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Alcohol and Other Drugs

Research suggests that the majority of individuals use alcohol, at least occasionally. Use of alcohol in moderation is not necessarily problematic. However, a maladaptive pattern of use can progress into substance abuse or dependence, which often involves negative social, occupational, academic, legal, physiological, and / or physical consequences. The same is true for other substances, which can be even more dangerous.

How does it impact the workplace?

Substance abuse can have a negative impact on attendance and productivity, which can ultimately lead to termination in extreme cases. Use of substances is particularly problematic in clinical settings, where patient care can be compromised.


How does it impact relationships?

While substances are sometimes used as "social lubricants" to lower inhibitions and facilitate social interactions, they can also have a negative impact on relationships. Abuse and / or dependence can lead to altercations, social withdrawal, secrecy, risky sexual behavior, and diminished intimacy.


How does it impact academics?

Substance abuse can lead to poor attendance, missed deadlines, and an overall decline in performance.  Substance abuse can also increase the likelihood of developing a mental health issue.


How is it managed?

The type of intervention for substance abuse depends on the level of use and impairment. For isolated incidents of intoxication with limited impairment in functioning, education on the risks of substance use might suffice. In more extreme cases, intensive outpatient or inpatient treatment programs, which also focus on relapse prevention, are most effective. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are often recommended as a supplement for these programs.


What resources are available?

Johns Hopkins University is committed to maintaining a drug-free environment. Annually, all faculty, staff, and students receive a brochure outlining the university’s position and policy regarding alcohol and drug use, along with prevention and treatment information.

For Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System employees, Discipline Policy HR 603 prohibits unauthorized possession or use of drugs, as well as reporting to work under the influence of drugs. Please contact your divisional HR for more information.

FASAP can help you assess whether alcohol or drugs are impacting functioning enough to require intervention and support. You might find this self-assessment helpful:

Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Updated 05/02/2014

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