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College drug use on the rise

Southern Connecticut State University

Dear Parents,

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 abuse and binge drinking still top the list of substance abuse problems among college students, the use of heroin and the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, the very ones found in medicine cabinets across the country, is a growing and serious problem on college campuses.

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 without parental supervision and support. Even the best and brightest can 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 medications and the use of drugs such as heroin on campus, 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 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 buoy 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:

#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. Please advise them to seek information and support by contacting the SCSU Office of Counseling Services at (203) 392-5475,

To find out more information about the dangers of heroin and prescription drugs visit

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 drug use and abuse, and we hope that all parents will partner with us in this mission. Thank you for your attention to this important matter!

SCSU Office of the Dean of Student Affairs

Southern Connecticut State University

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