A few weeks ago, a Franciscan University of Steubenville student was arrested for the alleged possession of over 40 strips of LSD.
According to the police reports, the student was found unresponsive in his room and was unable to tell police or medics his identity or describe any details of what had taken place.
While the allegations against the student have not been proven, the difficult situation is a reminder to Franciscan University of the growing epidemic of drug use — especially among college students — in the United States today.
According to a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2016, about one in every five college students between the ages of 18 and 22 uses illicit drugs.
While drug use is less prevalent at Franciscan University than at other universities in the United States, it is not non-existent, and it is the responsibility of students to learn its dangers and effects.
Matthew Burriss, director of the Wellness Center at Franciscan University, described the dangers and effects of drug use and gave advice on how to help those who may be suffering.
Burriss explained that the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of prescription drugs can have a severe impact on the brain of the user.
“Even a single use can negatively impact mood, memory, concentration, energy levels and rational thought,” said Burriss.
He went on to explain that often, the effects of drugs will reveal themselves in the personality and behavior of the user.
“Sometimes there are signs or ‘red flags’ that a friend is abusing (or) misusing drugs,” Burriss said. “Some of these may include but are not limited to changes in personality, academic difficulties, missing commitments, declining hygiene or lack of grooming, increased need for privacy, changes in social friendships, frequent need for money and frequent defensiveness.”
Burriss also explained the proper procedures a student should follow if they suspect a friend is abusing or misusing drugs.
“If you suspect that a friend is abusing (or) misusing drugs, the best thing (is) to confront them in charity,” Burriss said. “Let them know that you are concerned for their well-being and offer to help them. You can help connect them (to) resources such as counseling via the Wellness Center.”
“Those who have overdosed on drugs need immediate medical attention,” Burriss said. “If you suspect that someone has overdosed on drugs, call 911. If the incident occurs on campus, you should also call campus security at 740–283-6911.”
Drug abuse is a serious problem in the world today, both on and off college campuses, but knowing how to notice warning signs and respond appropriately can help minimize the damage that it causes.