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Substance Misuse and Treatment

Facts are often not enough to help some university students with their drinking and drug use.

Wondering if you might have a problem or recognizing that you do have a problem with substance misuse are the first steps in getting help. Some people have trouble deciding whether their use is a problem, and others find it hard to stop even when they are aware that it has become a problem.

Prevention, early detection and timely intervention of college substance misuse issues are vital if students want to reduce the number of alcohol and other drug-related problems they have on campuses today. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism research shows that college students who receive a single individual counseling session will often significantly reduce their substance misuse. It is up you, the student who is now in charge of his or her life, to realize choices about drinking and drugs are critical. You need to party smart. And if you get in trouble with substance misuse, you need to seek help. It is your future.

Because substance misuse affects every person on our campus, we offer several programs to help students like you make safe and informed decisions about substance use. If you think you might need help, your primary care physician or a doctor on campus can give you advice and refer you for treatment if you need it. And don’t worry. Doctor-patient relationships are confidential—even here at college.

How to Help a Friend or Yourself

Through training and education, clinical research and compassionate care, we can help change the future for those struggling with substance misuse. We've compiled a number of resources - here at West Virginia University, at the state level and on the national level - to help connect individuals to the information and services that they need.

Professional and confidential help is available from The Carruth Center. It’s free, confidential and a good place to start if you’re ready for some straight talk about alcohol, drugs and you. Please call your school counseling center and make an appointment to see one of our counselors. Let’s talk!

Some programs that may be offered include:

  • Substance Use Counseling—to help students reduce risk in their choices in a safe, non-judgmental environment. By the way, what you say will not be released to anyone inside or outside the school without your written permission (except as required by law).
  • Peer counseling—to help students reduce risk in their choices in a safe, non-judgmental environment
  • Peer-led workshops—featuring interactive real-life tools you can use at parties, in clubs or anywhere drinking and drugs are around to tempt you
  • Hotlines—offering confidential counseling when you need it. By the way, what you say will not be released to anyone inside or outside the school without your written permission (except as required by law).

If You Find Yourself Worried about a Friend…

While there is no one guaranteed way to help a friend, there are many things worth trying. Once you feel that you’re ready to talk with your friend, here are some tips that may help things go more smoothly. (Remember, your friend may not see things the way you do or may not be ready to admit this.)

  • Wait until your friend is sober; make sure there is enough time for the talk.
  • Know that it’s okay to be nervous, but try to stay calm.
  • Use what are called “I” statements:
    • I really care about you.
    • I have noticed that you have been acting differently lately.
    • I have missed you in classes, and it seems like you’ve been going out a lot.
    • I’m just wondering if everything is okay.

Your friend may say that everything is fine. You may need to play it by ear about whether to push more or back off. There is no one right answer. Even if your friend seems to have completely ignored you, your effort still has value. You have done what is called “planting the seed.” You have articulated a concern, and while it may not produce immediate change, your words may resonate with your friend over time. You may not be the only one to raise a concern—the effect can be cumulative. The remarks of one person can be more easily ignored than those of numerous people.

Everyone has his or her own ideas about what it means to be a good friend. Sometimes it means being brave enough to say your piece.

And if you’re looking for a good time…

Visit your college website, take a spin through your student handbook and talk to your resident supervisor. See what’s happening at your school’s recreational complex, and ask about other facilities your college offers for recreational use. School concerts might also be happening this weekend. Chances are your school offers a wide variety of recreational options that you will enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to get off campus as well and check out local cultural events or the movie times. Pick up a newspaper (yes, a newspaper!) or go online to the local newspaper site to see the events calendar for this month. 


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