By Shawna Leader/The AS Review
The AS Resource and Outreach Programs (ROP) Drug Info Center (DIC), which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, provides a library and a confidential space to ask questions and discuss concerns, DIC Coordinator JaneLee Waldock said.
“The Drug Info Center can be used for a safe place to come and talk about whatever related issues come to mind for someone,” Waldock said. “If they want to talk about something they learned or if they have a question that’s specifically drug-related, we can look it up in our library or over the Internet together. Also, if anyone just wants to talk and share a story, it’s a safe space for students to do that.”
The DIC can refer students to community resources such as Alcoholics Anonymous and campus programs such as Alcohol and Drug Consultation and Assessment Services (ADCAS), which provides information and consultation for students.
A majority of the campus’s collection of drug-related literature is housed in the DIC. In addition to drug encyclopedias, the subject matter ranges from specific drugs, such as pharmaceuticals and marijuana, to information about quitting and rehabilitation, Waldock said.
During Info Fair, Waldock had students fill out a survey and found that they are interested in learning more about prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin. As a result, Waldock said she is planning a discussion panel for this quarter that will focus on prescription drug use. She hopes to feature a variety of perspectives, including those of University Police and doctors.
“[The panel will focus on] what it’s really doing to your body and what are the legal side effects that you should know about as far as taking prescription drugs that weren’t prescribed to you,” Waldock said.
Looking ahead to winter quarter, Waldock is planning a display in the Viking Union Gallery to celebrate the DIC’s 40th anniversary.
Natural High Day, an event that the DIC has hosted in the past, will take place in the spring. The goal of the event is to encourage people to find and celebrate drug-free activities, Waldock said. Some examples of natural highs are chocolate, yoga and outdoor activities, Waldock said. At last year’s event, tie-dying was an activity, she said.
Although the DIC provides resources for everyone, Waldock said that new students may be unfamiliar with issues related to drugs, as many students’ first experiences with drugs are in college. Alcohol and marijuana are the most widely used drugs on campus and any information about them would be beneficial to students, Waldock said.
“If you’ve never been around [drug] use before then you don’t know how you can get in trouble for something that seems like it’s pretty okay with everyone around you,” she said.
There are some drug-related myths widely believe by students and they often hold mistaken beliefs about alcohol consumption, Waldock said. Alcohol poisoning remains a mystery to many students, she said.
“People don’t know what it really means,” Waldock said. “[They ask] is that to the point where you’re sick or is to the point to where you’re passed out?”
People tend to think that getting sick and passing out are normal drunk behaviors, but that is not so, Waldock said. “Since that’s such a widely used thing, it’s not very safe for those misconceptions to be out there about alcohol.”
Another widely believed myth is that trying any drug once is harmless, Waldock said. In fact, there are some drugs that can be very dangerous with just one use, she said.
When people hear the words “drugs” and “narcotics” they typically think of illegal substances, but “we’re pretty much using as many illegal drugs as legal drugs in our society,” Waldock said.
“I hope that the whole culture of understanding what drugs are would include that [legal drugs] so it is balanced. … Alcohol is a drug, for instance; it’s not ‘drugs and alcohol,’ [but] people say that a lot.”
Waldock’s said her biggest goal for the year is to let students know that the DIC is a safe space and that students can use any of its resources.
“In the past, the Drug Info Center has been less-known around campus … one of the less-advertised offices of the ROP,” Waldock said. “I really want to change that this year.”