Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness

Being aware of your health is an important part of life and a critical part of being a college student. Many things impact your health, including stress, lack of exercise, eating less than healthy foods on a regular basis and over-consumption of alcohol.

Below is information about the student code of conduct, alcohol awareness, other drug awareness and how alcohol and drug usage impacts communities of color. This information is adapted from various governmental resources. LWTech is invested in your health and hopes this information is helpful and informative.

For more information about the Drug-Free School and Communities Act, contact the Vice President of Student Services at (425) 739-8100, or visit West Building, W207 to make an appointment. 

Drug-Free School Information

Student Code of Conduct - Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol are not permitted anywhere on campus, including parking lots and cars. Violation of this rule may result in immediate action. Anyone consuming, distributing, possessing, or under the influence of controlled or illicit substances on the campus is subject to suspension, probation, termination, arrest, and prosecution. Any involvement with drugs may also terminate eligibility for financial aid programs.

Appropriate provisions regulate the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages in Federal/State laws, Chapter 495D of the Washington Administrative Code and campus policies. Illegal drug possession, use or sale is prohibited in accordance with federal and state laws, including Chapter 495D of the Washington Administrative Code.

Specifically, as outlined in the Student Handbook's Prohibited Student Conduct (WAC 495D-121-590) the following is prohibited:

  • #11. Tobacco, Electronic Cigarettes, and Related Products: The use of tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and related products in any building owned, leased, or operated by the college or in any location where such use is prohibited, including twenty-five (25) feet from entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes of any building owned, leased or operated by the college. “Related products” include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, pipes, bidi, clove cigarettes, waterpipes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, and snuff.
  • #12. Alcohol: Being observably under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, or otherwise using, possessing, selling, or delivering any alcoholic beverage, except as permitted by law and authorized by the college president.
  • #13. Marijuana: The use, possession, delivery, sale, or being observably under the influence of marijuana or the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana and intended for human consumption, regardless of form. While state law permits the recreational use of marijuana, federal law prohibits such use on college premises or in connection with college activities
  • #14. Drugs: Being observably under the influence of any legend drug, narcotic drug, or controlled substance as defined in chapters 69.41 and 69.50 RCW, or otherwise using, possessing, delivering, or selling any such drug or substance, except in accordance with a lawful prescription for that student by a licensed health care professional. Being observably under the influence of any lawfully prescribed drug when enrolled in classes that require operation of heavy equipment or other dangerous equipment.
Community Resources

Kirkland Police Department officers have the authority to enforce laws concerning the possession, sale, or use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs through criminal arrest or civil citation. The Lake Washington Institute of Technology Student Conduct Code may also apply to infractions of these laws.

Community Helpline numbers for drug and alcohol abuse include:

  • 24-hour Crisis Clinic: (206) 461-3222
  • Drug and Alcohol Hot-Line: (206) 722-3700 or (800) 562-1240
  • Teen-Line: (206) 722-4222 or (800) 562-1240

National Council on Seniors and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

A non-profit organization with a mission to educate and provide assistance to seniors struggling addiction as well as caregivers and family members with concerns. Our primary objective is to effectively halt the growing silent epidemic of senior addiction.

Campus Resources

For additional resources and contact information, please visit the LWTech Counseling webpage

LWTech's Responsibility

The Drug and Alcohol School and Communities Act require institutions receiving federal financial assistance to establish drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs for students and employees. Students and employees must receive materials annually that contain standards of conduct, a description of the various laws that apply in that jurisdiction regarding alcohol and drugs, a description of the various health risks of drug and alcohol abuse, a description of available counseling and treatment programs, and a statement on the sanctions the university will impose for a violation of the standards of conduct.

Adapted from the Federal Student Aid webpage.

Be Aware of Legal Sanctions

Don't be caught unaware! The consequences of violating laws pertaining to drug and alcohol use and possession can include losing your license, fines and even incarceration.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board website contains detailed information about drug and alcohol laws. Extensive resources for students and parents are also available through this site.

The Washington State Department of Licensing website detailed information about DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws, including definitions and related sanctions.

In some cases, federal laws may apply in addition to state laws. For more information about federal drug trafficking penalties, please see the Drug Enforcement Administration webpage.

College Sanctions

When a student's behavior interferes with their or others' ability to effectively and safely attend college classes the use of the student code of conduct might be used. Prohibited behavior is included in this handbook; which includes the use of alcohol on campus, or off-campus at college-sponsored functions or activities. 

Primary sanctions (consequences when a student is found responsible for the behavior according to evidence presented during an investigation, based on the standard of proof) may include but are not limited to:

  • disciplinary warning
  • written reprimand
  • disciplinary probation
  • disciplinary suspension
  • dismissal

Terms and conditions of primary sanction may include:

  • restitution
  • professional evaluation
  • not in good standing

Secondary Sanction may include:

  • community or college service
  • educational requirements
  • restrictions of use
  • loss of parking privileges on campus

To learn more about the code and how it might impact you, please visit the Student Handbook webpage. Further information is available from the Vice President of Student Services office.

