Anonymous Questions Answered Here
See below for questions from your peers and answers from Katie Bean, Assistant Director of Student Outreach and Support, Wellness, Alcohol & Drug Education (WADE) Program. Submit your own question below.
Thank you for reaching out about this. Your concerns about needing medical assistance to stop taking these drugs seems correct. My first suggestion is reaching out to your family doctor to ask this question as I am not medically trained. From what I do know, the combinations of drugs you are taking can cause accidental overdose and are highly correlated with developing a substance use disorder -which is the inability to stop on your own (physically or mentally). Medical treatment is available to help anyone dealing with a substance use disorder.
Another place to start, other than your family doctor, is by looking on the back on your insurance card and calling the member number to ask what types of detox programs and rehabilitation programs are covered by your insurance. Sometimes you might just need a few days for detoxification - sometimes it might take much longer. Again, this is something only a doctor would know. Every day that you continue to take these drugs will only make the detox process take a bit longer - so act now! You are already considering it and NOW is always the best time to take action.
Once you do go through detox, you might need additional support to ensure you do not relapse or return to use. At SJU, we have resources that can support you including The Flock: Allies of Recovery student organization and free and confidential counseling through CAPS. Check out our webpage Resources for Students in Recovery for more information including weekly 12-step meetings held on campus.
If you wanted to come into Student Outreach and Support for additional information and resources, stop by Campion 229 or email email@example.com to make an appointment with a staff member. We can keep our conversation private. Please know that you are not alone and many other students deal with similar issues. You don't have to be a prisoner to the cycle of drug abuse. Break free and ask for help!
Marijuana tests are done in several ways and the most common is through a urine sample. In a urine drug test, there are numerous factors that influence how long THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) will stay in a person's system. These include body weight, body fat, amount used and frequency of use. For example, someone who smoked marijuana once might have THC in their system between 1-6 days while someone who is a regular or heavy user, smoking frequently, could still have THC in their system up to 30-45 days or more. Each individual will be different based on the factors listed above.
Without inhaling the marijuana directly into the lungs, it is highly unlikely that THC will show up in the system. Second-hand marijuana smoke can leave traces of THC in urine for a time after breathing in the smoke. However, the amount is usually not enough to make someone test positive, especially if that person is not a typical smoker. Most drug tests have intentionally high standards to avoid false positive results due to incidental ingestion of second-hand smoke.
That's great that you want me to able to help your friend! There are four specific signs of overdose including:
1. Vomiting while semiconscious or unconscious - including vomiting on self, not able to hold head up, etc
2. Unconscious or unresponsive - being passed out and not moving or waking when someone taps or calls name
3. Slow or irregular breathing - more than 10 seconds in between breaths or less than 8 breaths per minute
4. Signs of Hypothermia - cold, clammy, pale, blue or purple skin, especially in nails beds
If you ever notice just one of these signs, please call Public Safety at 610-660-1111 or call 911 and stay with your friend. Turn her on her left side, if possible, and continue to monitor her breathing until help arrives. Pennsylvania has a Good Samaritan Law and SJU has a Help Seeker policy which both state that calling for help for someone is encouraged and therefore the help seeker may not be charged with violating policy or law related to underage drinking or public intoxication. So even if you are drinking yourself, it is important to call for help for your friend.
It sounds like your friend could use more than just help in the moment of intoxication. It sounds like she might be drinking enough to warrant help in other ways. Have you shared with her your concerns? If you plan to, here are some tips for sharing your concern with a friend. Try to use "I" statements which means instead of saying "you drink too much, you always get wasted" say "I am really concerned about you when you drink too much." Try to be sure she is sober, alone and comfortable when you talk but don't wait too long after a concerning incident. Know your resources. Recommend she come to WADE for a private brief assessment with a staff member (email firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to CAPS for a counseling session (610-660-1090). Offer support and go with her is she is nervous. She can take her own assessment online called E-CheckUpToGo.
You are a great friend for wanting to help others in need. Sharing concerns and offering support is important. Taking care of yourself is also important so remember that CAPS and WADE can also meet with you to talk further.
