Substance Use Intervention & Treatment Unit

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger due to their substance use or withdrawal, PLEASE CALL 911


Services and Philosophy

Alcohol & Drug Assessment

Concerned About a Student?

Recovery Supports

Substance Use Resources

Meet the SUIT Staff

What is Collegiate Recovery?

What is Naloxone?

How to Get Naloxone

If you still have questions, please call (301) 314-8106, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm

If you are interested in helping to develop recovery community on campus, please email Laura Place at lplace1@umd

SERVICES:


The staff at Substance Use, Intervention & Treatment Progam (SUIT) understand that drug and alcohol use occurs on a continuum of severity. We are happy to meet with any registered student who is concerned about their own use, or the use of a friend, roommate or loved one, or who has received feedback from others that their use may be a problem.
We provide comprehensive assessment of alcohol or other drug use and related concerns. Our counseling approach relies heavily on Motivational Interviewing, a collaborative, client centered approach to help students consider positive alternatives. All treatment planning is individualized and determined by a member of the SUIT counseling team.

Our Services Include:

• Assessment and Referral Services
• Substance Use Counseling
• Co-occurring Disorders Counseling
• Healthy TERPS Program
• Substance Assessment & Intervention Program (SAIP)
• Drug Testing
• Consultation with Concerned Community Members

We can refer to local intensive outpatient and residential programs and assist with continuing care after intensive treatment, but we do not offer this level of services.


ASSESSMENT & REFERRAL SERVICE:

Students can meet individually with a professional counselor to discuss concerns about either their own or another’s use of alcohol or other drugs. These issues are explored in a non-judgmental, respectful manner, and students’ confidentiality is always ensured. If necessary, referrals to community treatment programs will be made.


COUNSELING
The counseling program has been established specifically to work with college students experiencing problems with or related to their use of alcohol and/or other drugs and related mental health conditions. The program includes individual and group counseling, 12-step support group meetings,  education or coordination with other treatment professionals.


HEALTHY TERPS
The Healthy TERPS program works to enhance the quality of the student experience and reduce high-risk drinking. Participants will complete a brief online alcohol screening (eCheckupToGo) before attending a 15-30 minute individual appointment to discuss their feedback and how their drinking compares to others. All registered students are eligible to participate in the program for free.

SUBSTANCE ASSESSMENT & INTERVENTION PROGRAM
The early assessment, intervention and education program is intended for students who have been charged with alcohol or other drug-related violations of campus judicial policy or state law, other than DUI or DWI. Motivational interviewing techniques are utilized in a group setting to explore motivation  or and consequences of substance misuse.


DRUG TESTING
Drug testing services are available for those individuals who are required to be drug tested (by the court system, employers, attorneys, treatment providers, or the Office of Student Conduct).


CONSULTATION
Confidential consultation services are provided via phone and in-person meetings, at no charge. We encourage family members, guardians, friends, roommates, faculty and staff to contact SUIT to discuss ways to support students with concerning drug and alcohol use.


SMOKING CESSATION PROGRAM
All Terps who wish to quit smoking can take advantage of the Smoking Cessation Program’s counseling and self-help materials. Smokers can learn more about their smoking behavior, the best strategies for quitting, and measures to avoid relapse. For more information, call (301) 314-9629.
Services are free and may include access to free nicotine replacement and acupuncture sessions.


MEDITATION
The University Health Center offers free meditation sessions to the UMD community. A certified meditation counselor will take you through a breathing technique that will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. Group & individual sessions are available For more information, call (301) 314-9629 or visit health.umd.edu/meditation.

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PHILOSOPHY


We are committed to:

  • Providing evidence-based psychoeducational interventions, treatment/counseling, consultation, and advocacy for students at the University of Maryland who are experiencing problems related to their or another person’s substance use. 

  • Engaging with students using a harm-reduction lens, so that our work with students is relevant and meaningful.

  • Tailoring our approach to the needs of each individual student: for some, moderation is a stepping stone to long-term abstinence; for others, abstinence is a stepping stone to long-term moderation.  

  • Helping to motivate students to think deeply and clearly about what actions and changes are best for them, personally.

  • Honestly informing those who use our services about the limitations of our services and helping them access more intensive treatment if necessary.

  • Abiding by our professional codes of ethics, and in all other ways to hold ourselves to the highest professional standards.

