The Office of Alcohol & Drug Prevention Education (AOD) offers a wide range of programs and services aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with heavy episodic drinking and substance use through prevention, education, intervention, policy development, and coordination with treatment providers. The office of AOD collaborates with students, faculty, and staff throughout the University to create a comprehensive substance abuse prevention program.
The office of AOD views prevention and education from a Public Health perspective and provides opportunities for education, information, and support on an individual, group, and community level.
Worcester State University is a tobacco-free campus. The use of tobacco products of any kind, including any nicotine-delivery system, will not be permitted in or on WSU owned or leased property, including buildings, residence halls, grounds, community garden, athletic fields, walkways, parking lots, bus stops, and parked vehicles on campus grounds. (Nicotine replacement therapy is permitted.) This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, visitors, vendors, and contractors.
The Worcester State University Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) Task Force was established in 2011 to provide guidance and oversight on issues related to alcohol and drugs on campus. The committee meets monthly to discuss AOD issues, evaluate current program efforts, review AOD policies and make recommendations concerning policy and outreach strategies. Its mission and responsibilities include:
- Make recommendations about alcohol-related policies and procedures
- Develop collaboration and advocacy among campus and community groups
- Monitor campus climate
- Evaluate prevention efforts
- Support and participate in grant projects
- Assist in gathering information for biennial review as required by Federal Law
- Help maintain prevention as a priority concern on campus
- Review enforcement of policy sanctions
The group will accomplish these goals by:
- Analyzing data
- Identifying current challenges
- Reviewing policies
- Promoting protective factors
- Establishing goals and objectives
The success of the task force requires many different strategies as well as commitment and collaboration between several departments and stakeholders.
Health Risks associated with the Use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol is a prime contributor to suicide, homicide, motor vehicle deaths, and other unintended deaths. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to more than 54,000 deaths annually in the United States (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs). Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol dependence, premature death through overdose, alcohol-related stroke, and complications involving the brain, heart, liver, and many other body organs. Alcohol abuse also causes liver disease, gastritis, and anemia, as well as cancers of the esophagus and larynx.
Alcohol used in any amount by a pregnant woman can cause birth defects and permanent brain damage to the child. Drug use by a pregnant woman may cause addiction or health complications in her unborn child.
Alcohol abuse interferes with psychological functions, causes interpersonal difficulties, and is involved in most cases of child abuse. Substance abuse disrupts work, reduces motivation, causes legal and financial problems, and social and family problems.
The abuse of illicit drugs can result in a wide range of health problems. In general, illicit drug use can result in drug addiction, death by overdose, death from withdrawals, seizure, heart problems, infections (e.g., HIV/AIDS, hepatitis), liver disease, and chronic brain dysfunction.
Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (for pain), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy). The use of prescription medications by anyone other than the prescribed individual is illegal and dangerous. Known health risks for inappropriate or illegal use are listed in the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Health Consequences of Drug Misuse.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year – about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths – and an additional 16 million people suffer with a serious illness caused by smoking. In fact, for every one person who dies from smoking, about 30 more suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.
Other problems associated with alcohol and drug use include the following psychological dysfunctions: dependency, memory loss, hallucinations, paranoia, and psychosis.
For additional health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse visit:
- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse, and Alcoholism, Alcohol’s Effect on the Body
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Fact Sheets- Alcohol Use and Your Health
- National Institute of Drug Abuse, Health Consequences of Drug Misuse
- National Institute of Drug Abuse, Tobacco, Physical health consequences of tobacco use
For more information about health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse contact Jennifer Quinn, Director of Alcohol & Drug Prevention Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-929-8243.
If any faculty would like to request an in-class presentation on alcohol, marijuana, or opioids please contact Jen Quinn for more information.
If any students, resident assistants, or student leaders would like a presentation on alcohol, marijuana, or opioids please contact Jen Quinn for more information.