Alcohol & Drug Awareness

Thomas More University is substance-free because academic research and professional experience demonstrate the decision to abuse alcohol or use drugs has profoundly negative effects on a student’s collegiate career.

Basic Facts
Alcohol and/or drug dependence are diseases that includes four symptoms:

  • Craving – a strong need, or compulsion, to drink or use illicit drugs.
  • Loss of control – the inability to limit one’s drinking or use of illicit drugs on any given occasion.
  • Physical dependence – withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, anxiety, occur when alcohol or drug use is stopped after a period of heavy usage.
  • Tolerance – the need to use substances/alcohol in greater amounts in order to “get high”.

What is alcohol/substance abuse?
Alcohol/substance abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking or using a substance that results in one or more of the following situations within a 12 month period:

  • Failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities.
  • Drinking or using a substance in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or operating machinery.
  • Having recurring alcohol drug-related problems at work or school, being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for physically hurting someone while drunk or using drugs or experiencing Residence Hall offenses related to alcohol or drugs.
  • Continued alcohol or drug usage despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by using substances.

Health Risks
Harvard’s School of Public Health found binge drinking of alcohol negatively impacts academic performance, social relationships, risk-taking behaviors, and health of college students. Similarly, numerous studies have associated drug use with dependence, lower grades, an increased likelihood of dropping out, missed classes, high-risk sexual activity, difficulty finding purpose and anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems that interfere with learning and personal development. The following provides further details about the health risks of specific drugs as well as alcohol.

  • Narcotics such as opium, morphine, and heroin can cause euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils and nausea. The symptoms of an overdose of narcotics are slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possible death. Persons experiencing withdrawal from addiction to narcotics can experience watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills and sweating.
  • Depressants such as barbiturates and Quaaludes can cause slurred speech, disorientation and drunken behavior. An overdose of a depressant may result in shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma and possible death. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, delirium, convulsions and possible death.
  • Stimulants such as cocaine and crack can cause increased alertness or euphoria, and increased pulse rate and blood pressure, insomnia and loss of appetite. An overdose of stimulants results in agitation, an increase in body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, and possible death. Withdrawal symptoms include apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, depression, and disorientation. Hallucinogens such as LSD and amphetamines cause delusions and hallucinations, and poor perceptions of time and distance. The effects of an overdose include psychosis and possible death.
  • Marijuana and hashish can cause euphoria, increased appetite, relaxed inhibitions, and disoriented behavior. The effects of an overdose include fatigue, paranoia, and possible psychosis. Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, hyperactivity, and decreased appetite.
  • Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, include spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory distress and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.
  • Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.
  • Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than their peers of becoming alcoholics.

Legal Sanctions
In compliance with Federal, State, and local law, students under the age of 21 are not permitted to consume or possess alcohol on college property or at university-sponsored events at any time. State and Local Law also makes it illegal to purchase, sell, or furnish alcohol to a person less than 21 years or age, present oneself as 21 years of age with the intent to purchase alcohol if underage and to operate motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. For more information about specific laws, please visit the National Substance Abuse website.

Thomas More University Policy
The Alcohol Policy and Drugs and Controlled Substances Policies are available in the Saints Community Standards. Employees must follow the Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy.

Resources for help:

Thomas More University Counseling Center

North Key Community Care

Alcoholics Anonymous

Saint Elizabeth Medical Center

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Other Resources