Page 142 - Faculty Handbook2

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General Concerns
may or may not be a problem among students at your
institution. Students who do abuse prescription stimulants
are significantly more likely to also abuse alcohol and other
drugs. Research finds that 31 percent of undergraduates
meet criteria for substance abuse and 6 percent meet the
criteria for dependency. While the level of abuse drops
among graduate students, the rate of dependency does not.
As a faculty member, you may not always be sure of the
cause, but you may notice the impact of students’ substance
use on academic performance. This may look like irregular
attendance, missed assignments, uneven class participation,
and poor performance on papers, projects, and exams. If you
were to confront a student about your observations, the
student might not make the connection between his or her
substance use and his or her behavior. This is further
complicated by the fact that substance problems often co-
occur with other mental health problems such as clinical
depression, eating disorders, and attention deficit/
hyperactivity disorder.
Health care providers indicate that a faculty member
expressing concern for a student, regardless of the cause of
the problem, can have a profound and positive impact on the
student. It may serve as the catalyst for a student accessing
help or recognizing that he or she needs a higher level of
Research regarding brief interventions indicates several
effective strategies for initiating a conversation (with