Joseph Espinoza Take a look at your campus: What programs are there for students to be engaged in learning about drugs and alcohol?  Peer educators can be trained to present on a range of substance use topics and help to dispel myths about drug and alcohol use.    Is there support for students who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol? Students can come from all lifestyles and it is not unlikely to have students on campus who are dealing with addiction and/or are in recovery.  Are there campus data on drug and alcohol use and how are these data being shared with students? Social norm...

As faculty, we see how alcohol and other drug misuse affect students’ academic performance. For example, some students miss class, pass in late assignments, fall asleep, or rarely participate because of their substance use. These behaviors can be a cry for help, and in these cases, faculty can make a difference. Faculty can encourage students to obtain help from the college counseling center. If a faculty member feels uncomfortable talking to the student, he or she can contact the Dean or another appropriate staff person on campus to recommend help for the student. Some campuses have...

Implicit beliefs about addiction often frame access to support systems for students in recovery or in need of treatment. Belittling labels such as “addict,” “junkie,” “stoner,” “loser,” and the like serve to preserve implicit beliefs that people struggling with an addiction are morally or emotionally inferior to their non-substance dependent peers. Implicit biases related to substance use and stigma are seldom discussed on college campuses. Yet, the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health finds young adults (18-25) have the greatest prevalence (1 in 7) for a substance use disorder,...

When I began my career as a prevention professional at a large public university more than two decades ago, I made many of my programming choices based on an instinct that what I was implementing would reduce drug use among our students. After all, who could resist the power of a fraternity member or student-athlete who spoke about taking a friend’s life while driving under the influence? Who would not reduce their drug use immediately upon witnessing a crashed car in the middle of our residence quad, walking into a trailer containing an exhibit of the personal effects of a college student...

There was a point in my earlier days that I thought talking about strategic planning was a cure for insomnia. I recall wanting to flee strategic planning meetings in order to spend time with students “getting the work done.” I recall the first time I was shown the Strategic Prevention Framework by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), I thought “We already do all of that. Who needs a fancy color wheel to help them?”   Robert C. Reff, PhD Time and experience have shifted my views on strategic planning. As our challenges get more complex and we strive to meet...

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