Drug and Alcohol Education | GCTC

Drug and Alcohol Education

Gateway is committed to educating our students about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.  There are serious, sometimes deadly, consequences associated with substance abuse including physical and mental health, academic, social, professional, economic and legal.

To know what is expected of us within our College and our community, it is important to know the Drug and Alcohol Policy and the laws for which we are all responsible for following. To learn about what is expected and the sanctions facing individuals who violate drug and alcohol policies or laws, please review the following information:

Dangers of Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Health risks from alcohol and drug abuse are well documented, ranging from mood-altering to life-threatening, with consequences that extend beyond the individual to family, organizations, and society at large. It is important that each student and employee of Gateway Community and Technical College recognizes that the use of drugs may alter behavior, distort perception, impair thinking, impede judgment, and lead to physical or psychological dependence. 

Alcohol and/or drug abuse may lead to the deterioration of physical health by causing or contributing to various health conditions including but not limited to fatigue, nausea, personal injury, insomnia, pathological organ damage, some forms of cancer, pancreatitis, heart attack, respiratory depression, birth defects, convulsions, coma, and even death. Alcohol and drug abuse may also result in deterioration of mental health by causing or contributing to various conditions such as increased aggression, hallucinations, depression, disorientation, and psychosis. 

Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood of an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increases the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including domestic violence. 

Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses associated with binge drinking can cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver. 

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk  of becoming alcoholics.

In addition to the physical health of the individual, alcohol and drug abuse impact family members and others.  Substance abuse can lead to excessive absences or dereliction of duties that threaten one’s ability to maintain employment and provide for oneself and one’s family.

Just a single act of driving under the influence can result in the most tragic of consequences, including loss of one’s own life, the loss a loved one or the life of a stranger. Life-altering injuries and possible imprisonment may also result, as well as significant  financial consequences.

You can find additional information on the health risks and other dangers of abusing alcohol and drugs here:

According to The American Psychiatric Association’s publication, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or DSM-5, the following factors indicate that an individual may be showing signs of substance use disorders:

  • Using more of a substance of more often than intended;
  • Wanting to stop using or cut down but not being able to;
  • Neglecting responsibilities and relationships;
  • Giving up activities they use to care about because of their substance abuse;
  • Inability to complete tasks at home, school or work;
  • Using in risky settings;
  • Continued use despite known problems;
  • Needing more of the substance to get the same effect (tolerance);
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when a substance isn’t used.

Help is Available 

If you can know or even suspect you are having issues with substance abuse, there are people who can help.  A list of local resources has been compiled for your use:

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resources