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Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life - Excepts

Dr. Ruth Excerpts
Dorm Life 101
Morning Larks Versus Night Owls
Noise & Other Distractions
Alcohol & Cigarettes
Drug Use
Sexual Side of Drugs & Alcohol
Food Issues
Mixing of the Sexes
Dorm Alternatives
Work Life
Your Residential Advisor


Sex and Drugs

Some people resort to drugs to "enhance" their sex life in some way. This is particularly true of the so-called party drugs like Ecstacy and GHB. I'm not an expert on drugs, so I won't comment on what the effects of these drugs may or may not be. What I do know is that a great many people end up doing things they later regret because they were high on drugs or alcohol. Any woman who has sex when she's not in full control is open to an unintended pregnancy, and people of both sexes who have sex with strangers stand a much increased risk of getting a potentially deadly sexually transmitted disease.

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Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life
By Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer And Pierre Lehu

ISBN 1-56833-171-1

I realize that scare tactics don't work and that no matter what I say, or your parents or teachers or school administrators, I know there are some of you who are going to use illegal drugs, particularly marijuana, while you are in college. Will most of you who do suffer dire consequences? No. But after you graduate, when you get together with some of your college friends, you'll reminisce about people you knew. And you can be sure that when it comes to one or two names, the news will be that their life is in tatters because of drugs or alcohol. Statistically speaking, the number of people who die from substance abuse is quite high. The U.S. Department of Health reports that alcohol-related deaths total 100,000 annually from all causes, including traffic accidents, liver disease, related violence, and falls. Fatalities from marijuana and other illegal drugs amount to about 10,000 a year. Tobacco-related deaths are the highest of all, at about 450,000 a year, though this number results from long-term use.

Despite everything you've heard or read about college life, do not assume that the administration of your college shuts one eye when it comes to the use of drugs or even alcohol. Some colleges treat their students more like adults and don't watch carefully, while others will take action if they find so much as one beer can in a room. Ask some upperclass students how your school handles these situations and act accordingly.

Case: Steve

Steve grew up in New York City. He chose to attend a small Midwestern college that was located miles from any city. The nearest grocery store and movie house were more than ten miles away, and even that town didn't have much else to offer. Steve felt stifled at this school and so turned to alcohol and drugs to "get away." Soon he was spending more time getting high than studying and his grades started to plummet. Before the end of his second year, he dropped out.

There are many reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol, and the ones at college mimic those of people everywhere. Would Steve not have used these substances so heavily were he at another school, or was this just the excuse he gave himself? Steve turned out to be a responsible adult, so perhaps it really was his situation, but oftentimes young people don't know why they're heavily into substance abuse, only that they are and they don't know how to get out of the hole they've dug for themselves.

Every college campus has advisers who can help you on the road to recovery. I know that many students don't necessarily trust an adviser to keep the information given to them confidential. My assumption would be that what you say to a counselor is confidential because someone in such a position has been trained to honor that type of commitment. But if you would like more information on such issues, and don't want to speak with someone on campus, here are some phone numbers of organizations that may be of help to you.

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
(800) 729-6686 or (301) 468-2600 24-hour

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Hope Line
(800) NCA-CALL or (800) 622-2255

Drug Help: A service of the American Council for Drug Education,
an affiliate of Phoenix House Foundation (800) DRUGHELP or (800) 378-4435

American Council for Drug Education
(800) 488-DRUG or (800) 488-3784

Continued Next

Dorm Life 101 | Morning Larks Versus Night Owls | Noise and Other Distractions | Alcohol and Cigarettes | Drug Use | The Sexual Side of Drugs and Alcohol | Food Issues | The mixing of the Sexes | Dorm Alternatives | Work Life | Your Residential Advisor



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