Because I Care
Caring enough to make a difference
"Because I care about living in a safe academic environment …"
These are all significant reasons for students to intervene with peers who are using drugs; they're also the foundation of an SMU program called Because I Care.
SMU's Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention sponsors a program that provides students with the information and skills they need to reach out to peers who are using drugs and connect them with campus resources. "Students listen to one another," says John Sanger, director of the center. "They can play a leading role in thinking and talking about how to prevent illegal drug use, and when someone needs help, they can step in and point the way."
Because I Care is an important addition to the University's services aimed at drug and alcohol abuse prevention, education, assistance and enforcement, Sanger says. "Drug users often don't recognize their problems, so it can take an intervention to crack through that denial and motivate a change."
The one-hour Because I Care program supplements the TIPS curriculum on preventing alcohol misuse.
In addition to learning about campus resources, signs of drug use and students' potential legal liability when friends use drugs, Because I Care participants practice intervention strategies and tough conversations, such as, "I am worried about you because I see you using at parties and feel angry, disappointed and afraid."
As young adults away from home, college students have the freedom to make their own decisions, Sanger says. "Because I Care helps the University community and family and friends work together to encourage healthier, safer choices."
# # #