This page is intended to be a resource containing suggestions for what parents can
do to help their student(s) reduce risks from alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
A Message to Parents
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 child and resources that are available to you.
Tips and Tricks to Talking to Your Student(s)
LEARN THE COMMON SIGNS OF ALCOHOL OR SUBSTANCE ISSUES
Encourage 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:
- Obsessive behaviors: Staying up all night to do ironing or repeating the same task or phrase over and over
in a compulsive manner can be a sign of certain drugs like meth.
- Absence or isolation: Missing for long periods of time and establishing new routines with new friends are
common behavioral signs.
- Secretiveness: A shift in communication style to be more guarded can mean the person is trying to
hide substance use.
- Drastic change in beliefs: If someone was previously very religious and focused on their family but now has
time for neither, drug abuse might be a factor. Or, someone who was previously not
very religious may develop preoccupations with religious content (e.g., quoting or
reading the bible persistently).
- 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.
- Paraphernalia: 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.
If your student(s) displays any signs or symptoms of an overdose or withdrawal, please treat this as a medical emergency and dial 911 then immediately call the
Counseling Center at 410-704-2512 for further consultation and assistance.
If your student(s) seems to display a chronic problem related to alcohol or drugs,
but no emergency, call the Counseling Center at 410-704-2512 for further guidance
on how to encourage your student(s) to get the help they need.
For detailed information, please visit the Counseling Center.
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:
KEEP OPEN AND ON-GOING COMMUNICATION
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
- Be aware of the signs of possible alcohol or drug abuse (see above behavioral warning
- 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 either of these brief screenings
QUESTIONS TO GET THE CONVERSATION STARTED:
- How are classes going?
- What's your roommate like?
- What do you do for fun?
- What's the social scene like on campus?
- Do you like living in the dorms?
- Are you meeting new people?
- Do you see others making friends or drinking buddies?
- What can I do to support you?
- What role do you think alcohol will play in your college experience?
- What will you do if you're with friends and everyone is asking to you to drink/ take
- What will you do if you find another student passed out in the bathroom?
- What can you do if your roommate excessively drinks or parties?