Campus resources

Wardenburg 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 Dr., on campus; Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; 303-492-5101,

Community Health, 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; Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 303-492-2937;

Counseling and Psychiatric Services: Students of the university 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 S440; Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; 303-492-6766; Wardenburg Health Center; Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;

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; Monday-Thrusday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.;

Oasis: Oasis is a voluntary program for CU-Boulder students seeking support in living a sober lifestyle. It functions as a community of support for any student in recovery from addiction, any student considering moving toward a sober lifestyle, or any student who chooses not to use substances.


Now that pot is legal in Colorado, you might assume that every day is like a scene straight out of the movies “Half-Baked” or “Dazed and Confused.”

But at some point, marijuana — and other drugs — can leave the realm of fun and may start to affect your daily life, in a bad way.

How do you know where to draw the line? Here’s a look at the health effects of some common drugs, and where you can turn for help if you develop a problem.

Marijuana and minors

Because of the polarized debate on pot, not to mention “holidays” like 4/20, marijuana is a prominent concern at CU.

While it’s legal now in Colorado, marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal under federal law. It’s also illegal to smoke on campus and if you’re under 21. The Good to Know Colorado campaign breaks down all the rules.

Marijuana use also can have adverse health consequences, said Lee Scriggins, of Community Health at CU’s Wardenburg Health Center.

Some of the downsides include memory loss and driving impairment. There’s also a compounding effect when you’re drunk and high, compromising motor skills, reaction time and anticipation ability.

“Marijuana use, like any other drug use, can really hurt your learning and academic engagement,” Scriggins said. “You want to think about what do I want out of my life and let drugs and alcohol get in the way.”

Prescription drug problems

Prescription drug abuse among students can be broken down into two categories, Scriggins said: stimulants and other drugs, which includes depressants and barbiturates. Along with negative effects like irritability and explosiveness, using stimulants like Adderall as a study aid tend to make students over-interpret how much they’ve actually accomplished.

“People using stimulants feel like they’re achievement-oriented and making progress on tasks, when really they’re not,” Scriggins said. “Sleep has a huge impact on memory, and stimulants inhibit that effect, so users don’t learn as much as they think they do.”

On the opposite end of the chemical spectrum, combining one depressant (like alcohol) with another (such as a prescription drug for treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.) has its own series of risks.

“If you drink and use depressants, you could die,” Scriggins said.

The cumulative effect of multiple depressants is diminished breathing, which could lead to respiratory failure.

Where to turn for help

Students who experience dependence or addiction to marijuana, prescription medications and other drugs have on-campus resources to help them toward recovery.

“We work in an individualized way to provide treatment appropriate to use,” said Matthew Tomatz, substance abuse program coordinator for Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at CU. “Our goal is harm reduction, so students can make decisions that will help them succeed in school.”

In addition to hosting classes for students facing court or Office of Student Conduct proceedings for drug citations, students can access recovery resources through CAPS like substance-abuse screenings and counseling appointments (fees may apply).

Amy Bounds:

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