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CONCERNS ABOUT A STUDENT


Your concerns are important!

Thank you for taking substance use seriously. This is difficult to do in a college environment. Research shows that all members of a university community (students, instructors, researchers, staff, etc.) tend to overestimate how much and how often students use alcohol or other drugs. Even when we don’t overestimate how common it is to use in a heavy or risky fashion, it is easy to assume that, for all students with heavy use, this use will just be “a phase,” and assume that nothing needs to be done. You have known your student much longer than we have, and there’s a good chance that you’ve known them as long as they’ve known themselves. If you’re worried about them, there is likely something there to worry about. At the same time, not all students practice the same level of substance use (or non-use) as their parents, and that can make it more difficult for parents to determine exactly how much they need to worry and what actions to take.

Problems with substance use typically begin in adolescence and early adulthood.

It is important to bear in mind that substance use disorders are partly developmental disorders. Typically, those who use substances during their lifetime begin to do so in their teens or early twenties. The teen through young adult years are a time of rapid growth and development. This makes college a remarkable time for most students, when knowledge about oneself and the world is subject to explosive change. Unfortunately, it is also a time when some of the characteristics of a maturing brain and social pressures result in increased exposure to risky behaviors with regard to substance use. Additionally, using substances (especially heavy use) at a younger age is correlated with greater risks of addiction and other consequences.

Recovery works.

Fortunately, people can and do recover from the whole spectrum of substance use problems, and at all ages. I encourage you to think of addiction as we do many other illnesses. Like other illnesses, substance use disorders are more likely to occur at certain parts of our lives; there are some risk factors that predispose some of us to substance use disorders; and substance use disorders can be treated effectively through lifestyle changes, psychosocial supports, and/or medications.

Get qualified help - don’t do this alone.

If you have concerns about your student’s health and or safety, and are uncertain if your worry is justified, or what steps to take, I urge you to consult with a treatment professional, such as a clinical social worker, licensed counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. You may be able to meet with them on your own, privately, to discuss your concerns, as well as to come in for an individual and/or family meeting so that your student can speak with them directly. If you have a therapist that you have been seeing personally, they will be able to recommend someone different for you to see as a family. Treatment professionals can help you assess the level of risks your child is currently facing, and help you to make a plan, as a family about how to proceed. I recommend starting with an outpatient assessment.

There are ways to reduce the cost of professional care and assistance.

If at all possible, especially if you live remotely from College Park, I strongly suggest that you find someone in your insurance network, or through your or a partner’s workplace employee assistance program. This will help to control the cost of treatment and reduce the risks of undergoing unnecessary treatment (as you might if you first seek consultation with a for-profit alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility). If you and your student are local to College Park, and your child is currently enrolled in classes (or, in the summer, will be enrolled for the fall), then Substance Use Intervention and Treatment staff can meet with you and/or your student for an assessment. If you can, try to work with your child so that they know about the appointment. Students typically do not respond well to being taken to an addictions counselor by surprise. The appointment will start off much better if everyone knows about it in advance.

There are a lot of treatment options - it’s normal to be nervous or overwhelmed.

Whomever completes the assessment can provide you with some general treatment recommendations. Typically, they will explain what level of care they think is appropriate at present, and give some suggestions about how to proceed beyond that. The levels and types of care recommended may include (but are not limited to) outpatient counseling/therapy, psychiatry, self-help groups, intensive outpatient programs, and/or inpatient programs. It can be very difficult to hear that treatment is recommended for your child, regardless of the level or type of treatment recommended. It is possible that either you or your student will not like the treatment recommendations.

Consider the long-term impact of choices when weighing treatment options.

If your gut tells you that a second opinion or assessment is required, a good treatment provider will, if given permission by the student and sufficient notice, release any relevant results or records to a new provider for a second assessment. Students and their families are often concerned when care beyond weekly therapy is recommended, and worry about impairing academic progress or other activities. It is essential in that case to consider the potential long-term impacts on the student’s academic, interpersonal, and professional life, with intermittent or continual risky or heavy substance use. This potential cost must be weighed against the more predictable and shorter-term costs of taking a semester off, dropping a class or two, taking a leave of absence, or negotiating for more time on assignments. Staff at the university can assist you in navigating the process of withdrawal from a class or a whole semester if necessary.

Always have Plan B (or C) ready to go, and know when to use it.

As a family, you may decide to postpone the level of treatment recommended by a professional. In this case we recommend that you decide, in advance, how to evaluate the effectiveness of whatever level of treatment you have decided on. This strategy can make it easier to determine whether and when to increase the level/intensity of care, should your first attempts prove less successful than desired. This can be a difficult conversation to have with your child, and it is a very important one. We recommend that you consider family therapy as a potential source of mediation and support for this conversation.

Treatment plans are more effective when they are personalized.

As a family, you may decide that more intensive treatment is a better choice for your student. Perhaps they have more time to complete treatment now than they will in a few months, or maybe you have learned from them that they do not believe they can make progress without living in a more controlled environment, like a residential or inpatient facility. There may be other risks that you are considering, such as a co-occurring problem with depression, anxiety, eating disorder, or another condition. Whoever completes an assessment with your student should be able to help you find treatment location(s) that work for you. However, it is important to acknowledge that every program is not a fit for every person, and it may take some time to identify the right one, or that it may take more than one experience of treatment for a person to be able to maintain recovery effectively. Just as we don’t expect diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions to resolve immediately, it is important to acknowledge that recovery from addiction is a process, not a one-time event.

Taking a break from school can help jump-start the treatment and recovery process.

Perhaps you already know that your student needs to take a break from the university, or they are on a break now, and you are thinking about how to decide when it is “safe” for them to come back. Maybe they have already started their process of recovery and are coming to college for the very first time. It is essential to bear in mind that Universities are often described as “abstinence-hostile” environments. Sadly, this means that your student is likely more at risk for developing a problem with substances while at the university and more likely to relapse when returning here after time away in treatment. Heavy alcohol or substance use is often considered to be more “normal” than abstinence from substance use. As a result, recovery is stigmatized or considered strange or undesirable. Especially if your child’s friends are used to partying together, they can find it difficult to support your child’s changed substance use behaviors, and this makes it harder for students in recovery to be open with others.

There are supports available at the University.

There are several supports at the University which are available to ease this social transition for students who wish to maintain their recovery. Availability can vary due to student engagement/interest. During fall and spring semesters, we offer a professionally facilitated and harm reduction oriented Recovery Support Group. While we do not offer long-term therapy/counseling, students in or considering recovery can also meet with a qualified counselor either for a short period of time, or for occasional help in getting connected to community and area resources. We are lucky that there are currently two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on campus, and one in particular is primarily attended by students. Other meetings in College Park also have a strong student presence - Substance Use, Intervention and Treatment staff are happy to connect students with others who are “in the know” about the best local meetings. The Young People’s Alcoholics Anonymous group in Bethesda is also one of the largest (if not the largest) in the nation, and is readily accessible by Metro. Recently, the Terps for Recovery student organization has become a recognized student group, and is growing each semester. A diverse, thoughtful group of students - Terps for Recovery offers a way for students to engage with others working towards establishing or maintaining stable recovery. They offer social events, engage in fundraisers, and participate actively in campus events that help to raise awareness of issues related to substance use and mental health struggles.

Treatment doesn’t end after 30, 60 or 90 days. Make an after treatment care plan.

Good treatment programs will help to prepare you and your student for the challenge of returning to school, with strategies, tips, and encouragement to continue engaging in treatment and treatment-supporting activities (individual and/or group therapy, 12-step groups, harm reduction groups, volunteering, healthy lifestyle activities, community engagement). Post-treatment care plans should be individualized, and as unique as your student’s interests are. Substance Use, Intervention and Treatment staff are happy to help your student connect to recovery-supporting groups and events on campus and in the metropolitan area. Substance Use, Intervention and Treatment staff can also help you and your student navigate the process of finding a therapist in the area, so that they can maintain a long-term, supportive connection with a treatment provider, while we remain available for occasional individual support, or regular support in a group context.

The right housing choice is essential.

Some strategies that seem as if they would reduce risk of relapse on campus are not actually effective. For instance, we have no evidence that moving to an off-campus apartment or house reduces risk of relapse, unless that is an environment that models and supports abstinence or minimal substance use. Returning to a fraternity or sorority living environment - whether in the house or an informally connected home - does not reduce relapse risk, unless the fraternity or sorority has abstinence from substance use as a consistent social norm.

