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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I be concerned about my alcohol and/or other drug use?

In the near future, you are going to become a practicing healthcare professional. Impaired professionals can cause serious problems for themselves, their families, and the public.

I am a highly intelligent, educated individual. How could I have a problem with alcohol or other drug abuse?

Health professionals are not immune from problems of substance abuse and dependence. Intelligence and healthcare experience are not protective factors from the disease of chemical dependence. Research indicates that the prevalence of problem drinking among healthcare professionals is the same as that of the general public, but with effective intervention, the prognosis is much better.

I'm worried about a friend's drinking - what can I do?

It takes a real friend to care enough to try to help someone who seems to be self-destructing. It is very difficult to stand by and watch someone do damage to himself or others, but only your friend can choose when or if to change his or her behavior.

What you can do is tell your friend how much the behavior concerns you, and how it makes you feel. Sometimes a group of friends confronting the person in a caring and respectful way makes all the difference when it comes to a person choosing to change.

If you choose to confront your friend constructively, be careful not to accuse him or her of any wrongdoing, and be careful not to try to diagnose his or her problem. First, you are not trained in diagnosing substance abuse or dependence (and your friend may rightfully remind you of that, especially if you use alcohol or other drugs occasionally). Secondly, if you accuse, you will only succeed in making your friend defensive, and defensive people are usually unwilling to listen. You may even make an enemy, or your friend may begin to avoid you.

So if you do decide to confront your friend, keep the focus on you - tell your friend how concerned you are about his behavior, and how the behavior makes you feel. Your friend cannot argue, minimize or rationalize (which is what most addicts and alcoholics do) when all you are doing is sharing your feelings and observations.

However, even without confrontation, you can still help by getting as much information as possible to share with your friend.

An important thing you can also do is refer your friend to the Substance Abuse Program for Students. This new program offers CONFIDENTIAL help and information for students who think they may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs. The faculty and administration are not told which students come to the Program.

A student can speak in complete confidence to a Voluntary Consultant - someone on campus who is trained to deal with substance abuse problems, but who acts independently of faculty or administration. NO STUDENT WILL BE PUNISHED FOR REQUESTING OR RECEIVING HELP, and no information shared with a counselor will be shared with anyone else without the student's express, written permission. Guaranteed.

How do I know if I have a problem with alcohol or other drugs?

Take the Self-Test

For further details call our recorded information line

(718) 270-4545

or one of our Voluntary Consultants:

Lorraine Brooks, CEAP
(718) 270-1489
any time

William Gross, MD
(718) 245-4871
Monday–Friday, 9 am – 5 pm