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Clues to high-risk use

Faculty have reported being worried about students who frequently display the following signs

  • Poor class attendance
  • Sudden change in attitude (e.g. neglecting academic studies)
  • Inattentive in class (e.g. avoids class discussions and tardiness)
  • Erratic behavior (e.g. mood swings)
  • Missing deadlines for assignments
  • Making excuses
  • Poor grooming
  • Writing assignments that focus on substance use and seem to be autobiographical

Dartmouth students have reported being worried about fellow students who frequently display the following signs

  • Use to get intentionally drunk/high
  • Use to avoid (or out of) boredom
  • Use to gain social acceptance
  • Miss class due to the effects of drugs/alcohol
  • Sleep through class
  • Experience a change in attitude either when using or sober (e.g. belligerent, argumentative)
  • Change in mood either when using or sober (e.g. mood swings, irritability, etc.)
  • Experience black outs (forget things that happen while using)
  • Experience passing out (difficult to arouse)
  • Use alcohol or drugs to decrease anxiety and be able to talk/dance more easily at parties
  • Express suicidal ideation when using
  • Preload before parties (consume alcohol and other drugs before "going out" to gain "optimal buzz")
  • Engage in numerous sexual encounters while intoxicated
  • Dump friends who express concern about usage
  • Use to avoid thinking about problems
  • Has high tolerance
  • Drive while using and/or rides in a car with someone who is using

It is important to note that one sign doesn't mean that a problem exists. However, the accumulation of two or more signs increases the likelihood that a problem exists.

Last Updated: 10/2/08