How to Help a Friend with a Drug Problem
Educate yourself about addiction. Signs can include changes in physical appearance (sudden weight loss or gain, frequent nose bleeds, slurred speech) and behavior (extreme changes in mood, neglecting responsibilities, agitation).
If your friend is misusing opioids, talk to a doctor or pharmacist about Narcan Nasal Spray. Narcan is a life-saving medication used to treat an opioid overdose. Opioids are prescription painkillers (codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone) and heroin. Keep Narcan in an easily accessible place. Ensure friends and family know where and how to use it. If you suspect an opioid overdose, call 911 and administer Narcan if available.
Counseling & Support Resources
Confidential, free help from public health agencies to find substance use treatment & information
National Helpline: 800-662-4357
OCC Student Health Center
Safety & legal concerns: 714-432-5017
Substance abuse treatment, medication support & rehabilitation
Regular group support meetings
24-hr hotline: 714-590-2388
Orange County Alcoholics Anonymous
Mutual aid fellowship to help members achieve & maintain sobriety
24-hr hotline: 714-556-4555
Free rehabilitation program including housing, meals and clothing
Treatment & Rehabilitation
The District offers a wide variety of educational opportunities to its students, employees and the community which address alcohol and other drug-related issues. Information about a formal course is available in the college catalogs, class schedules, and through the counseling centers. Additional educational opportunities include awareness activities, conferences, film/videos, and lectures, some of which are offered in conjunction with other colleges and community agencies. These activities are publicized at each College and the District Office.
Although substance abuse is a serious problem that can affect your academic, personal, and professional life, it is also a treatable problem. Resources are available to provide you with the help you or a friend may need. OCC students and employees are encouraged to seek immediate help through any of the following resources.
Students can seek help through the Student Health Center or the Student Assistance Program. Student Health mental health and medical professionals provide assistance for students with alcohol or drug problems including crisis intervention, education, and/or referral. The Student Assistance Program has trained faculty and staff who volunteer their time to advise students and make referrals.
Employees of the District will be referred to or have the ability to take part in drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation programs. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential assistance and support program for employees in crisis. District employees may also access inpatient and outpatient counseling and treatment programs currently offered through the employee's medical provider. Paid leave is available for employees to attend inpatient or outpatient drug or alcohols programs.
Students and staff may be referred to groups or agencies such as the following:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Co-Dependents Anonymous
- Other appropriate self-help groups
- Alcohol counselor on campus County regional mental health team
- Private treatment agencies
OCC Staff Resources
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Free, confidential help
Anthem Blue Cross (800) 999-7222
Enter CCCD for Anthem EAP login
Vice President, Student Services
Madjid Niroumand (714) 432-5765
Turning Point Center for Families
Adult counseling groups for substance abuse, alcohol, anger management and domestic violence. Sliding scale fees for individual therapy. Services are available in English, Spanish, and Farsi.
3151 Airway Ave F-206A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Mariposa Women & Family Center
Provides outpatient counseling for women with alcohol and drug related concerns. Fees are based on income and family size. Individual counseling is available in Spanish.
812 W. Town and Country Rd., Orange, CA 92868
Services include free assessment and referral, individual treatment planning, individual and group counseling. Contracted by the County of Orange.
771 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832
A science-based addiction recovery support group (face-to-face and online) where participants learn self-empowering techniques to aid their recovery.
Health Risks Associated with Substance Abuse
Alcohol or other drugs used in excess over time can cause illness, disability and death. The health consequences of substance abuse may be immediate and unpredictable, such as liver deterioration associated with the prolonged use of alcohol. The use or abuse of alcohol and other drugs increases the risk for a number of health-related and other medical, behavioral and social problems.
Regular users of alcohol and other drugs often have erratic lifestyles which interfere with sleep, nutrition, and exercise, impacting school and job performance.
Health problems include hangovers, blackouts, motor vehicle accidents, injuries, general fatigue, impaired learning, dependency, disability, and death.
Personal problems include diminished self-esteem, deterioration of the family structure, domestic violence, alienation from reality, anxiety, depression and suicide.
Social problems include loss of friends, academic standing, or co- and extracurricular opportunities, alienation from and abuse of family members, and chronic conflict with authority.
Economic problems include financial difficulties such as loss of job, loss of education aid eligibility, homes, savings, and other assets.
Legal problems include loss of driver's license, limitations on career choices, fines, and jail sentences.
Repeated us of alcohol and other drugs can lead to dependence.
