Drinking, smoking and other drug use are not uncommon human activities. Although fewer and fewer college students are cigarette smokers, “party” culture—especially drinking—is alive and well.
Alcohol and other drugs have varying degrees of social and legal acceptance and varying levels of risk. Risks and effects depend on many factors including the drug itself, use patterns, biology and heredity, and interactions with other drugs. For some people, the best choice is abstinence; others can manage some level of moderation. The more you know, the better prepared you are to make the best decisions for yourself.
Some common signs of a possible substance-related issue are changes in mood, behavior or appearance; sleeping or eating too much or too little; grades slipping, attendance problems; nodding off or displaying manic behavior; defensive or secretive affect.
If someone you know seems to display a chronic problem related to alcohol or drugs, but no emergency, contact SCTCC’s counselor for guidance on how to encourage your friend to get the help they need.
The acronym RAGS can be a helpful tool for talking to others about alcohol and drug use, and encouraging them to reflect on their relationship with a substance. You might even ask yourself these questions:
- Have you ever felt you should…Reduce your substance use?
Have you ever felt…Annoyed by others criticizing your substance use?
Have you ever felt…Guilty about using a substance?
Have you ever needed a substance to…Start your day?
Answering yes to two or more questions may indicate an unhealthy relationship with substances. In this circumstance, consultation with a professional is recommended. Alcohol or other drug overdose symptoms vary widely depending on the specific drug(s) used, but may include the following:
- Abnormal pupil size
- Dilated pupils (enlarged)
- Pinpoint pupils (very small)
- Nonreactive pupils (pupils do not change size when exposed to light)
- Staggering or unsteady gait (ataxia)
- Difficulty breathing
- Shallow, decreased breathing (respiratory depression)
- Labored breathing
- Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
- Unconsciousness (coma)
- Delusional or paranoid behavior
- Violent or aggressive behavior
Alcohol or other drug withdrawal symptoms also vary widely depending on the specific drug(s) used, but may include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Cold sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
Encouraging others to get help can make all the difference. If a friend displays any signs or symptoms of overdose or withdrawal, please treat as a medical emergency and dial 911.
SCTCC may make accommodations for students who seek emergency considerations for alcohol and other drug related issues.
- Go Ask Alice! Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Online Blood Alcohol Content Calculator
- Harvard School of Public Health Alcohol Study
- College Drinking - Changing the Culture
- Alcohol Screening
- Addiction Center
- Club Drug Facts
- Medline Plus Club Drug FAQ
- Tips for Parents...the Truth About Club Drugs
- Above The Influence
- Project GHB
- Drug Story
- Cocaine Anonymous
- InfoFacts: Crack & Cocaine
- MedLine Plus: Cocaine Abuse
- Cocaine & Crack Addiction Info
- Cocaine Drug Facts
- Inhalant Use
- The Abuse of Inhalants
- Above the Influence: Inhalants
- National Inhalant Prevention Coalition