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/aod.
For more information about the dangers of opioids, heroin and prescription drugs visit:
#5 Recommend the SCSU Collegiate Recovery program to your student.
It’s important to realize that a college campus can be a challenging environment and can often times make it difficult for students in recovery to connect with others. The SCSU Collegiate Recovery community is a supportive and safe environment within a campus culture that provides resources and opportunities for students in all pathways to recovery: www.southernct.edu/recovery.
Our Collegiate Recovery community is support-based and student-oriented with the goal of providing a resource for students in long-term recovery, and for any students seeking recovery, free of stigma. Additionally, we support and provide resources to students who have been directly or indirectly affected by the substance use of friends or loved ones.
Our mission is to provide a safe and welcoming campus environment in which students in all stages of recovery can successfully pursue and achieve their academic, personal and professional goals.
For more information about recovery support services and groups on campus, please visit SouthernCT.edu/recovery or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and advise your student to reach out to us. They can contact Sarah H. Keiser, M.S, LADC, the SCSU Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drug Services and the SCSU Collegiate Recovery Program at email@example.com or call (203) 392-5087.
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!