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About the Program

Alcohol and other drug dependencies are facts of life

It is estimated that well over 10% of the adult population in the U.S. abuses alcohol and/or other drugs. Health care professionals are not immune to these disorders. In fact, a recent study indicates that senior medical students as a group have only slightly lower rates of use of illicit substances than their peers in the general population, with rates among female students rising to the that of males.

The stresses of training, coupled with access to controlled substances increase the risk of abuse among students in the health care professions.

Impaired students can cause serious harm to themselves and their patients.

Although alcoholism and other drug dependencies are treatable diseases, health care professionals are often resistant to seeking help. This is sometimes due to the mistaken belief that seeking help is a sign of weakness. The truth is, however, that once involved in treatment, many health care professionals do very well, and do recover.

Seeking help is the smart thing to do.

The Substance Abuse Program for Students is overseen by a standing, campus-wide Substance Abuse Committee (SAC), reporting directly to the President, providing the overall operation and coordination of the Substance Abuse Program for Students. Membership of the SAC consists of faculty, staff, and students from the four colleges at SUNY Downstate. The functions of the Committee are to plan and coordinate educational programs, outreach and extra-curricular activities around the issues of alcohol and other drug abuse, and to manage the Substance Abuse Program for Students.