As you probably have learned though recent news reports, heroin use by college students is on the rise nationwide, along with the abuse of prescription opioid medications, MDMA (“molly”), ecstasy and others. Use of these drugs has led to an increase in the number of young adults being transported to the hospital, being arrested and required to leave the university setting, requiring treatment and even in causing accidental death.
For many students, notably first-year/freshman students, college is the first time that they have ventured away from home. They often find themselves up against tough decisions, one of which is standing up to pressure to do drugs and consume alcohol. SCSU is committed to providing a safe environment for personal growth and learning, which is why we are sending you this notice through the parent newsletter.
While alcohol still tops the list as the most widely abused substance among college students, the use of heroin and the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a growing and serious problem on college campuses across the country.
Unfortunately, when confronted with the issue of substance abuse, many parents are quick to say “not my child.” But once away from home, students are subject to the temptations and demands of college life which can lead to students experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. A majority of students feel the pressure to fit in socially and excel academically.
While SCSU is working to promote awareness about the risks and address the use and abuse of prescription drugs, it is important and necessary to partner with parents to help educate and protect students from the dangers of substance use and abuse. There are some simple things you can do to help educate and protect your student.
#1 Stay Engaged with Your Student
Find ways to talk regularly with your student about his/her emotional wellbeing and adjustment to college life. This can go a long way to help boost their confidence to “do the best they can” when juggling academic and social demands. Suggest healthy ways to handle stress.
#2 Take Precautions
If you or someone else in the family takes prescription medications such as stimulants or pain relievers for legitimate medical reasons, keep your medications in a safe place, preferably locked up and out of sight. If you notice that pills or bottles are missing, take the necessary steps to talk with your student and provide supportive counsel.
#3 Know What to Look For
Signs of a possible drug abuse problem could include:
• Difficulty concentrating and problems with sleeping
• Nausea, excessive sweating and shaking can all be signs of withdrawal
• Unhealthy appearance and weight loss
• Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities, such as hobbies, sports, etc.
• Neglecting school, work or family responsibilities.
• Changes in behavior and severe mood swings
• Engaging in risk-taking behavior
• Continued use of a substance despite physical health problem
For more signs and symptoms, please see www.talkaboutrx.org/documents/WarningSigns.pdf.
#4 Take Action
If you suspect your student or a friend of your student is abusing prescription medicines or using other drugs, treat the situation as serious and encourage them to seek support.
To find out more information about the dangers of heroin and prescription drugs visit www.drugabuse.gov.
SCSU offers support and services to commuter and residential students in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Please advise them to seek information and support by contacting the Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Services at (203) 392-5475 or (203) 392 5087, www.southernct.edu/counseling-services/.
Let your student know that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings are held on Wednesdays in Engleman Hall B 208, 8-9 p.m. Find out more: www.aa.org/.
SCSU recently received grant funding from Transforming Youth in Recovery (TYR), a non-profit organization that focuses on the creation of on-campus recovery programs to directly support students in recovery from substance use disorders.
The TYR “Seeds of Hope” grant will assist SCSU in building a recovery program that will offer opportunities for students who want to live a healthy, sober lifestyle and will help SCSU to assist them in achieving their personal and academic goals.
For information about Recovery and Support groups for family members, please visit:
At SCSU, we are committed to educating and raising awareness among students about the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, and we hope that all parents/guardians will partner with us in this mission.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter!