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Letter to Parents

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The Office of Substance Awareness would like to provide you with some general information regarding alcohol and drugs. Recent studies indicate students do listen to their parents/guardians regarding alcohol and drug use. We also know the transition to college life can be a stressful time for many young adults, and healthy decisions can sometimes be difficult to make. The following recommendations may be helpful in future discussions relating to alcohol or drugs with your student.

  • Familiarize yourself with the alcohol and drug policies at Monmouth University, as well as NJ state laws. Discuss these laws and policies with your student.
  • Encourage your student to reach out for help if they are concerned about a friend or roommate’s alcohol or other drug use.
  • National studies as well as Monmouth University surveys report most college students (60-70%) drink alcohol moderately if they drink alcohol at all. Discussing these “true social norms” with your student may assist them to make healthy, responsible decisions regarding their own use. Identify and discuss the difference between low-risk and high-risk drinking patterns.
  • Encourage your student to take advantage of various services, educational programs and “alternative” non-alcoholic events on campus.
  • Ask your student about academics, the “party scene”, activities, roommates and residential life.
  • Share your values, beliefs and expectations with him/her in a non-judgmental way. If your student has received a violation of the alcohol or drug policy, try to avoid “reacting”. Instead, explore ways to “act” on the opportunity the violation presents to communicate with your student. Ask him/her what they have learned from the violation, what will be different in the future and what is being done as a result of the violation.
  • If you have concerns about your student’s substance use, let him/her know, and offer assistance to get them help.

Some people think alcohol and drug use during the college years is a “rite of passage.” The consequences of college alcohol/drug use are more significant, more costly, and more destructive than many Americans realize. The actual effects of alcohol and drug use on college campuses are alarming.

  • More than 1,400 college students die each year in alcohol/drug related accidents—mostly from falls, drowning, and car accidents.
  • More than 70,000 college-age students a year are raped or sexually assaulted as a result of alcohol/drug use.
  • About 25% of college students say alcohol/drug use has hurt their academic performance and led to lower grades.
  • Fighting increases when college students drink. More than 600,000 students a year are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • About 300 college students die each year from alcohol poisoning.
  • About 11% of college students report they have damaged property while under the influence.
  • More than 150,000 college students a year will develop a health problem from alcohol/drug use. And 400,000 students report having unprotected sex each year while under the influence.
  • Students have lost sleep or study time as a result of someone else’s alcohol or drug use. Others have had to care for an intoxicated student, been insulted or assaulted, had an unwanted sexual advance, or had property damaged.

Following are some early signs of a possible alcohol

or drug problem:

  • Missing classes, or falling behind in work
  • Unwillingness to talk to you about friends, classes, roommates, and activities
  • Trouble with Campus authorities, or Residential Life
  • Being hurt or injured while under the influence
  • Serious mood changes or a change in friends
  • Never available to talk to family


Binge: What Your College Student Won’t Tell You by Barrett Seaman

Smashed by Koren Zailckas

Our Drink: Detoxing the Perfect Family by Toren and Chris Volkmann

Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger

I hope this information will assist you at this important time of your student’s life. The Office of Substance Awareness supports students having a successful and healthy academic and social experience at Monmouth University. If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of Substance Awareness at 732-263-5804.


Suanne Schaad, MA, LCADC

Substance Awareness Coordinator