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Alcohol & Other Drugs

Many students do not use alcohol for a variety of reasons. Research suggests that while the majority of students do use alcohol, at least occasionally, most of that use occurs in moderation.  However, a maladaptive pattern of alcohol use can progress into negative social, occupational, academic, legal, physiological, and / or physical consequences. The same is true for other substances, each of which comes with their own degree of risk and associated negative consequences.


Opioid Epidemic Awareness & Treatment

Common Questions about Alcohol and Drug Misuse 

What is substance misuse? 

Substance misuse can range from one isolated incident of using too much of a substance to a pattern of consistent use. The consistent marker of substance misuse is the presence of negative consequences. These could include alcohol poisoning, social strains, or physical changes as a result of using drugs or alcohol.  

How does it impact academics?

Substance misuse can lead to poor class attendance, missed deadlines for assignments, and an overall decline in performance. Johns Hopkins students who report using marijuana have a lower overall GPA than their peers who do not use marijuana.

How does it impact relationships?

While substances are sometimes used as "social lubricants" to lower inhibitions and facilitate social interactions, they can also have a negative impact on relationships. Misuse, whether on one given occasion or over a long period can lead to altercations, social withdrawal, secrecy, risky sexual behavior, and diminished intimacy.

How does it impact the workplace?

Substance misuse can have a negative impact on attendance and productivity, which can ultimately lead to termination in extreme cases. Use of substances is particularly problematic in clinical settings, where patient care can be compromised.

How is it managed?

The type of intervention for substance misuse depends on the level of use and impairment. For isolated incidents of intoxication with limited impairment in functioning, education on the risks of substance use might suffice. In more extreme cases, intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment programs, which also focus on relapse prevention, are most effective. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are often recommended as a supplement for these programs.

What resources are available?

Johns Hopkins University is committed to maintaining a drug-free environment. Annually, all faculty, staff and students receive a brochure outlining the university’s position and policy regarding alcohol and drug use, along with prevention and treatment information.

JHSAP can help students assess whether alcohol or drugs are impacting functioning enough to require intervention and support. The Alcohol and Other Drugs Education Specialist also meets with students one-on-one to support students in achieving their goals related to alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use and reflecting on substance’s role in the student’s life. 

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