The best option is for your student to get connected to local students in recovery, well in advance of their return, and try to find a place in a sober house. SUIT staff can help students make that connection. Another very low risk option for many local students is to commute from home. Fortunately, campus housing does have more supervision than off-campus housing, especially in conventional style dormitories. In addition, off-campus housing with particularly studious residents (often graduate students) who rarely or never party (and never at the house/apartment) can provide a lower-risk living environment. However, students in that type of living environment may need to put in more effort to connect with peers, which can be a challenge. The University is also exploring options that may be helpful in future, but they are not available at present.

What you say - and how you say it - really matters.

Finally, please know that your voice matters. It is easy to feel powerless when a loved one is facing a problem with substance use. Students in late adolescence may not always seem like they are listening to you, but they do hear you. There are some ways to make your communication more effective: (1) be direct about your concerns, (2) know what you want to communicate before you talk with them, and (3) avoid making ultimatums, unless you are certain that you will follow through, and that in following through your child will not be in greater danger.

For more detailed ideas about how to talk with your student about this problem, we recommend reading Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change, by Foote, Wilkens, Kosanke and Higgs. It is thorough, clear, and each chapter stands alone, so you don’t have to read the whole thing to get some good ideas. Of course, you can call (301) 314-8106 to consult with Substance Use, Intervention and Treatment staff, and if you believe your student is in imminent, life-threatening danger, please call 911 immediately.

Addiction is hard on everyone it touches; make space for your own healing.

Please remember to take care of yourself. Addiction can exacerbate or highlight troubles that your family already had, or bring up troubling thoughts and feelings based on your own beliefs and experiences. Getting the care that you need to cope with how your child’s substance use impacts you is essential, both for your own health and for being able to effectively help your child. You can get that care from a mental health professional, spiritual advisor, or with friends or family not directly involved in this crisis. As human beings, we’re very social creatures and we learn more from what the people around us do than from what they say. Taking care of yourself, and facing the vulnerability that comes from making changes in your life are both great ways to encourage and empower your student to take care of themselves.

Please be in touch if you have further questions. Our staff can be reached best by calling (301) 314-8106 during typical business hours.


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CAMPUS RECOVERY SUPPORT:


Harm Reduction Oriented Facilitated Support Group:

Drug testing services are available for those individuals who are required to be drug tested (by the court system, employers, attorneys, treatment providers, or the Office of Student Conduct). You can find out the current date/time of this group by calling 301-314-8106 during typical business hours. This group is a choose-your-own-adventure model of recovery. For some, moderation is a gateway to long term abstinence, and for others, abstinence is a gateway to long term moderation. As long as you are sure that you need to make or maintain some kind of change in your substance use, you’re probably going to find someone in this group you connect with.

12-Step Groups (not affiliated with UMD or the UHC)

There are two AA meetings on campus as of Fall 2016, one of which has a very strong student presence. There are also several meetings nearby, and can be found at www.aa-dc.org. The Thursday meeting at 7:30pm in the University Memorial Chapel is primarily composed of students, and is an excellent first stop for connecting with other students in recovery on campus, and to learn which area meetings currently have the most vibrant attendance by young people and college students. As of April 2017, the Wednesday meeting at 7:30pm in St. Andrew’s Church at 4512 College Ave. also has a strong student presence.

Student Recovery Drop-In

Still in a pilot phase, there is time and space set aside Mon-Fri in the health center for students to meet and support each other in their recovery from alcohol or other drugs. There are social events every month, including coloring, craft projects, and breakfasts. As we are able, an intern or liason coordinates these activities and makes connections for students interested in getting into recovery. In Spring and Fall, this space was available Mon-Fri, 1pm-5pm, with the exception of some Thursdays, but availability may change. You can find more information by emailing lplace1@umd.edu

Terps For Recovery

Terps for Recovery (TFR) is a new student organization which is growing in collaboration with University Health Center staff. In their own words, “the mission of the Terps for Recovery group is to promote the academic and social well-being of recovering students at the University of Maryland (UMD) through the praxis of social justice, empowerment, and community building. We seek to provide a supportive atmosphere on campus for students who are in recovery, or wish to recover, from an addiction, persons who are affected by another person’s addiction, and all friends of recovery.” They offer several social events each year and actively collaborate with campus events in support of mental health, addiction, recovery, and similar areas. They can be reached by emailing terpsforrecovery@gmail.com

Assessment & Referral Service

Students can meet individually with a professional counselor to discuss concerns about either their own or another’s use of alcohol or other drugs. These issues are explored in a non-judgmental, respectful manner, and students’ confidentiality is always ensured. If necessary, referrals to community treatment programs will be made.

