Billboard

Substance Abuse

CONTACT US

E-mail: counselor@csmd.edu


LA PLATA CAMPUS

Ann Penick, MA, LCPC, NCC
Administration (AD) Building, Room 205
Phone: 301-934-7577
Email:  APenick@csmd.edu


LEONARDTOWN CAMPUS

Jennifer Fossell, LCSW-C
Building A, Room 204E
Phone: 240-725-5328
Email:  jfossell@csmd.edu


PRINCE FREDERICK CAMPUS

Jennifer Fossell, LCSW-C
Building B, Room 109B
Phone: 443-550-6169
Email: jfossell@csmd.edu

Drinking alcohol is such an accepted part of socializing and relaxing in our society that it’s easy to overlook its potential dangers. The use of other drugs, such as, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, LSD, speed, ecstasy, and prescription medications (such as percocet and valium) carries all kinds of risks, too. It’s important to remember that even the “experimental” use of alcohol and drugs can negatively impact a person’s life. Alcohol use can become alcohol abuse which, in turn, can lead to alcohol dependence. Use of prescription medications can be abused which can lead to dependence. People who are substance dependent may build up tolerance, where they need increasing amounts to feel the same effects. They may spend more and more time substance obtaining and using, as well as recovering from their effects. People who are substance-dependent may find themselves repeatedly unable to quit using substances, even once they recognize they have a problem. When they do quit, they can go into/through withdrawal, which—depending on the substance—can be life-threatening and should be treated immediately. Fortunately there are a variety of effective treatments for substance abuse and dependence, such as counseling and/or medications. Because substance abuse can seriously impair judgment, any concern that a user may be thinking about suicide should be taken seriously and help should be sought immediately.  (Click: Supporting a friend with a drinking problem)

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

  • Drinking or using other drugs in order to feel more comfortable around people
  • Spending time with people ONLY because they make good companions for alcohol and/or other drug use
  • Being late to, absent from, making mistakes at school and/or work because of drinking or other drug use
  • Negative effects on personal relationships because of drinking or other drug use
  • Taking dangerous risks as a direct result of drinking or other drug use
  • Escaping worries by using alcohol or other drugs
  • Seeing the need to cut down on your drinking or drug use, but continuing use
  • Lying about your drinking or other drug use
  • Disciplinary and/or legal consequences due to drinking or other drug use
  • Feeling guilty about drinking or drug use, but continuing use
  • Drinking or using drugs first thing in the morning
  • Finding you’re consistently not meeting your obligations

Types of Common Rationalizations about Substance Abuse

(Source: National Institute of Health)

  • It improves sexual performance. Psychologically substance abuse actually reduces your sexual performance.
  • Substance abuse still allows a person to be in control. Substance abuse impairs judgment.
  • Substance abuse isn’t all that dangerous. One in three persons, ages 18-24 years, were admitted to emergency rooms for serious injuries because of substance abuse. It’s also associated with homicides, suicides, and drowning. More than 97,000 college students are victims of substance-abuse related sexual assault or date rape every year. Alcohol is the most common “date-rape” drug. Marijuana can promote lung cancer and cancer in other parts of the respiratory system. Over 35% of adults with an alcohol problem developed symptoms, such as binge drinking, by age 19. Alcohol is a depressant and can make an already depressed person feel even worse.
  • One can quickly “sober up” from substance abuse. With alcohol it can take about three hours to eliminate the alcohol content of two drinks, depending on your weight. Nothing can speed up the sobering process---not even coffee or a cold shower.
  • A woman can drink the same amount as her male friends. Women process alcohol differently. No matter how much he drinks, if a woman drinks the same amount as her boyfriend, she will be more intoxicated and more impaired.
  • There is no point in postponing drinking until a person reaches 21 years of age. Research bears out that the longer a person postpones drinking, the less likely he or she is to experience alcohol-related problems.
  • A person is able to drive while still under the influence of a substance. About one-half of all fatal traffic crashes among 18-24 year olds involve alcohol. Impairment is related to blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Depending on a person’s weight, the BAC could be 0.02% after only one drink. This situation can slow reaction time and make it difficult to concentrate on two things simultaneously. A BAC of 0.03% can significantly impair steering a vehicle. At 0.04%, one’s vision begins to focus on the center of the road rather than street signs, traffic signals, and pedestrians. By 0.05% driving is noticeably erratic.
  • A person can learn to “hold their liquor.”  If a person has to drink increasingly large amounts of alcohol to get a “buzz” or get “high,” he or she is developing tolerance. This increases vulnerability to many serious problems, including alcoholism.
  • A person has to drink to “fit in.” Actually peers don’t drink as much as you might think they do. A recent survey of more than 44,000 college students shows that most students drink little or no alcohol on a weekly basis,
  • Beer is safe because it doesn’t have as much alcohol as hard liquor and it’s not a drug. Actually a 12-ounce bottle of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a standard shot of 80-proof liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink) or 5 ounces of wine.