The health and safety consequences related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use remain significant concerns on college and university campuses across the country, including NYU. The behaviors of college students place them at high risk for unprotected sex, sexual assault, physical injury, and death resulting from substance use. Rates of heavy episodic (or binge) drinking have remained high and the misuse of additional substances, particularly prescription medications, has risen sharply in the past decade on college campuses, increasing overall risks associated with substance use in this population. Cigarette smoking, with its serious long-term health consequences, is reported at intermittent or at daily rates of nearly 20% among NYU students. Given the serious consequences of substance-using behaviors, NYU must focus on implementing a comprehensive approach to prevention beyond individually focused health education programs to include strategies designed to change the campus and community environment in which students make decisions about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
Misuse of Prescription Drugs
This page is intended to be a resource containing suggestions for what you can do to help NYU students reduce risks from alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
• Become familiar with the common signs of alcohol or substance issues and strategies to help you appropriately intervene. Close contact between faculty and students can be an effective vehicle for identification and referral51 of students with alcohol or other drug problems to appropriate treatment services on campus. Simply encouraging students to get help can make all the difference. If a student displays any signs or symptoms of overdose or withdrawal, please treat as a medical emergency and dial 911 and then immediately call the Wellness Exchange at 212-443-9999 for further consultation and assistance. If a student seems to display a chronic problem related to alcohol or other drugs, but does not seem to be an emergency, call the Wellness Exchange at 212-443-9999 for guidance on how to encourage the student to get the help they need. For detailed information and resources, please visit the Wellness Exchange website.
• Familiarize yourself with NYU’s policies on substance abuse and alcoholic beverage.
• Integrate alcohol or substance abuse prevention into your curriculum. The sociocultural environment on campus and individual students’ knowledge, values, attitudes, beliefs influence their decisions and behaviors pertaining to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. In just about any academic course, faculty can integrate content about alcohol and other substance misuse into the curriculum. Whether through a writing assignment about the legal age for alcohol consumption or a lecture about the neuropsychological impact of substance use on the brain, curriculum infusion can be a great opportunity to challenge students’ preconceived notions and perceptions, facilitate awareness of ATOD issues, incorporate faculty as allies in campus wide ATOD efforts, and reach students who may not have a primary interest in ATOD issues. This can be an especially useful strategy at decentralized universities, such as NYU, where it can be difficult to reach large numbers of students outside the classroom.51
• Facilitate student participation in substance-free opportunities. Large amounts of unstructured student time and student perceptions of heavy alcohol use can contribute to increased alcohol use and binge drinking.8 Alcohol-free social programming may be an effective strategy for decreasing alcohol use on days when students attend alcohol-free events rather than alcohol-related events or gatherings.9,52 Substance-free social options may also contribute to changing the sociocultural environment on campus by demonstrating that the university supports alcohol-free activities and limiting access to alcohol during events. In addition, students who attend are exposed to peers who are more likely to value alcohol-free entertainment, which may affect their beliefs about drinking norms on campus.53
o Allow five minutes at the end of each class period for students to announce upcoming substance-free social programs. Students can visit LiveWellNYU, the NYU SWOS website, or join the listserv of one of NYU’s 400 clubs and organizations to learn about current alcohol-free social programming.
o Invite students to participate in seminars, events, lectures, or other activities that coincide with their course curriculum. For upcoming seminars and events, visit the NYU Events Calendar, Wasserman Center for Career Development for NYU programs or NY Daily News for events around the city.
• Familiarize yourself with NYU’s Smoke Free Campus Policy.
• Refer students who would like to quit smoking to the NYU Quit and Win Smoking Cessation Program: The Quit and Win Smoking Cessation Program is coordinated by the Health Promotion Office (HPO) in collaboration with Primary Care Services and Counseling and Wellness Services (CWS). The Program provides individualized, confidential services – including brief informational sessions, nicotine replacement therapy, where indicated, or short-term individual cessation counseling – to all NYU students at no cost and provides a terrific opportunity to experience the benefits of a smoke-free life.
• To prevent the misuse or abuse of “study-buddy” drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, encourage students to form study groups and proactively plan study sessions as an exam or assignment due date approaches. From 1993 to 2005, the proportion of students, nationally, who abused stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall increased 93% to about 225,000 students.54 By helping students form study groups, they may be more likely to practice safe and health study habits and avoid turning to non-prescribed drugs.
• Request a workshop from the Health Promotion Office. Workshops are educational opportunities for students facilitated by student leaders on the full range of topics addressed by the Health Promotion Office, including ATOD issues. For more information, please visit the NYU Student Health Center's Health Promotion Office Program and Workshop page.