Substance Abuse at SGU
As is the case at many universities, a small percentage of the St. George's University students and employees abuse substances, particularly alcohol. For example, in a recent PSC anonymous survey of 297 of our students, it was found that:
- Almost 30 percent of the total sample and 40 percent of medical students reported drinking alcohol at least weekly.
- More than half of all students indicated they participated in binge drinking at least once in the six months preceding the survey.
- Approximately 10 percent of both the university and medical student samples reported binge drinking on a weekly basis.
- Approximately a quarter of both samples received scores indicating they display a pattern of drinking that can lead to harmful consequences, although they have yet to experience alcohol-related harm.
- About 20 percent of the medical students and almost 25 percent of the total sample reported they had attempted to control, cut down or quit drinking in the six months prior to the survey.
- Over 10 percent of the overall sample indicated they had experienced problems (e.g., health, social, legal, financial or academic) or failed to meet expectations at least once in the past six months because of their alcohol use.
- Less than 10 percent of all students indicated they smoked tobacco daily or almost every day.
- 14 percent of the total and 17 percent of the medical-only samples indicated use of cannabis in the past six months.
- 10 percent of the medical students who reported using cannabis in the six months preceding the survey indicated weekly or greater frequency of use.
Because of these problems, the PSC advocates for what we call "responsible use" where such substances are concerned. This includes:
- No use of illegal drugs.
- No use of tobacco products.
- No “binge” drinking. This is defined in the research literature as the consumption in one day of 5 or more standard alcoholic drinks (e.g., 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor, 5 ounces of 12% wine, 12 ounces of 5% beer) for men and 4 or more for women.
- No more than 14 standard alcoholic drinks in any week for men and only 7 for women.
- Use of legal medications only as prescribed.
- No overuse of “benign” substances (e.g., caffeine).
To assess your own drinking patterns, please click here. For other resources, including a variety of useful calculators, visit the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
For those in need, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Marijuana Anonymous meetings are held regularly on the St. George's University campus. The meetings follow the 12-step philosophy and are open to anyone from the university or island communities struggling with substance abuse or addiction.
They are held every Tuesday and Thursday (5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.) in Room B1C of Windward Hall on the St. George's University's True Blue Campus. Please note Windward Hall is behind Bourne Hall, as shown on the campus map.
Any substance abuse matter can also be addressed individually with a PSC clinician. Additionally, for those interested in stopping tobacco use, we offer a smoking cessation program described on the the Groups page of this website.