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Cougar Health Services substance abuse

Supporting health in the Greek community

Following their recent student-led moratorium, Greek leaders reached out to Health & Wellness Services staff for support and resources. Together we’re developing action plans tailored to each individual chapter to address public health concerns like violence, substance abuse, and mental health.

We worked with student leaders from individual chapters to survey their members and assess their attitudes and concerns around these issues. Over 2,900 Greek students responded to our survey on violence, and our survey on substance abuse is in progress.

After the surveys, our next step is to meet with each chapter to review their specific results and provide some initial educational information. So far, we’ve met with 39 chapters about violence prevention and continue to meet about substance abuse and mental health.

Why these specific topics? Research shows alcohol use, drug use, and mental health concerns can negatively affect college students’ academic performance in a variety of ways.

The surveys we conducted this semester show many Greek students are drinking to cope with stress. And according to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 13.4 percent of Greek students experience academic difficulties due to alcohol.

Moving forward, we will provide each chapter leader with reports on survey results and suggestions for how they can promote healthy behaviors in their chapter.

Know the signs of toxic drinking

know the signs of toxic drinking

Do you know how to tell the difference between a little too much to drink and a dangerous situation?

Many students at WSU choose not to drink. In a 2016 survey, more than 18 percent of WSU students said they’ve never used alcohol and another 14 percent said they haven’t used alcohol in the past 30 days.

However, even if you don’t drink or use alcohol in moderation, knowing when to get help for a friend can be critical. In the same survey, more than 85 percent of students said most of the time or every time they party, they stick with the same group of friends all night. Learning the signs of toxic drinking will help you know when it’s time to get help for a friend or acquaintance.

Watch out for these signs of toxic drinking. Seek medical attention for a person who:

  • Is passed out or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened;
  • Vomits while sleeping or passed out and does not wake up;
  • Has cold, clammy, pale or blueish skin; or
  • Is breathing slowly or irregularly.

If you suspect an alcohol overdose, call 911 right away. Be sure to call at the first sign of alcohol poisoning. Waiting for them to show more signs is extremely dangerous. It’s also incredibly risky to assume they’ll be fine if they just sleep it off.

If you’re worried about getting in trouble, keep in mind that WSU’s Office of Student Conduct follows a Good Samaritan Guideline that will protect you and your friend from university discipline for alcohol or drug use if you call for assistance. This guideline mirrors similar Washington state laws followed by law enforcement.

Need help quitting tobacco?

students discuss quitting tobacco

If you’re thinking about quitting tobacco, now’s a great time to start! Starting this fall, WSU Pullman will become a tobacco-free campus.

Quitting is tough! But know that you are not alone. Health & Wellness Services has a variety of free resources to help WSU students nix nicotine. We can help you explore your options for quitting, improve your motivation and learn new ways to manage stress and cravings.

Nicotine replacements (gum, patches, or lozenges) are also available at no charge to students who participate in ongoing tobacco cessation counseling. If you’d like to find out how we can help you quit, call 509-335-3575.

In the meantime, here are five quick tips to help you get started:

  1. Know why you want to quit. Make sure your motivation is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.
  2. Set a quit date. Choosing a specific quit date can help you get serious about your plan to stop using tobacco. Try to find a day when you won’t be too busy or stressed.
  3. Celebrate the small milestones. On top of the health benefits, quitting tobacco can save a lot of money. Reward your achievements and spend the cash you’ve saved on something you enjoy.
  4. Don’t do it alone. Tell the people in your life that you’re planning to quit, join a support group, talk to a counselor, or download an app to receive reminders and support. Counseling and nicotine replacements can significantly improve your chance of success and help ease the symptoms of withdrawal.
  5. Take care of yourself. Caring for your body and mind can help alleviate the stress of quitting tobacco. Exercise will improve your mood and energy. Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep every night, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
  6. Try and try again. Most people try to quit smoking an average of 8 times before they succeed. Don’t give up! Each time you attempt to quit, you can learn something new about what does and doesn’t work for you, and what you need for success in the future.

Want more? Check out and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.