To some degree, almost every university in Washington State supports students with substance abuse problems. Some universities have full services that include everything from courses about substance abuse to individual and group therapy. Other universities will have an online list of organizations they’re associated with that are readily available to assist students with drug and alcohol issues.
Statistics on addiction in the U.S. are alarming. Opioid addiction purely from prescription painkillers are widespread. Drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin are responsible for over 2 million Americans abusing or becoming dependent on opioids. Alcohol is the most common addictive substance use in the U.S. with 17.6 million adults suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence. That’s 1 in 12 people.
Students are more at risk due to developing substance abuse because of their environment on campus. The peer pressure along with the amount of stress that can go along with leaving home for the first time can make it far easier to overuse drugs or alcohol. It has become apparent to universities in Washington and all over the U.S. that changes need to be implemented. The hope is to support students and offer them healthier life choices while at university so they don’t suffer from the consequences of substance abuse.
Why Students at Universities in Washington Need Substance Abuse Support
Students going to university in the state of Washington experience greater stress, and are more likely to be involved in partying which puts them at greater risk of addiction. Addiction comes in many forms that are both legal and illegal. It can be obvious or it can remain hidden but regardless, it hurts those involved.
When substance abuse starts to take over someone’s life and addiction occurs, students may need to turn to detox or rehab. As grades begin to slide; the stress will build up and sometimes students just need a safe place to admit what’s happening in their life. This is the first step towards recovery but they need a place that is convenient and ready to help them with their struggle. If it’s not available to them, it’s a missed opportunity to help a student get on the right path in their life.
Services that Support Washington State Universities
There are many associations that are there to support colleges who don’t have their own support system in place for students. Some of the most widely used associations include the following:
eCHECKUP TO GO
Some universities in WA state offer this alcohol abuse service through their website. It is an accurate, quick test that gives back personalized feedback regarding:
- A students specific drinking pattern
- Their pattern of risk
- What their aspirations and goals are
- Resources that may be helpful at the university as well as in their community
CCSAP Helping Universities in Washington
The College Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention (CCSAP) is comprised of individuals that help universities with issues and problems associated with substance abuse. Their mission is to give support, provide professional development and offer technical assistance by:
- Prevention in substance abuse on campuses.
- Cultivating a healthy environment that gives students substance-free options on campus.
- A strategy for colleges and universities against substance abuse in WA state.
Over half of the higher education institutes in Washington have joined CCSAP to support their students with substance abuse problems. Here are some of them:
- Central Washington University
- Eastern Washington University
- Evergreen State College
- Seattle Community College
- Seattle University
- Seattle Pacific University
- University of Puget Sound
- University of Washington
- UW-Tacoma campus
- Washington Community and Technical College
- Washington State University
- Western Washington University
- Whitman College
- Whitworth College
There are five universities in Washington State that make the top of the list for their substance abuse support programs. They have come to understand the problems students face due to the statistics of drug and alcohol addiction in Washington. Some offer housing that are located on substance-free floors while others have programs that assess and assist students along with faculty and staff. Outreach programs, group therapy, and workshops have also been incorporated into student support for substance abuse.
1. Washington State University Give Great Support to Students with Substance Abuse
WSU has their own set of services known as ADCAPS which stands for Alcohol and Drugs Counseling, Assessment, and Prevention Services. Many of their services relate to supporting students who are struggling with substance abuse. The services include workshops, outreach programs and the assessment of parties within the campus setting including students, faculty, and staff. Educating all students on how to help each other is an important aspect of campus life as they build friendships and trust with one another. It is the roommate or the friend that is most likely to intervene when they see someone they care about spinning out of control due to substance abuse. Washington State University has shown a high amount of commitment through it’s array of substance abuse programs for it’s students.
In 2013, they implemented changes to endorse cleaner living on their campus which included:
- Adding additional alcohol-free floors within residence halls.
- Notifying parents if a student under the age of 21 is found drinking underage.
- At-risk students are required to take part in alcohol screening.
- University support services intervene if necessary to help students.
- Educating students on the signs of alcohol poisoning and intervention strategies.
- Increasing the number of classes offered on Friday mornings.
The University of Washington and their Health and Wellness Services offer CPR and Alcohol Safety programs through the American Heart Association. It teaches students how to save someone in an emergency. Many types of substance abuse can cause overdose or poisoning where one would need to activate the chain of survival by performing CPR prior to the medical assistance.
The University of Washington offers education of alcohol related topics by use of the popular game show Family Feud. They pit two groups against each other with questions that are designed to teach them the truth about alcohol in a fun, interactive way. This includes topics such as alcohol effects, how a bystander can intervene, social norms in WSU and what to do in a medical emergency.
2. Western Washington University Substance Abuse Services
Alcohol and Other Drug Consultation and Assessment Services (ADCAS) is a professional service available for Western Washington University students. It is confidential and open to students who want to talk about alcohol or other substances. Their resources include helping those who are worried about their own substance abuse issues or others they care about. There are referral options if someone is seeking out sobriety or risk reduction support.
