For Faculty & Staff

Identify and Refer Students at Risk

Because of their regular contact with students, faculty and staff are often among the first to notice that a student is having personal problems. While you are not expected to take on the role of counselor, you may be well positioned to connect a student to available help.

Potential Warning Signs of an Alcohol or Other Drug Problem

  • Deterioration in work/academic performance, including increased tardiness, absences or requests for extensions.
  • Recurring substance-related legal problems, including trouble with campus authorities.
  • Continued use despite ongoing interpersonal problems that are caused or worsened by drinking.
  • Mood changes such as temper flare-ups, irritability, and defensiveness.
  • Physical or mental indicators such as memory lapses, lack of personal hygiene, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination or slurred speech.
  • Disclosure, by a student, that there might be a drinking or drug problem.
  • Multiple signs and a pattern (versus a single episode) make it more likely that there is a significant problem.

Sharing Concerns and Referring A Student

When you have concern for a student's well-being, it is important to share this concern with those who can help. NUhelp has a Community Concerns Report form you can fill out.

If you believe the student is open to a referral for a campus resource that will help them explore their substance use, Health Promotion and Wellness offers a few options. Brief Alcohol/drug Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) provides an opportunity for Northwestern students to explore their drinking and other drug use in a confidential and non-judgmental environment. A trained professional will provide feedback and explore ways to reduce risks. They can also complete a brief, anonymous online survey which provides personalized feedback with eCheckUp to Go for alcohol or marijuana. Additionally, individual wellness consultations for students to explore options available for improving their own personal well-being. 

National Data and Research

Numerous studies of U.S. college students demonstrate that substance misuse and abuse negatively affects students' academic performance, engagement with faculty, overall health and the quality of campus and community life.

For data and additional information related to drinking and other drug use by college students, review The Impact of Alcohol on Academic Performance (PDF) or visit www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov.

Alcohol and Other Drug Use at Northwestern

The Alcohol Data Dashboard is a great place to start better understanding the current use of alcohol among Northwestern Undergraduate students. Should you be interested in additional data/information on substance use behaviors, please contact Health Promotion and Wellness.