The Flourish, April 2022
Supporting the well-being of all students at Stanford
April is National Alcohol Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, we discuss the effects of alcohol and other drugs and reflect on how we can further strengthen and protect our communities. How can we protect our community from fentanyl? How does alcohol affect our brain development? How much alcohol is “safe” to drink? How can we prevent the bystander effect and be upstanders? Find answers in this month’s edition. Together, we can learn more about drugs and how to keep our campus safe.
Protecting our communities — what is fentanyl?
Let’s be clear about the data — the vast majority of Stanford students do NOT use drugs. We know that approximately 12% of our community has used some type of illicit substance within the past year. That puts 12% of our student body at risk for purchasing and using drugs that may be counterfeit and laced with highly lethal substances, such as fentanyl.
How is Life Tree(ting) You?
Did you know that one’s brain isn’t fully developed until around age 25? That means that activities that you engage in, whether healthy or not, may have a profound impact during this critical phase in brain development. Studies have shown that the use of alcohol and other drugs can alter one’s brain during this developmental period. The impact on our brain is much greater, and longer lasting, than getting a little buzzed, feeling a bit tipsy, or lowering our social inhibitions.
In the Spotlight
In popular media, drinking games are portrayed as a fun, harmless, and essential part of the American college experience. As we know, popular media struggles to accurately depict reality, and sometimes misses the real risks of gamifying substance use. While they may look fun, drinking games are easy routes to over-drinking and experiencing unintended consequences of consuming alcohol.
Tip of the Month
If you’re at a social event and see a situation unfolding that doesn’t sit right with you or makes you uncomfortable, it can feel paralyzing. You can feel lost as to what to do or say, and question your own judgment as to whether it’s really “that bad.” This is called the bystander effect. Luckily, being aware of this and learning concrete ways to mitigate it can go a long way in keeping our community well, and preventing harm. We have entered Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a time we can intentionally build our awareness of sexual violence, it’s prevalence in our communities, and make commitments to creating a safe, non-violent, Stanford.
There’s a high chance you know someone who takes melatonin supplements. But what is melatonin and how does it affect our sleep? Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin begins to be released around 2 hours before your bedtime in response to less light coming in through your retina. Melatonin’s primary function is to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle, promoting healthy sleep and orienting one’s circadian rhythm. Melatonin's relationship with sleep has led millions of people to take melatonin supplements as sleep aids.
What’s Flourishing This Month?
- Sunday, April 30, National Prescription Take Back Day: The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Find a no-questions-asked disposal site: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
- Thursday, May 5 at 6 pm, Keynote w/Dr. Anna Lembke: “Pleasure, Pain, and Addiction: What Neuroscience and People in Recovery Can Teach Us About How to Navigate a Dopamine Overloaded World.” (Event to take place at Tresidder Union, Cypress Conference Room at 6pm, with a reception to follow at The Well House.)
- Tuesday, May 10 from 10am - 1pm, PEERs x 5-Sure Crossover: a tabling event to participate in Fentanyl Awareness Day and get trained on administering Narcan to reverse an overdose! (Tabling will be from 10am-12pm. Narcan training and distribution is from 12pm-1pm. Located in the White Plaza at the Bird Cage.)
For additional upcoming events, check out the Office of Student Engagement