Congratulations! and Yes. At SJU, we have three meetings that occur on campus each week:
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is held every Wednesday at 730pm in Sunroom II in Campion. This is an open meeting.
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is held every Thursday at 7pm in Sunroom II in Campion - This is an open meeting on the 11th Step and includes silent time for prayer or meditation
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is held every Friday at 8pm in Sunroom II in Campion. This is a closed meeting and the most popular on campus.
We also have a growing student organization, The Flock, for students in recovery or supportive of recovery. This group organizes social events and holds meetings and is open to anyone supportive of recovery. You can sign up for their bi-weekly newsletter here to learn about their upcoming events and recovery support options in the area.
There are many more meetings closeby and all resources for support can be found on our website under Resources for Students in Recovery. Also, feel free to reach out to self-identify with our office so we can provide you more resources such as connecting you with others in recovery on campus. One day at a time - I wish you a life-time of living in recovery.
I understand your concern as most of pop culture portrays college as one big party. But that is simply not the way it is at college. I suggest getting involved in clubs, organizations or activities you enjoy. The Activities Fair will take place the first Thursday of school and will showcase the many opportunities to get involved on campus. You can also get them out online at Student Leadership & Activities. Participating in activities you enjoy is the best way to make friends who will share in your values.
SJU is a community that respects one another and everyone will respect your choice to not drink. And you will not be alone. Last year 22% of incoming freshman were non-drinkers and each year it goes up. On the senior exit survey, still 14% of seniors said they never had a drink of alcohol. There is a lot to do other than drink and you won't need to drink in order to fit in and find friends.
Hopefully at Orientation coming up next week you will learn more about the culture here and meet some other freshmen with whom you can relate. While here you can also sign up for the Weekender: a email that goes out once a week that compiles fun and free things to do in the city. Philadelphia offers a wide variety of options including shows, concerts, comedians, restaurants and more.
Just remember that you will fit in and you will find friends you can relate to if you give it a chance. See you soon here on Hawk Hill!
Thanks so much for reaching out to our office with his question! It’s always a good idea to get more information on something when it has the potential to be harmful to your health. Getting information to help your friends and their health is even more admirable. Your assumption is correct - mixing these drugs together can have dangerous effects in the body.
Alcohol alone can make you sleepy, drowsy, or lightheaded, and taking any additional medications can intensify these effects. Protect yourself by avoiding alcohol if you are taking any medication and don’t know its effect. Also, since small amounts of alcohol can make it dangerous to drive, mixing alcohol with certain medicines can put you at even greater risk.
The following graph will help to identify how the medicines you mentioned interact with alcohol and the complications that can arise. When mixing all 3 together, all symptoms can be intensified.
|Reactions with Alcohol|
|Attention and concentration (Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)||Adderall®||Amphetamine/dextro-amphetamine||Dizziness, drowsiness, impaired concentration (methylphenidate, dexmethylphenidate);
possible increased risk for heart problems (amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine);
liver damage (atomoxetine)
|Over the Counter medicines for pain (such as muscle ache, minor arthritis pain), fever, inflammation||Aleve
|Stomach upset, bleeding and ulcers; liver damage (acetaminophen); rapid heartbeat|
|Prescibred for severe pain from injury, post-surgical care, oral surgery, migraines
*Dosages given by a doctor is based on gender, weight, tolerance, allergies, and other medications currently taking, among other factors. Taking someone else's prescription is dangerous simply due to the dosage differences. Always talk to your doctor before taking prescription medication.
Fiorinal with codeine
Butalbital + codeine
|Drowsiness, dizziness; increased risk for overdose*; slowed or difficulty breathing; impaired motor control; unusual behavior; memory problems.
*Increased risk for overdose: signs of overdose include unconscious/unresponsive, vomiting while semi-conscious or unconscious, hypothermia (cold/clammy/pale/blue skin) and slow or irregular breathing.
