When to Get Help


When to get help:

Students with concerns about alcohol or drug use, either their own or someone they are close to, are encouraged to call (831) 459-1417 and talk with an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Educator. SHOP’s AOD Educator also provides confidential consultation services to faculty and staff to assist them in referring students.

Importance of early treatment:

The primary goal of our program is early identification and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse problems and alcoholism/drug addiction. There is much greater chance for recovery when a problem is detected early.

What is an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Consultation Session?

This information is for people who think someone they know (or they themselves) might benefit from alcohol/drug/nicotine related support. It answers some of the questions students frequently have about seeking support. 

An AOD session is an opportunity to explore your overall health and well being, in relation to personal use of alcohol / drugs or nicotine, or in relation to someone else's use of alcohol / drugs or nicotine. An AOD session at SHOP is a confidential, supportive place to discuss what is happening in your life, with a professional who will:

  • Be caring
  • Listen
  • Provide helpful information
  • Be objective
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Explore alternatives

An AOD session at SHOP can be a single meeting consultation or short term (2 to 6 meetings), depending on the goals you want to accomplish. These meetings will help you address troubling experiences or feelings, or can be used to support changes you wish to make in your life. The demands of college life are stressful enough, and an AOD session can give you a better chance to succeed academically and in your personal life.

Additionally, UCSC Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) provides AOD counseling by licensed specialists. All services are CONFIDENTIAL.

Why do people seek AOD support and/or counseling?

Most people come to AOD support services after they've had troubling experiences or feelings related to their own, or someone else's use of alcohol / drugs or nicotine. They usually have made repeated attempts to handle these difficult experiences or feelings, without success. Please read through the following list. If any of the following statements describe your situation, you may wish to consider AOD support. If any of the following statements apply to someone you know, AOD support and/or counseling can help you address your concerns.

  1. If you drink to get drunk.
  2. If you get intoxicated, use drugs or get high when you didn't intend to.
  3. If you drink or use drugs alone.
  4. If you have experienced loss of memory or blackouts due to drinking and / or drug use.
  5. If you have gotten involved in fights while drunk or high.
  6. If you drive while drunk or high.
  7. If you drop or choose friends based upon their drinking or drug use.
  8. If you feel you need a drink, drug, or smoke, to be liked in social situations.
  9. If others have expressed concern about your drinking, drug, or nicotine use.
  10. If drinking, drug, or nicotine use is affecting your physical health on an ongoing basis, including insomnia, intestinal disturbances, mental processing, difficulty breathing, etc.
  11. If drinking, drug, or nicotine use is causing conflicts with your family, friends or significant other.
  12. If you need to drink, use drugs, or nicotine in order to enjoy yourself.
  13. If drinking or drug use interferes with your capacity to attend class, study, write papers, or do well on exams.
  14. If you have said or done anything you regretted due to drinking or drug use.
  15. If you have lost the feeling of being in control due to your drinking, drug or nicotine use.
  16. If drinking or drug use results in your having unsafe or unwanted sexual experiences.
  17. If you are concerned about your drinking, and want to learn to drink responsibly.
  18. If you have unsuccessfully tried to cut down or stop your nicotine use.
  19. If you use nicotine products to control your weight, or instead of eating when you feel hungry.

How do students feel about seeking AOD support?

Students often feel hesitant about seeking AOD support for a variety of reasons. They may feel they should be able to handle all their problems themselves, or may feel shame or guilt about their difficulties. Those who enter counseling usually have spent a period of time debating within themselves whether to attend or not. Most students have mixed feelings about limiting or ending their use of alcohol / drugs or nicotine. Many have tried to do this without success and are unsure if change is possible. In addition, some students are concerned that if they seek counseling services, this will appear on school records.

Despite increasing acceptance of counseling by society, many students feel there is a stigma attached to seeking help. Others feel that attending counseling may mean "I must be crazy", or "I am an addict". Some feel that a counselor will try to convince them they are "addicted", or promote unwanted goals, one common misconception being that all students struggling with alcohol use need to end their alcohol use. Other students are fearful that entering counseling somehow means a loss of control over their life.

Students who receive support for an AOD related issue experience the following: 

  1. a safe place to talk about experiences and feelings.
  2. advantages in talking to a neutral person who is not a part of their everyday life.
  3. that they can effectively make changes in their life that result in feeling better about themselves and life in general.

Closing words

If you are still uncertain about whether AOD support is the right step, we encourage making an appointment to discuss any reservations you may have. This can be done anonymously, with no personal record kept in your name. The service is free and there is no obligation to continue. You can also make an appointment to discuss concerns about someone you know and how best to refer him or her for support. 

Resources at UCSC

Emergency response available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP)
SHOP provides confidential appointments for drug or alcohol concerns. SHOP is located in the Student Health Center, across the street from Colleges 9 & 10. As you walk up the ramp to the Health Center, SHOP is located in the building on your left, next to the Pharmacy. 

Student Health Services
Confidential walk-in or appointment health care

Counseling & Psychological Services
CAPS staff provides the UCSC community with a wide range of mental health services, including short-term individual and couples counseling, group counseling, crisis assessment and intervention, and referral services.

Resources in Santa Cruz

Recovery Wave
Santa Cruz County's Alcohol and Drug Abuse help pages. If you think that you, a family member, or a friend has an alcohol or drug problem, you've come to the right place. 

Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. 

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Narcotics Anonymous
831-429-7436 HOTLINE (24 hour)
Call for current open meeting schedules. Disabled Accessibility.

Marijuana Anonymous
P.O. Box 1481
Santa Cruz, CA 95061

SC Hotline/Meetings:
Self-help (non-religious) fellowship group for those who cannot control their marijuana use and are experiencing adverse effects in other areas of their life. No fee is charged.