As faculty members, you are central figures in the students’ lives, and often your role extends beyond the classroom.
Students may confide in you about problems they experience, or because of your frequent interaction with the students, you may recognize that they are having problems. You have the ability and opportunity to offer assistance to the students. This simple gesture may be all it takes for the student to seek help.
Most students are experiencing freedom and independence for the first time. With this freedom may come experimentation with alcohol and other drugs. Students may make high-risk drinking choices which put them at risk for alcohol-related impairment and health problems. The use of illicit substances is always high risk and dangerous. Students may not be able to recognize the potential dangers and consequences of their decisions.
In order to offer assistance, it is necessary to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of an alcohol or other drug problem. It is important to remember that you are not expected to be an expert in this area, nor are you expected to be able to diagnose a student’s problem. The first step in helping a student is simply to recognize that a problem may exist. Some of the signs include the following:
Intervention is a proactive method used to increase awareness of problem behaviors, prevent problems from becoming worse, and promote referral for further assessment and possible treatment. Intervention simply means meeting with a student and discussing your concern. The following are some tips for conducting an informal intervention:
Remember that even if the student refuses your help, you are an important part of the process in helping him/her recognize that there is a problem. If you are uncomfortable intervening with the student yourself but would still like to help, you can contact any of the offices or services identified on this website.