ADCAS helps students figure out how serious their dependency is with voluntary services. They also coordinate students’ enrollment into an evidence-based program when they have violated alcohol and drug policies in Washington State. These services are provided by professional staff that are highly trained. They offer training sessions individually or in group therapy. The main goal is to offer students at Western Washington University an enjoyable experience without the consequences that come with substance abuse.
This is their full list of services:
- They consult personal substance use problems.
- They assess personal substance use and give feedback to the student.
- They plan and offer support to students who want to cut back or quit substance abuse.
- They have an open-door policy for those who want to help someone with addiction which includes family members, friends, partners, or roommates.
- They have a referral program for campus and community support, counseling, and treatment resources.
3. Substance-Free Floors in Evergreen State College
RAD Services helps students at Evergreen State College live a healthy lifestyle while on campus. They run educational, social, and service-related programs to offer student healthy choices. The substance-free floor at Evergreen State College gives first year students the option to live in a clean-living environment.
The determining factors of students choosing this floor may include personal or family history with addiction. It may also be a personal or religious conviction that makes a student choose this path in their college years. It’s been found that residents feel less peer pressure to use substances and have more community support to stay sober. The college asks that students submit an application which includes a conversation with the Resident Director.
Expectations within the substance-free resident living include:
- Participating in the creation of the Living Learning Agreement.
- Students will have to create a document that outlines the expectations of the community.
- Students shouldn’t take part in any form of substance use or abuse on or away from the community.
The supportive environment for students to live a substance-free life depends on the participation of the students themselves. They offer input to RAD which keeps the program evolving and getting better for future residents. Evergreen State College in Washington has a counseling center for substance abuse also. They offer psychological counseling, information, and referrals for substance abuse treatment. They hold individual feedback sessions and run prevention workshops as a means of intervention, helping students move towards positive choices in life.
4. Seattle University Empowers Students
Seattle University in WA offers the alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO services which is the self-assessment students can do online to determine their risk of substance abuse. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is designed to help students at Seattle University meet the challenges of college life.
CAPS use affirmative therapy to empower students to participate in campus life positively with free services for enrolled students. If students need counseling for alcohol or drug use, they are treated with sensitivity and respect. The team are comprised of licensed clinicians and provide individual and group therapy for students. They also have referral services if a student requires on-going care. The clinicians in CAPS might determine that a student requires professional rehab or that they should attend AA meetings in Washington.
The services are all confidential so students can feel they have a safe place to seek out help. The staff provides consultation, crisis intervention and workshops.
5. Central Washington University Supports Students Through Substance Abuse Education
Central Washington University helps students struggling with substance abuse through their Wildcat Wellness Center. It is the main campus location for alcohol and drug education. They offer prevention of abuse and addiction as well as counseling for students. Students and staff alike are encouraged to use this facility.
Services provided by the Wildcat Wellness Center include:
- Prime for Life which is an 8 – 10-hour alcohol education and prevention class.
- An informal assessment and screening of the substance use patterns of individual students.
- Information and education.
The drug and alcohol initiatives are the best-known methods in the field to reduce negative consequences that can occur from substance abuse.
They also run a course called BASICS which is a one session screening and discussion for alcohol or marijuana. It is free for any Central Washington University student who is enrolled. BASICS is also a course that students may wish to attend to fill the requirement needed for an alcohol or drug related offense they committed. Other participants do so to educate themselves on how to moderate their substance use.
All students are welcome, both referred and self-referred, as it’s designed to help them consider their substance use without judgment. The goal of the course is to reduce risky behaviors and the consequences that can occur through substance abuse.
Knowing the struggles that past students have had throughout their college years has caused universities to make positive changes. Giving students options allow them to strive in a substance-free environment to prevent the further epidemic of drug and alcohol use in a university setting.
The top universities that support students with their substance abuse struggles have many resources. Students can opt to live in substance-free accommodations on campus. They have the tools to assess their level of substance abuse. There are professionals that are willing to guide students as well as giving them referrals for advanced help. The awareness is there for universities in WA state and they are striving to give students a college experience with healthy choices.
If the university doesn’t offer the level of assistance a student needs for substance abuse, the state of WA has several programs. Many of the programs are free of charge or when applicable, an insurance plan can cover intensive outpatient treatment programs. This allows students to continue attending their classes while getting the help they need. Along with the support of the university, they attend in Washington, students will have all the necessary opportunity to get past their struggle with substance abuse.
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United States Census Bureau. (2014). Table 5. Type of college and year enrolled for college students 15 years old and over, by age, sex, race, attendance status, control of school, and enrollment status: October 2014. In Current Population Survey October 2014—Detailed tables. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/hhes/school/data/cps/2014/tables.html
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (January 09, 2015). Epidemiology of alcohol and other drug use among American college students.