Alcohol and drug abuse, addiction and dependency are behavioral/medical problems.
Alcohol At-risk drinking causes a loss of concentration and judgment, slowed reflexes, and disorientation leading to a higher risk of injuries from accidents. At-risk alcohol consumption can cause problem behaviors such as arguments, fights, assaults, and dangerous sexual behavior. Long-term health risks include sleep problems, cancer, liver disease, stroke, depression and anxiety. When consumed rapidly and in large amounts, alcohol can cause coma and death. Combining medications (prescribed or not prescribed) with alcohol can have unpredictable and dangerous health consequences.
Amphetamines (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin) can cause short-term effects such as rushed, careless behavior and pushing beyond your physical capacity. This leads to exhaustion and tolerance increases rapidly. Long-term effects include physical and psychological dependence and withdrawal potentially resulting in depression and suicide. Continued high doses can cause heart problems, infections, malnutrition and death. Combining medications (prescribed or not prescribed) with alcohol can have unpredictable and dangerous health consequences.
Cocaine (Blow, Crack, Snow, Rock) is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant drug. Cocaine mixed with synthetic opioids is especially dangerous increasing the risk of overdose death. Cocaine can cause irritability, hypersensitivity to sight, sound and touch, confusion, paranoia, hostility, extreme happiness, high energy, impaired judgment, restlessness, dilated pupils, fast or irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, raised body temperature, nausea, muscle twitches and tremors. Long-term effects of cocaine depend on the method of use including:
Snorting and smoking: damage to the respiratory system such as loss of smell, nosebleeds, cough, asthma, lung infections, and respiratory distress
Oral intake: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
Needle injection: increased risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis C, collapsed veins, skin infections and scarring
Additional long-term effects of cocaine use include damage to the immune system, malnourishment, seizures, movement disorders such as Parkinson's, severe paranoia, and auditory hallucinations.
Hallucinogens (PCP, LSD, Peyote, DMT, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan, Psilocybin, Salvia) are a varied group of drugs that alter perception, thoughts and feelings. Hallucinogens cause extreme distortions of what one sees and hears including hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real but are not. Health effects include increased heartrate, blood pressure, breathing rate and temperature, nausea, uncoordinated movements, excessive sweating, heightened sensory experiences, changes in perception of time, panic, paranoia, and psychosis. Some hallucinogens interfere with emotion, the perception of pain, environmental responses, learning and memory. High doses of hallucinogens can cause seizures, coma and death.
Marijuana (Cannibis) can cause altered senses, impaired body coordination, mood changes, impaired memory, difficulty thinking and problem solving, an altered sense of time, anxiety, paranoia, breathing problems, intense nausea and vomiting, and worsening of preexisting mental health or heart problems. Hallucinations, delusions and psychosis can occur when taken in high doses. Marijuana affects brain development which may impair memory, thinking and learning functions for those who began using marijuana as teenagers. Researchers are studying how long these drug effects last and if changes are permanent. Higher THC levels; particularly in edibles and marijuana extracts, can deliver dangerously large amounts of THC to the body. Higher THC levels increases the risk of serious health consequences causing increasing emergency room visits related to marijuana use.
Methamphetamine (Meth, Speed, Crystal, Ice, Chalk) is a stimulant drug in pill or powder form taken by smoking, snorting, swallowing, or injecting. Methamphetamine use may cause decreased appetite, rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, and increased breathing, blood pressure, body temperature, and restlessness. Long-term use of methamphetamine increases the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, severe dental problems known as 'meth mouth', extreme weight loss, skin sores from intense itching, and mental health concerns such as anxiety, difficulty sleeping, confusion, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations. Methamphetamine addicts exhibit severe changes to the brain involving emotion and memory.
Opioids include illegal heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and prescription pain medications including codeine, morphine, OxyContin, and Vicodin. Ongoing use of opioids, even when prescribed by a doctor, can lead to dependence, abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. Harmful effects of opioids include confusion, euphoria, drowsiness, slowed breathing, nausea, and constipation. Slowed breathing decreases the oxygen to the brain potentially leading to short- and long-term neurological and psychological effects including coma, permanent brain damage, and death. Using opioids in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, or a baby with opioid dependence exhibiting withdrawal symptoms. The use of opioids with alcohol or other prescription or illicit drugs can cause unpredictable and unwanted consequences.
- Prescription Opioids relax the body and treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids are highly addictive; overdoses and death are common. Prescription opioids include Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Opana, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.