General Alcohol Awareness

Effects on the Body

The brain is a communication system and alcohol interferes with the way the brain looks and works. It can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

Problems like cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of the heart muscle), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), stroke, and high blood pressure are linked to drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion. Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including steatosis (fatty liver), alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis. 

Alcohol can also cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion. 

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast.

Your immune system might also be impacted. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.  Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk - making your body a much easier target for disease.  Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

Adapted from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Assessing Alcohol Use Disorder

Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.

An estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD. Approximately 6.2 percent or 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2015. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2015, an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD.

To assess whether you or loved one may have AUD, here are some questions to ask.  In the past year, have you:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but could not?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present.

Adapted from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Treatment Options

When asked how alcohol problems are treated, people commonly think of 12-step programs or 28-day inpatient rehab but may have difficulty naming other options. In fact, there are a variety of treatment methods currently available. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what may work for one person may not be a good fit for someone else. Simply understanding the different options can be an important first step.

Behavioral treatments are aimed at changing drinking behavior through counseling. They are led by health professionals and supported by studies showing they can be beneficial. Three medications are currently approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. They are prescribed by a primary care physician or other health professional and may be used alone or in combination with counseling. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs provide peer support for people quitting or cutting back on their drinking. Combined with treatment led by health professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support. Due to the anonymous nature of mutual-support groups, it is difficult for researchers to determine their success rates compared with those led by health professionals.

For anyone thinking about treatment, talking to a health professional can an important first step for referrals or other information. 

Adapted from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Resources

National Resources

State Resources

  • Washington State's Behavioral Healthcare Administration has many resources available for those in a recovery journey. 
  • BRIDGES is Bringing Recovery into Diverse Groups through Engagement and Support that focuses on improving the state infrastructure for providing services to individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness and have substance use disorders and demonstrating evidence-based practices within designated communities. 
  • Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery has available services for substance abuse.

Regional Resources

Other Drug Awareness

Ethnic and Cultural Communities 

Ethnic communities currently make up about a third of the population of the nation. These diverse communities have unique behavioral health needs and experience different rates of mental and/or substance use disorders and treatment access.

Communities of color tend to experience a greater burden of mental and substance use disorders often due to poorer access to care; inappropriate care; and higher social, environmental, and economic risk factors.

To learn more visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration webpage on communities of color and how substance abuse impacts those communities differently. 

Age and Abuse

Improving access to behavioral health services for children, youth, and their families are one of SAMHSA’s core missions. Half of adult mental illness begins before the age of 14 and three-fourths before age 24. More than 40% of youth ages 13 to 17 have experienced a behavioral health problem by the time they reach seventh grade. In addition, suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24 after accidents and homicide.

Compared with their peers, people within this age group with mental disorders are more likely to experience homelessness, be arrested, drop out of school, and be underemployed. Compared to all other chronic health conditions, mental disorders produce the greatest disability impact within this age group.

Youth transitioning into adulthood have some of the highest rates of alcohol and substance abuse.

Researchers estimate that each year:

About 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.

About 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.

About 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Many college alcohol problems are related to binge drinking. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. Drinking this way can pose serious health and safety risks, including car crashes, drunk-driving arrests, sexual assaults, and injuries.

About 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.

In a national survey of college students, binge drinkers who consumed alcohol at least 3 times per week were roughly 6 times more likely than those who drank but never binged to perform poorly on a test or project as a result of drinking (40 percent vs. 7 percent) and 5 times more likely to have missed a class (64 percent vs. 12 percent).

About 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.

Other consequences include suicide attempts, health problems, injuries, unsafe sex, and driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as vandalism, property damage, and involvement with the police.

Adapted from the College Drinking Fact Sheet

What to Look for in a Recovery Program

Drug abuse treatment goals are to stop drug use so people can lead active lives in the workplace and community. That is why finding the right treatment for a person’s specific needs is critical so treatment is long enough to achieve this goal. Drug abuse treatment is not “one size fits all.”

Finding the right treatment experience is knowing the extent and nature of the person’s problem, reviewing the appropriateness of treatment, finding availability of additional services and most important supporting quality of interaction between the person and their treatment providers. Family and friends can play important roles in motivating people with drug problems to enter and remain in treatment. However, trying to identify the right treatment programs for a loved one can be a difficult process. 

Here are some questions to consider when reviewing a recovery or treatment program.

  1. Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
  2. Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient?
  3. Does the program adapt treatment as the patient’s needs change?
  4. How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?

Adapted from National Institute on Drug Abuse treatment brochure.