Below are resources containing suggestions for what families can do to help their
student(s) reduce risks from alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
A Message to Families
Transitioning to college is a big adjustment for everyone. At Towson University, we
strive for that transition to be healthy and safe for all of those involved.
We have brought together information for you to use at your leisure. Included in the document are talking points for conversations
with your student(s) and resources that are available to you.
College Parents Matter is another great resource for parents.
Learn the Signs
Common Signs of Alcohol or Substance Issues
Encouraging your student(s) to get help can make all the difference. Any extreme behaviors
that suggest a major shift in functioning can be a warning sign of drug abuse. Here
are some common behavioral warning signs:
Behavioral Warning Signs
Staying up all night repeating the same task or phrase over and over in a compulsive
manner can be a sign of certain stimulant drugs.
Absence or Isolation
Missing for long periods of time and establishing new routines with new friends are
common behavioral signs.
A shift in communication style to be more guarded can mean the person is trying to
hide substance use.
Using Measures to Conceal
Abusers may try to hide signs of abuse, for example by wearing sunglass inside or
wearing long-sleeves in the summer.
Finding pill bottles, large amounts of money, empty alcohol containers, needles, scales,
and other paraphilia hidden around the house are all warning signs.
Random Injuries and Illness
While intoxicated, people are more likely to become injured. If someone is having
more "accidents," drugs could be the culprit.
Withdrawal occurs because when your body is accustomed to getting a certain substance
and no longer receives it, it responds with certain emotional and physical symptoms.
Withdrawal looks different for every drug; however knowing the main significant symptoms
will help you be able to identify them in your student.
Signs of Withdrawal
- Sadness or Depression
- Difficulty sleeping or Exhaustion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Issues with memory
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
- Nausea, Vomiting, or Diarrhea
- Sweating or Tingling sensations
Tips and Tricks for Talking to Your Student(s)
How to Talk to Your Student(s)
Play an active role with your student(s) by talking together about their academic
and social lives. It is important to have open and on-going communication with your
student(s) regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drug consumption.
Here are some ways to stay involved and start communicating:
- Be familiar with the name of the person who is responsible for campus counseling programs
- Call your student(s) frequently during the first 6 weeks of college (note: the first
6 weeks of college are the most crucial with heaviest drinking occurring then)
- Inquire about their roommates, their roommates’ behavior and how disagreements are
settled or disruptive behavior dealt with
- Make sure your student(s) understands the penalties for underage drinking, public
drunkenness, using a fake ID, driving under the influence, assault, and other alcohol-related
- Make certain that your student(s) understands how alcohol use can lead to date rape,
violence, or academic failure
Familiarize Yourself With Towson University's Policies
There are several policies and codes in place to keep your student(s) and the campus
safe. Here are some of them:
- Be aware of the signs of possible alcohol or drug abuse as well as signs of withdrawal.
- If your believe your student(s) is having a problem, do not blame them but find appropriate
- Call and/or visit the Counseling Center to consult with a counselor (410-704-2512).
- Continue to stay actively involved in the life of your student(s). Even though they
may be away from college, they continue to be an extension of your family and its
If your student(s) is concerned about their alcohol or drug consumption, you can have
them take one of these brief screenings