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.
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.
 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.
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

  • Anxiety
  • Sadness or Depression 
  • Difficulty sleeping or Exhaustion 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Issues with memory
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • 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 offenses
  • 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:

Getting Assistance

  1. Be aware of the signs of possible alcohol or drug abuse as well as signs of withdrawal. 
  2. If your believe your student(s) is having a problem, do not blame them but find appropriate treatment. 
  3. Call and/or visit the Counseling Center to consult with a counselor (410-704-2512). 
  4. 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 values.

If your student(s) is concerned about their alcohol or drug consumption, you can have them take one of these brief screenings

 Additional Resources