Counseling

The counseling program has been established specifically to work with college students experiencing problems with or related to their use of alcohol and/or other drugs and related mental health conditions. The program includes individual and group counseling, 12-step support group meetings, education or coordination with other treatment professionals.

Drug Testing

Drug testing services are available for those individuals who are required to be drug tested (by the court system, employers, attorneys, treatment providers, or the Office of Student Conduct).

Consultation

Confidential consultation services are provided via phone and in-person meetings, at no charge. We encourage family members, guardians, friends, roommates, faculty and staff to contact SUIT to discuss ways to support students with concerning drug and alcohol use.

Smoking Cessation

All Terps who wish to quit smoking can take advantage of the Smoking Cessation Program’s counseling and self-help materials. Smokers can learn more about their smoking behavior, the best strategies for quitting, and measures to avoid relapse. For more information, call (301) 314-9629.

Meditation

The University Health Center offers free meditation sessions to the UMD community. A certified meditation counselor will take you through a breathing technique that will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. Group & individual sessions are available For more information, call (301) 314-9629 or visit health.umd.edu/meditation

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RESOURCES:


 

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Local Outpatient Services:

UMD Outpatient Program: (301) 314-8106

Kolmac Clinic: (301) 589-0255

Maryland Addiction Recovery Center: (410) 773-0501

Seeking Treatment: Know What to Ask

 

HOTLINES

Alcohol Hotline: (800) ALCOHOL

Treatment Referral Hotline: (800) 662-HELP

Suicide Prevention: (800) 273-TALK

LGBT Lifeline: (866) 488-7386

 

WEBSITES

Support and Connection:

Harm Reduction, Moderation and Abstinence Support

Screening and Information on Therapy for Men

Alcoholics Anonymous

Marijuana Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

Hello Sunday Morning

Smart Recovery

Treatment locator

 

Education

Dance Safe: Information on club drugs and harm reduction

Got a question you’ve always been afraid to ask? Go ask Alice

Thinking about your drinking? Try a screening, learn some useful questions to ask yourself. Learn tips.

Have questions about your alcohol or drug use? Worried about a friend. Talk to Frank.

Wondering if the way you’re drinking is harming your health? Need advice on whether to cut down?

National Institute on Drugs and Alcohol

 

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 MEET OUR STAFF STAFF:


 

Laura Place, MSW, LCSW-C

Coordinator of Substance Use, Intervention and Treatment Services

Laura Place is currently the Coordinator of Substance Use Intervention and Treatment programs at the Health Center, providing a range of psychoeducational interventions and substance use disorder treatments for students. She is a firm advocate for the value of harm reduction as an essential element of substance use treatment. Ms. Place, a Maryland native and long-time DC area resident, graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from the National Catholic School of Social Service in May 2011 and completed her undergraduate education right here at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2004.

Pamela Almandrez, MS. LCPC

Pamela Barreto, MA, LGPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Maryland. Pamela received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Pamela attended Bowie State University’s Masters in Mental Health Counseling program and joined SUIT in 2013 as a graduate level intern. Post-graduation in 2014, Pamela officially joined the SUIT staff as the Assessment and Screening Coordinator. Pamela is an integrative counselor, who uses a variety of orientations and therapy according to the client’s individual needs, while focusing on harm-reduction mainly through brief motivational interviewing. Pamela is also a member of UMD’s interdepartmental Alcohol Coalition

Doug Boykins

Doug Boykins provides drug testing services as needed, and has a reputation with students for making the process as comfortable as possible.

In addition to the staff listed above, every year counselors in training and social workers in training join us between September and May. They work under direct, qualified, in-house supervision. Occasionally we have additional fully licensed staff for short periods of time during the fall and spring semesters. We also work very closely with Madeleine Moore, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Education and Outreach Coordinator in the Health Center’s Health Promotions unit and Mental Health Services staff.

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