The epidemic of prescription drug abuse is growing in our country. Opioids specifically are extremely addictive and the recreational use of these painkillers often becomes a compulsive desire to use, even when it isn't fun anymore. If your friends continue to mix these drugs and your concern for their health and safety grows, there are additional supports on campus that can help. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can meet with you to consult about what to do and you can also recommend their free and confidential services to your friends who are using and abusing these drugs. There are 2 Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meetings a week in Campion. These meetings are open for anyone to attend so you can invite your friends to go with you so you can together all learn about the reality of drug abuse and the real impacts of recovery. There is also a student organization called The Flock: Allies of Recovery for anyone impacted by addiction and supportive of recovery efforts.
Some other helpful resources that can give you more information on the topic are as follows:
- America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Mixing Alcohol with Medications
- Huffington Post Article – Prescription Painkillers Mixed With Alcohol: A Deadly Mix
- Buzzfeed Quiz – 14 Common Medicines You REALLY Shouldn’t Mix With Alcohol
Thank you for reaching out with this question. It is important to understand the various risks involved with using drugs, including the risk of disease such as HIV. The HIV virus can be transmitted through 5 bodily fluids: blood, semen (and pre-semen), vaginal secretions, rectal fluids, and breast milk.
The virus can indeed be absorbed through mucous membranes found lining the eyes, mouth, nose, rectum, vagina, and urethra but can only be transmitted if any of the five fluids above are infected with the virus and come into contact with the bloodstream or mucous membrane.
According to Columbia University's Go Ask Alice web-forum (a great website that answers many questions like this), there are a few known cases of blood from an HIV positive person getting into the eyes, nose, or mouth of emergency workers and causing transmission but this is very rare. The risk for HIV transmission from skin or mucous-membrane exposure has only been documented a few times. For more information on transmission, check out Aids.Gov.
If you are concerned, it is always best to get tested. Call your health insurance provider to see what locations offer affordable testing or check out other clinic-based options near you. Another great resource is the Student Health Center at SJU which is free and confidential for students to ask medical questions and get referrals. Remember this risk, and many other risks of cocaine use, next time you consider using cocaine or sharing a cocaine straw.
Thank you for reaching out. It is great that you are so reflective about your past and current use and it seems that reflection has led you to be concerned for yourself. To get a proper assessment, I suggest going to any Certified Addictions Counselor or other mental health professional who can conduct a full assessment to provide the answer you seek. Here is a great list of options where you can search for a counselor by insurance, issues, age and other demographic information. Dr. Jeremy Frank is within walking distance to campus and has worked with many SJU students over the years. Getting a professional assessment is the best way to have a full, complete answer to your question.
According to the DSM-V, there are 11 criteria associated with Cocaine Use Disorder. If a person has 2-3 criteria it is said to be a mild substance use disorder while 4-5 is moderate and 6-7 is severe. The criteria include:
- Taking the drug in larger amounts and for longer than intended
- Wanting to cut down or quit but not being able to do it
- Spending a lot of time obtaining the drug
- Craving or a strong desire to use the drug
- Repeatedly unable to carry out major obligations at work, school, or home due to drug use
- Continued use despite persistent or recurring social or interpersonal problems caused or made worse by drug use
- Stopping or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to drug use
- Recurrent use of drugs in physically hazardous situations
- Consistent use of drugs despite acknowledgment of persistent or recurrent physical or psychological difficulties from using drugs
- Tolerance as defined by either a need for markedly increased amounts to achieve intoxication or desired effect or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount.
- Withdrawal manifesting as either characteristic syndrome or the substance is used to avoid withdrawal symptoms
Again, I highly encourage you to seek additional information about this through an evaluation with a mental health professional.
You described utilizing a solid support group and stopping use for a few months on your own, which is great. However, continuing to use after seeing such negative effects on your life shows how hard it is to really stop using on your own. If you have never been, I would suggest going to a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting just to see what it is like. We host two meetings on campus each week – Wednesdays at 7:30pm and Thursdays at 7:00pm. Both meetings take place in the Campion Student Center, Sunroom 2 on the 2nd floor. To find meetings near you or to learn more about the group, check out this website: https://na.org/ Also, check out our website for more campus resources for students in or seeking recovery.