. Below are some helpful tips:
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 seen the student drinking excessively.
- The student has been involved in disciplinary actions as a result of alcohol or drug intoxication.
- The student's grades have suffered because of excess substance use.
- The student has been involved in accidents in which alcohol is involved.
- The student misses classes or appointments because s/he is hung over.
- The student is having difficulties in relationships with peers because of his or her excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
- The student has been involved in sexual activity he or she later regrets.
- The student has had erratic emotional outbursts.
- The student has black outs.
- The student is unable to modify his or her drinking or drug use.
- The student has experienced weight loss, medical difficulties, or is exhibiting poor hygiene.
Guidelines for Intervention
- Talk to a student in private.
- 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 Haven at Drexel or the Counseling Center to discuss your concerns.