Drug and Alcohol Awareness

Students don't usually set out to develop an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Instead, the addiction process often sneaks up on them and takes them by surprise.

Due to the psychological and physiological processes, moderate use can transform into a higher tolerance for the substance. It then requires a more considerable amount of the substance to achieve the same effects, becoming early stages of addiction and sometimes going unnoticed to the user.

Common alcohol and drug-related problems

Stuggling with drugs and alcohol

What do I do if I know someone struggling with these issues?

It can be painful to see someone you love struggling with alcoholism or drug dependence. Although there is no magic formula to help someone with their drinking or drug abuse, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers these suggestions:

  • Seek support for yourself. Dealing with a loved one with a substance dependence problem can be isolating. Ensuring you have the emotional support you need will help you be available for your loved one.
  • Learn about alcoholism and drug dependence. Use the resources and programs provided on our MCC website to help. Join a group to support yourself and your loved one like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotic Anonymous.
  • Speak up and offer your support. Talk to the person about your concerns and offer support, including your willingness to accompany them for help.
  • Express love and concern. Don't wait till your loved one hits "rock bottom." You may be met with resistance, excuses, denial and anger. Reply with kindness and specific examples of behavior that worries you.
  • Support recovery as an ongoing process. Even though your loved one is receiving treatment, they still need you. Stay involved - support by attending meetings and recovery groups.

What not to do

  • Don't preach, lecture, threaten, bribe or moralize.
  • Don't be a martyr. Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
  • Don't cover up, lie or make excuses for them and their behavior.
  • Don't assume their responsibilities. Taking over their responsibilities protects them from the consequences of their behavior.
  • Don't argue when they are using. Arguing with the person when they are using alcohol or drugs is not helpful; at that point, they can't have a rational conversation.
  • Please don't feel guilty or responsible for their behavior; it's not your fault.
  • Don't join them. Don't try to keep up with them by drinking or using yourself.

What if I am struggling?

Recognizing you struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction problem is the first step to recovery. HelpGuide.org provides the following recovery tips.

  • Recognize and manage overwhelming stress and emotions. Stress is inevitable. Learn how to manage stress by identifying your triggers.
  • Stay connected. Seek therapy, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes. Eat healthy, practice relaxation techniques, engage in regular exercise and get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night.
  • Check out ULifeLine, which offers an extensive mental health library and self- evaluations. ULifeLine is an anonymous online resource center. More information: ULifeLine.

Financial aid eligibility

All applicable alcohol and drug regulations, including federal and state underage drinking laws, are enforced. The unlawful possession, use and/or sale of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs are specifically prohibited and violations carry substantial sanctions up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and/or referral for prosecution. (See MCC Board Policy and District Regulation 3.30060,195.003, RSMo et. seq.)

Missouri sets the minimum age to purchase or possess any alcoholic beverage at 21. Specific ordinances regarding violations of alcohol laws, including driving while intoxicated, are available from the MCC police department. Specific state laws pertaining to alcohol include: Drug convictions while enrolled at MCC may affect a student's eligibility for federal student aid.

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student from receiving federal financial aid funds. The conviction must have occurred during enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid (i.e., Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Stafford Loan, etc.).

Depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and if the student has previous offenses, the period of ineligibility can range from one year to an indefinite period. The student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or the student completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program as defined in the higher education amendments.

Source: Adapted from University of Missouri,pubs.niaaa.nih.gov and counseling.ua.edu