How to Help/Referrals
Parent Handbook for Talking to College Students About Alcohol
This handbook is sponsored by Student Wellness Services. It is supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. There are a variety of strategies you can adapt to fit your own personal style and relationship with your student. We encourage you to talk with your student and lower their risk.
How to Help Students with Substance Use Problems
Recognizing the Signs of Problem Alcohol or Other Drug Use
It can be difficult to know when to intervene when you're worried about a student's alcohol or drug use. Alcohol and drugs affect people differently. Some individuals become more mellow and quiet, while others become more talkative and loud. In addition, some people experience acute personality changes after consuming a small quantity of drugs or alcohol, while others may not have any noticeable changes after consuming large quantities. What is important to observe is the effect the substance(s) have on a person's life. If you notice a student experiencing problems in their life (i.e. academically, socially, emotionally) associated with their alcohol or other drug use, they need help.
Someone doesn't need to use drugs or alcohol on a daily basis or need to show all symptoms to have a problem. If you notice a student is showing some signs or symptoms of an alcohol or other drug problem, but it doesn't appear that they use or drink very often, they may be secretly using or drinking. They also could be addicted to both alcohol and illegal prescription drugs. You may only notice their drinking and not see their drug use.
The warning signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol use are provided below to assist you in recognizing a student that may have a substance use problem.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, just one or two could be a red flag. The more symptoms, the more likely the student is in need of help. When in doubt, trust your instincts and follow this guide to assist you in getting a student the help and support they need. A caring conversation can help the student to get connected to a helpful resource.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Problem Alcohol Use:
If a student shows any of the following warning signs, they may have developed a problem with the use of alcohol:
- Blackouts or memory loss
- Smell of alcohol on the breath
- Slurred speech, lack of coordination, nausea or vomiting
- Injuries while drinking
- Drinking even though there are physical conditions that can be worsened by drinking
- Their use of alcohol interferes with school, work or other activities
- Alcohol use even though they would be driving or doing something else that would be risky if impaired
Problems with alcohol use can progress into addiction; the warning signs of an addiction are below:
- A person cannot control how much they drink
- A person needs more alcohol to create a "buzz"
- A person may feel sick, shaky, or restless when alcohol use is ceased, indicating withdrawal
- Even though there is harm to family, friends, education or career, the person still drinks
- A person gives up other activities they enjoy so they can drink
- A person tries to conceal their drinking and makes excuses
- A person would like to quit drinking, but despite repeated attempts, still drinks
- Alcohol becomes a focal point in their life
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Problem Drug Use:
If a student shows any of the following warning signs, they may have developed a problem with using drugs:
- Injuries while driving under the influence of drugs
- Using drugs even though there are physical conditions that can be worsened by drug use
- Use of drugs is interfering with school, work or other activities
- Drug use despite knowing they will be driving or doing something else that would be risky while impaired
- Changes in financial situation
- Memory loss or blackouts
- Physical symptoms of slurred speech, tremors or shakiness
Problems with drugs use can progress into addiction. Below are some common warning signs of an addiction:
- A person cannot control how much they use
- A person needs more of a drug to create a "high"
- A person may feel sick, shaky, or restless when drug use is ceased, indicating withdrawal
- Even though there is harm to family, friends, education or career, the person still uses
- A person gives up other activities they enjoy so they can use
- A person tries to conceal their use and makes excuses
- A person would like to quit but despite repeated attempts, still uses drug(s)
- Drug use becomes a focal point in their life
Where to Make a Referral
|Service Name||Description of Service||How to Access|
|Dean of Students||First point of contact to share your concerns about the student except in case of an emergency situation. If you are unsure of what resource to whom to refer, the Dean of Students staff will ensure the student is referred to the needed resource(s) e.g. one or more of the services listed below.||Call (319) 273-2332 or complete online form " Seeking Student Assistance" at deanofstudents.uni.edu|
|Student Wellness Services - Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and Education Services||Student Wellness Services provides preventative and confidential supportive services for students as it relates to alcohol and other drugs. BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students) was designed specifically to help college students make safer and healthier decisions regarding alcohol. BASICS uses a harm reduction approach. Students complete a confidential alcohol/drug questionnaire and a personalized feedback profile is generated for the student. Then a Student Wellness Services staff member reviews the feedback profile with the student during a scheduled, one-on-one appointment.||To schedule an individual BASICS appointment contact Shawna Jesse, Health Promotion Coordinator for Student Wellness Services at email@example.com or call (319) 273-6119|
|Student Health Center||Student Health Center provides screening and information to students, including alcohol and drug use consultation and referrals.||wellbeing.uni.edu/student-health
|Counseling Center||Counseling Center provides screening and information to students, including alcohol and drug use consultation and referrals.||wellbeing.uni.edu/counseling-center
|Pathways Behavioral Services||Substance abuse evaluations, individual and group counseling, residential treatment, and preventon services.||pathwaysb.org
|Access Evaluation & Education||Education and Substance use evaluations for all ages, for any reason including court and school related matters. UNI LOCATION (for UNI students only) in the Student Health Center - 2nd Floor. See website for more information.||To schedule an appointment: call 319-252-4631 or https://www.accessevals.com/request-an-appointment|
|Al-Anon and Alateen||Provides information and support for the family members and friends of individuals with alcohol problems.||National: al-anon.org
|Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)||AA is an international fellowship of people who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, mutliracial, and apolitical. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem.||National: www.aa.org
Hotline: (319) 291-3627
Volunteers can provide emotional support and/or meeting accompaniment.
|Narcotics Anonymous (NA)||NA is a nonprofit fellowship of people for whom drugs had become a major problem. This is a program of complete abstinences from all drugs and the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using. Anyone may join and there are no fees for meeting attendance.||National: www.na.org
Hotline: (319) 291-8803
The Hotline provides information regarding local meeting times and places.
|Your Life Iowa Helpline||If you are struggling with the use of drugs and/or alcohol, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, contact Your Life Iowa. Your Life Iowa is available to help you confidently self-assess your situation, get reliable information, find resources and treatment options, and chat live with trained professionals. Help is available 24/7 and call/text/chat is confidential and free.||Call, text, or chat live online:
Call: (855) 581-8111
Text: (855) 895-8398
|SAMSHA||The SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information services (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.||1 (800) 662-HELP (4357)|
Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GOCannabis eCHECKUP TO GO
You can take a self-survey offered by Student Wellness Services to check on your alcohol and/or cannabis use. These services are free, fast (15 min.), anonymous, and confidential (no personal identifiable information from the survey will be stored).
|Visit aodeducation.uni.edu and click on Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO or Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO.
If you would like to talk about the results of your personalized feedback from the survey, staff from Student Wellness Services are available to meet with you. To schedule a meeting, email Shawna Jesse, Health Promotion Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|ULifeline||ULifeline offers students a mental health screening tool, information about mental health issues geared towards you, and resources for learning more and getting help. Screening options include alcohol and other drugs, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, stress, suicide, cutting, and more.||Go to ulifeline.org/uni and click on Self-Evaluator|