- Heroin (Smack, Big H, Horse, Hell Dust) is made from morphine and can be a white or brown powder, or black sticky tar heroin. Heroin is injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked and is one of the world's most dangerous opioids. Long-term use leads to malnutrition infection, and hepatitis – sharing of needles is the leading cause of the spread of HIV and hepatitis.
- Fentanyl is a powerful analgesic synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Prescription fentanyl such as Duragesic, Actiq, Sublimaze is used to treat severe pain or chronic pain in those who cannot tolerate other opioids. Street names for fentanyl or fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Murder 8, and TNT.
Treatment for Opioid Overdose:
If you suspect an opioid overdose, call 911 and administer naloxone. Narcan Nasal Spray rapidly blocks the effects of the opioid drugs allowing the person to breathe. The significant increase in overdose deaths has led public health efforts to make naloxone available for at-risk persons and their families, and first responders.
OCC Drug Prevention Strategies
OCC offers a wide variety of educational opportunities to its students, employees and the community which address alcohol and other drug-related issues. This includes campus-wide awareness activities, workshops, films/videos, lectures, and online tools.
- Naloxone Distribution Program (NDP): Orange Coast College Student Health is participating in the Naloxone Distribution Project (NDP). The NDP is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to combat opioid overdose-related deaths throughout California. The NDP aims to address the opioid crisis by reducing opioid overdose deaths through the provision of free nasal naloxone, or NARCAN®. NARCAN® is a life-saving medication used for the treatment of an opioid emergency such as an overdose or a possible opioid overdose. NARCAN® Nasal Spray is to be given right away and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Orange Coast College Student Health is eligible to receive free NARCAN® through our Medical Director's order. Campus Safety first responders and Student Health medical staff have NARCAN® available for opioid overdose emergencies.
- Alcohol eCHECKUP To Go: An interactive on-line assessment tool is available for students on the Orange Coast College Student Health website to receive personalized feedback about drinking patterns and risk patterns. After assessment is completed, students are provided with information about available resources at Orange Coast College and in the community.
- Alcohol Awareness Health Hut: Orange Coast College student leaders in the Peer Health Educator program host on-campus outreach activities in their "Health Hut" booth to increase awareness of the negative effects of alcohol consumption and promote healthy decisions surrounding alcohol use. The Peer Health Educators engage fellow students in the "Fatal Vision Goggles Challenge," in which students wear simulation goggles that alter vision and perception to experience how alcohol can greatly impair balance, vision, reaction time and judgment. Students also learn about the dangers of binge drinking and the definition of a standard drink through the Peer Health Educators' activity "The Pour Game," in which students are asked to make and measure a standard drink of various types of popular alcoholic beverages using water. Impaired driving prevention is addressed with the "DD Red Cup Pledge", in which the Peer Health Educators ask fellow students to sign a pledge on a red cup representing their commitment to the role of being a sober designated driver. These activities are conducted by the Peer Health Educators with target dates close to holidays and occasions in which alcohol is often viewed to play a large role in festivities (i.e. Halloween).
- Dead Men Tell No Tales (Live to Tell Yours!): An annual substance abuse awareness fair hosted by the Orange Coast College Student Health Center aims to decrease the negative consequences of drug use, increase awareness in recognizing the warning signs of substance abuse, and connect students and the campus community to treatment and counseling services. The fair features community agencies, including the Orange County Healthcare Agency, Interval House, Mariposa Women & Family Center and SMART Recovery, who share their resources and services with students.
- Waymakers Project PATH: Orange Coast College Student Health and Waymakers Project PATH have worked collaboratively since 2013 to bring impaired driving prevention education to the campus community. Waymakers Project Path conducts their educational presentations in various Orange Coast College courses on the dangers of impaired driving with alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications and illegal drugs. In 2013, the Peer Health Educators worked with Waymakers Project PATH to develop and implement the "I am OCC. I was the Designated Driver" campus-wide media campaign. Posters from this campaign remain displayed in classrooms and in various high-traffic areas on campus for key messaging on DUI awareness. The Peer Health Educators also work with Waymakers Project PATH and lead a project that recognizes local law enforcement for their commitment to reducing impaired driving in Costa Mesa.
- The RADD California Coalition (RCC): Orange Coast College Student Health is in partnership with RCC for the "College is RADD" DUI Awareness Project. The Peer Health Educators promote the use of a designated driver, calling a cab/friend or taking public transportation through RADD's "Plan Ahead! Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk… Do You?" messaging and the "RADD Rewards" program, a program in which local bars and restaurants provide free sodas and food to students who serve as the designated driver for their friends.
