Recovery Oriented Campus Center

Substance Misuse Prevention

No one ever plans to have a substance use disorder. It is a process, which generally begins with social use and progresses along a continuum from mild, moderate and to severe.

There are many social, psychological and biological factors involved in the progression from social use to severe use disorder or addiction.

Learning about the risk factors of substance use disorders and the progression of addiction can help us protect and prevent a substance use disorder from occurring.


Biological Risk

It is true that a person who has alcohol or drug problems in their family is at a higher biological risk for developing a substance use disorder.

It is also true that an individual who is at a higher biological risk can make different choices to prevent alcohol or other drug problems from occurring.

Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorder

Genetics and Epigenetics of Addiction


We are all born with an initial tolerance level. Using alcohol or other drugs in high-risk ways will increase tolerance. Increasing tolerance is how an individual increases their risk for problems.

To gain more information on tolerance:

The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction

Alcohol and the Brain: An Overview by NIH



Many individuals believe that substance misuse begins as a way to self-medicate an underlying mental health condition. Research has shown that many mental health and substance use conditions co-occur. Some mental health conditions precede substance use and some mental health conditions follow the use of substances.

According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The high prevalence of comorbidity between substance use disorders and other mental illnesses does not necessarily mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first. Establishing causality or directionality is difficult for several reasons. For example, behavioral or emotional problems may not be severe enough for a diagnosis (called subclinical symptoms), but subclinical mental health issues may prompt drug use. [In addition], people’s recollections of when drug use or addiction started may be imperfect, making it difficult to determine whether the substance use or mental health issues came first. Three main pathways can contribute to the comorbidity between substance use disorders and mental illnesses:

  1. Common risk factors can contribute to both mental illness and substance use and addiction.
  2. Mental illness may contribute to substance use and addiction.
  3. Substance use and addiction can contribute to the development of mental illness.”

(Online: National Institute on Drug Abuse-   Common Comorbidities With Substance Use Disorders )


University Health and Counseling ~Substance Misuse Newsletters



Volume 4 Issue 5- February 2022     The Fentanyl Fury

Volume 4 Issue 4- January 2022       The Rebound Effect

Volume 4 Issue 3- November 2021    Why People think Prescription Stimulant Use Will Help Them & What it Actually Does

Volume 4 Issue 2- October 2021        Caffeine and Alcohol, A Risky Cocktail 

Volume 4 Issue 1- September 2021   Brain Food; Using Nutrition in Early Recovery for Healing


Volume 3 Issue 7- April/May 2021     Is it Anxiety or My Marijuana Use?  

Volume 3 Issue 6- March 2021          Resiliency and Substance Use, What’s the Connection?

Volume 3 Issue 5- February 2021     Why Should We Consider Abstaining From Alcohol

Volume 3 Issue 4- January 2021        Athletes and Performance Enhancing Drugs

Volume 3 Issue 3- Nov./Dec. 2020     The Resurgence of Methamphetamine in Maine

Volume 3 Issue 2- October 2020        Recreational Marijuana

Volume 3 Issue 1- September 2020    COVID and Substance Misuse 


Volume 2 Issue 1- September 2019      Marijuana’s Impact on Learning: GPA and Beyond

Volume 2 Issue 2- October 2019           Alcohol and the Brain- A Scary Combination

Volume 2 Issue 3- November 2019       Meth- A Resurgence 

Volume 2 Issue 4- January 2020           What About CBD? 

Volume 2 Issue 5- February 2020          A Natural High

Volume 2 Issue 6- March 2020             We are all in this Together- Self Care and the Community (COVID-19) 

Volume 2 Issue 7-April/May 2020        Helping Ourselves and Each Other 


Volume 1 Issue 1- October 2018          Overdose Prevention

Volume 1 Issue 2- November 2018      Kratom, A New Concern

Volume 1 Issue 3- December 2018      National Impairment Month

Volume 1 Issue 4- January 2019          Vaping

Volume 1 Issue 5- February 2019         Let's Talk About Marijuana

Volume 1 Issue 6- March 2019             Understanding Substance Use Disorder

Volume 1 Issue 7- April 2019               April is Alcohol Awareness Month 





Addiction Policy Forum presents

The Hijacker: Episode One       

The Hijacker: Episode Two- Whirlpools of Risk       

The Hijacker: Episode Three- Understanding Severity 

The Hijacker: Episode Four- Don't Wait For Rock Bottom


The Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain  ~  This site contains a great deal of information on the science of addiction. Many of these videos are interactive.


Mouse Party explains how different drugs impact the brain and body.


Other Resources

The Importance of Language- Substance Use Disorder- Positive Language Guidelines

Drugs of Abuse – A DEA Resource Guide 2017

Alcohol Effects on the Body

Alcohol Use Disorder


For More information on specific substances, visit:  More Substance Misuse Resources