Campus resources

Wardernburg Health Center: The student health center offers a continuum of treatment and referral services to address substance abuse and dependence. Services include individual and group therapy, brief screening and assessment. 1900 Wardenburg Drive, on campus; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 303-492-5101. colorado.edu/health

Health Promotion, Division of Wardenburg: This division of Wardenburg aims to foster a community that promotes health and helps students develop the skills they need to make informed choices about health. UMC 411; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 303-492-2937; colorado.edu/health/promotion

Counseling and Psychiatric Services: Students are eligible to receive free individual and group counseling targeted toward substance abuse and dependence. Students can also receive free substance abuse assessments and referral services through CAPS. Center for Community C4C, S440; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 303-492-2277; colorado.edu/health/counseling

CU Collegiate Recovery Center: The CU Collegiate Recovery Center (CUCRC) provides a home for the sober community on the CU Boulder campus and support for those in recovery from alcohol or drug use and other addictive behaviors. It is open to all who are in recovery or choosing sobriety/abstinence, and to those who are supportive of the recovery community. UMC 102; Those interested in holding a meeting should contact cucrc@colorado.edu or call 303-492-9642; colorado.edu/recoverycenter


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It was all the way back in 1980 when Newsweek magazine put Boulder on a map in a way some city boosters would have preferred to be omitted, labeling the city as a place where "the hip meet to trip."

That, of course, was more than 30 years before Colorado voted to legalize marijuana. Hallucinogens and many other drugs are still illegal, which is not to say that they're at all hard to come by for those with the connections. But the bottom line remains: Those who want to get ripped five ways to Sunday in this city are sure to find the ways and means to do so.

But the fact that Boulder-branded oblivion is probably more readily achieved than ever does not make it a good idea, and if the game plan in coming to the University of Colorado is to secure a degree, or at least stay healthy and out of jail, there are things to know and plenty of resources to draw upon.

Marijuana and minors

Pot is legal now, but it's not permissible for everyone and it's not legal everywhere. You must be 21 to purchase weed, and it is still illegal to use it in public, and that includes the CU campus. The Good to Know Colorado campaign offers a webpage with rules of the road for sparking up clearly spelled out.

And just because it's legal and long advocated by many for some medicinal use doesn't mean it doesn't hold some potentially adverse health consequences, according to officials at Health Promotion at CU's Wardenburg Health Center.

Downsides from marijuana use can include driving impairment and memory loss. There can also be compounding effects from being both drunk and high, which can compromise motor skills and reaction time.

Additionally, officials said, pot use can interfere with learning and academic achievement.

Prescription drug problems

The University of Colorado has campaigned to start conversations around Adderall during finals week.
The University of Colorado has campaigned to start conversations around Adderall during finals week. (Courtesy photo)

Prescription drug abuse is an issue in the college environment as it is in the rest of society. These generally fall into two categories, stimulants and other drugs, including barbiturates and depressants. On top of negative effects such as irritability and explosiveness, the use of stimulants such as Adderall as a study tool tend to make students overestimate how much they have actually accomplished.

Those using stimulants tend to believe they are achievement-oriented and making progress on assignments when they actually are not, officials have said. Sleep has a big impact on memory, and stimulants can inhibit that dynamic, meaning users don't learn as much as they believe they do.

As for depressants, combining one (alcohol, for example) with another (such as prescription drugs for depression, anxiety and insomnia) carries another series of risks — death included, through consequences including respiratory failure.

Where to turn for help

Students suffering dependence on marijuana, addiction to prescription drugs or alcohol abuse can take advantage of on-campus resources to steer them toward recovery.

Counselors say the goal of programs offered to students is harm reduction, enabling students to make decisions that will lead them toward success.

The office of Counseling and Psychiatric Services at CU offers recovery resources, including substance-abuse screenings and counseling appointments (fees may apply), CAPS also features classes for students facing court of Office of Student Conduct proceedings for drug citations.

Charlie Brennan: twitter.com/chasbrennan