Drug Free Environment and Drug Prevention Program
It is the intention of the District to provide an environment that maximizes academic achievement and personal growth. The District recognizes that alcohol and other drug use or abuse pose a significant threat to the health, safety, and well-being of users and the people around them. Substance abuse also interferes with academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular interests and can lead to health, personal, social, economic, and legal problems.
Alcohol and drug abuse, addiction, and dependency, are behavioral/medical problems. Because the District's primary intent is to be helpful, not punitive, programs have been developed to deter alcohol and other drug abuse. First, education is provided about alcohol and other drug-related hazards and associated problems. Second, a program of assistance and referral is available to aid individuals who are experiencing alcohol and other drug-related problems. And, third, disciplinary procedures are applied to uphold the District policy regarding alcohol and other drug use.
In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, students and employees of the Coast Community College District are notified of the standards, possible sanctions, and health risks associated with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as the programs available to students, staff, and faculty.
Related Board Policies and Administrative Regulations are available here:
For violations of these standards of conduct, the College will impose disciplinary sanctions on students up to and including expulsion, and on employees up to including termination of employment, in addition to possible referral for prosecution, pursuant to law, District policies and regulations, and applicable collective bargaining agreements.
Standards of Conduct for Students & Employees
The District shall be free from all unlawful drugs and from the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs by students and employees.
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited on District property; during District-sponsored field trips, activities, or workshops; and in any facility or vehicle operated by the District.
The possession, sale, or furnishing of alcohol on campus is governed by California state law and this Policy. The possession, sale, consumption or furnishing of alcohol is controlled by the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control.
However, the enforcement of alcohol laws on college premises is the primary responsibility of the Campus Public Safety Department. Each college within the District and the District Office have been designated "Drug free," and only under certain circumstances is the consumption of alcohol permitted.
It is unlawful to sell, furnish or provide alcohol to a person under the age of 21. The possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 years of age in a public place or a place open to the public is illegal. It is also a violation of this policy for anyone to consume of possess alcohol at any District facility without prior District approval.
Organizations or groups violating alcohol or substance policies or laws may be subject to sanctions by the District.
In addition to this policy, AP 5500 Student Code of Conduct (which applies to all District students) clearly prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol or illicit drugs on District property or as part of any District or College activity.
The Federal Controlled Substance Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 et seq, proscribes federal penalties and sanctions for illegal trafficking and possession of a controlled substance.
Federal law has set 21 as the minimum age to purchase or possess any alcoholic beverages. Specific ordinances regarding violations of alcohol laws, including driving while intoxicated, are available from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). State laws pertaining to the possession, use and distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs are available in the California Health & Safety Code (California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Health & Safety Code §§ 11000 et seq) and the California Business and Professions Code. A summary of pertinent laws and associated penalties/sanctions is included in AP 3550.
The following are criminal penalties for unlawful possession of controlled substances:
- Under California state law, possession of any amount of certain controlled substances is punishable by up to one year of incarceration in a county jail, pursuant to Sections 11054 and 11350 of the
Health & Safety Code. Unlawful possession of marijuana or cannabis is punishable based upon the amount involved, ranging up to a fine of $500 and six months of incarceration in a county jail, pursuant to Section 11357 of the
Health & Safety Code.
- Under federal law, possession of a "controlled substance" is punishable of up to three years imprisonment, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 802 and 844(a).
The following are criminal penalties for unlawful distribution of controlled substances:
- Under California law, the sale of, or purchase with the intent to sell, certain controlled substances is punishable by up to four years of incarceration, pursuant to Section 11351 of the
Health & Safety Code. The sale of, or purchase with the intent to sell, marijuana, is punishable by a term of imprisonment in a county jail of up to three years, pursuant to Section 11359 of the
Health & Safety Code and Section 1170(h) of the
- Under federal law, the penalties for unlawful distribution of controlled substances is complex. Please view the
summary of penalties.
Distribution of Policy
This policy is intended to comply with the minimum requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 for all colleges in the District. The District distributes annually to each student and each employee the information required by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and complies with other requirements of the Act.
Review of Policy
The District will perform a biennial review of its alcohol and drug prevention program and retain the records of that review in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education requirements.
For More Information
For more information concerning this policy, contact the Vice President of Student Services Office,