Your tutee, or a friend of theirs, might disclose substance misuse to you or you might spot signs yourself. 

Signs of substance misuse (eg alcohol dependency, the abuse of prescribed drugs and the use of illegal drugs) include:

  • Worsening health
  • Missing lectures; being late
  • Consistently achieving less than expected
  • Deteriorating concentration, lack of judgement, inability to make decisions
  • Unpredictable or inappropriate behaviour
  • Relationship problems
  • Worsening appearance - looking tired, messy etc.
  • Not admitting to the negative issues associated with substance misuse
  • Problems with money

(Thanks to Reading University for source material for these points)

What should you do?

If a student discloses to you, listen to the student’s concerns and help them to find the right sources of support and guidance.

If you suspect there might be a problem, contact the student and ask them to meet with you to explore whether they are OK. You might need to chase them up. At this meeting you might explain the benefits of seeking help and refer them to relevant sources of support and guidance.

Do not hesitate to seek advice from your Senior Tutor/Postgraduate Tutor, the Counselling Service or Health Centre.  You can do this without referring to the student by name. The Student Support Zone's resources on Drugs and alcohol are also useful. You may also wish to consult the Student Alcohol and Substance Misuse Policy.

Other sources of support online include:

Cognitive enhancing drugs

You might like to find out more about the use of cognitive enhancing drugs that are being used increasingly by university students, who believe they help them to cope with the academic demands of their degree programmes.