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Skidmore College
Health Services

Drug and Alcohol Use and Abuse 

Drug and Alcohol Use on College Campuses

Many parents worry about the decisions their children will make in college, especially since these choice can have a great impact on their health. One of the most common worries is that students will abuse alcohol or use drugs. Alcohol and drug abuse have been areas of concern on college campuses for many decades. 1,700 college students die and an additional 599,000 are injured annually as a direct result of alcohol consumption. [i]Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of additional health-related areas of concern including assault, sexual abuse, unsafe sex, academic issues, depression, vandalism, and many more. Although only a small percentage of college students meet the criteria for alcoholism, over 31% meet the criteria for alcohol abuse.[ii] 

Alcohol Abuse

Moderate alcohol use is normal, but alcohol abuse or dependence is a serious problem. Too much alcohol affects the central nervous system and how the brain functions. It affects perception, thinking, and coordination. It impairs judgment, reduces inhibitions, and increases aggression. Those who abuse alcohol are more likely than others to engage in high risk, thoughtless, or violent behaviors. Check out this interactive body site for more information.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

  • Your drinking is causing you to have social, work, financial, legal, or health problems
  • You have tried unsuccessfully to cut down the amount of alcohol you consume
  • You drink alone
  • You have a drink as soon as you get up in the morning to get rid of a hangover
  • You can drink a lot of alcohol without it having any affect on you so you don’t worry about how much you drink
  • You use alcohol to cope with the problems in your life
  • You have a family history of alcohol abuse.

Noteworthy Programs:

  • BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention for College Students) – this nationally recognized program utilizes motivational interviewing to elicit behavior change in students. During the 2007-2008 academic year, over 120 students have completed the BASICS program. Preliminary data suggests that the program is quite effective at altering student behaviors. For more information, visit the BASICS page.
  • MyStudentBody – This online alcohol course is required for all incoming first year students
  • Parent Programming – After research revealed the continued importance of parents in influencing the alcohol use patterns of their Skidmore students, a parental outreach program was established. Elements include a parent website, informational mailings, and parent workshops.
[i]Hingson, R. et al. Magnitude of Alcohol-Related Mortality and Morbidity AmongU.S.College Students Ages 18-24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health, vol. 26, 259-79; 2005

[ii]Knight JR, Wechsler H, Kuo M, Seibring M, Weitzman ER, Schuckit M. Alcohol abuse and dependence students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 2002, in press.

If you feel you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol abuse contact the college Counseling Center, 580-5555, to set up an appointment. The Counseling Center is located on the first floor of Jonsson Tower.