If you have concerns about your student

Some individuals begin to experiment with alcohol and drugs as young as 14 years old. Even if your student has not tried alcohol or used drugs before college, many may try substances for the ­first time in college. The fi­rst 6 weeks of college is a period of adjustment that is critical to student success. Students may engage in risky behaviors as they learn new rules, set their own boundaries, and have new situations that change their normal limits of use. Having a conversation early and following up is a key part of what you can do to help. These conversations should include not just family values and beliefs regarding drinking, but also what is safe and responsible versus binge and dangerous drinking.

Substance Use Indicators

If you notice any of the following, consider having a conversation with your student regarding how they are doing. These may be indicators of potential substance experimentation or misuse:

  • Significant changes in personality or behavior
  • Not following through with responsibilities
  • Challenges coping with stress or their mental health
  • Family history of alcoholism or addiction
  • Significant changes in friends
  • Being secretive
  • Physical signs like changes in weight, sleep, and physical appearance

Substance Use and Relationships

Substance Use and Relationships

Enabling vs. Support

Enabling is doing for your student what they can and need to do for themselves. This may include blaming yourself or others for their behaviors or making excuses for their behavior.

Support is helping your student make steps towards change. This may include holding them accountable for their actions and being a listening ear.

Parental Reluctance to Talk with Student About Drinking



My student is not interested in drinking.

Over 90% of students try alcohol outside the home before graduating from high school.

My student has learned about the negative effects of alcohol in school.

Although most students do learn about alcohol in their classes on health, we have found that many important issues never got covered.

At this point my student should know better.

Unfortunately, the reality is that many students at this point in their lives are still uninformed about how powerful a drug alcohol can be.

My student won’t listen at this point.

The results of the American College Health Survey revealed that parents were the number one source that students turned to for important information.

Marijuana Frequently Used Terms

The actual flower of the marijuana plant that is harvested and used for the creation of marijuana products. Flower has also been referred to as the “old fashioned” way of smoking marijuana as opposed to use of concentrates.

A system of growing plants, including marijuana, without the use of soil.

A popular strain, or brand, of cannabis plants

A way to identify with the marijuana culture. The date, 4/20 is known as a date to celebrate getting high, and the time 4:20, is noted as an “official” time to get high. 420 is found around pop culture, in movies, online, and on shirts and hats.

The term for marijuana that is ingested by mouth. Any edible food or drink that has been infused with cannabis extracts. Baked goods are the most common form of edible, but additional forms include flavored coffee drinks, breads, and candies, among others. Marijuana-infused butters or oils are also sold for individuals to make their own edibles

A term for edibles that are sold as “medical”, though the products are the same as edibles.

A highly potent THC-concentrated mass that is extracted from the marijuana plant, most commonly similar in appearance to honey or butter. It is known on the street as honey oil or budder. Also known as THC Extractions or Marijuana Extract

A highly potent concentrate of cannabinoids made by dissolving marijuana in plant form in a solvent (usually butane). The resulting product is also referred to as budder, honey oil, dabs, or shatter, depending on how it is manufactured. BHO has a very high THC potency. The use of butane in extraction of BHO is cause for safety concern, as it is highly flammable and has resulted in violent explosions

A common name for marijuana concentrates. It is a softer, opaque oil that has lost its transparency through the extraction process. Depending on the method used to extract it, waxes may take on varying consistencies. Waxes tend to be harder, non-transparent oils. Budder and honeycomb are considered versions of wax.

 Slang terms used to describe marijuana extracts using butane. It is waxy in appearance, like honey or butter

A brittle form of BHO. It has the look of transparent amber glass and has a reputation for being the purest and cleanest type of extract

The practice of smoking the THC-rich extracts of the marijuana plant, in the form of oils, waxes, or shatter, all of which contain extremely large amounts of THC. The extracts are usually prepared with butane (lighter fluid)

A liquid preparation of marijuana (extract or plant-based) made with alcohol and usually dispensed using a dropper under the tongue

A preparation of cannabis that has been added to a product, such as lotion or a cream and applied to the skin

A smoking device used to consume marijuana or tobacco products by heating the oils and creating a vapor for the user to inhale. There are three components to vaporizers: the cartridge which holds the concentrate, a heating device, and a power source (usually a battery). Vaporizers can be used to disguise marijuana use, as it is more difficult to detect. Users believe this method to be safer than smoking, though there has not been research to support that belief

 A device or bong specially used for smoking marijuana concentrates. Adapters can be added to traditional bongs or pipes

710 upside down, spells “OIL”, a common term for dabs and marijuana concentrates. Like 420, 710 is a way to identify with the concentrates culture.

Many accidental deaths occur from mixing alcohol with other drugs. Even drugs that you can buy without a prescription, such as aspirin or cold remedies, can change the way alcohol acts on the body.

Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) mixed with:



Extreme drowsiness, decreases effectiveness


Antihistamines Extreme drowsiness, causes temporary depression


Stomach and intestinal bleeding


Extreme slowing of brain activities, breathing slowed down or stopped

Non-Narcotic Pain Killers

Stomach and intestinal irritation or bleeding

Sedatives & Tranquilizers

Extreme slowing of brain activities, breathing slowed down or stopped, heart slowed or stopped

Here are beliefs that many students hold which are NOT true:

  • Black coffee will help you become sober
  • Exercise will help you become sober
  • Eating food will help you become sober
  • Taking a cold shower will help you become sober
  • Fresh air will help you become sober
  • A quick walk will help you become sober
  • Going from dark lighting to bright lighting will help you become sober
  • Drinking milk before drinking will allow you to drink as much as you want
  • Putting a penny in your mouth will lower your BAC

These myths are important to dispel because students may decide to drive drunk after engaging in such activities, thinking that the activity has “sobered them up.” In fact, the activity only creates a temporary illusion of sobering up and in some instances increases drunkenness.

Page last modified May 19, 2021