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Help for alcohol/drug problems available from many sources

Following the alcohol-related death of freshman Scott Krueger, MIT officials noted that the Institute offers numerous counseling and support services for members of the community affected either by this particular tragedy or by alcohol or drug-related problems in their own lives.

"We realize what an enormous blow this is to every level of this community, and we are especially aware of the shock waves now going through the student body. Sympathy and healing are called for first," said Medical Director Arnold Weinberg. "The Medical Department recognizes alcohol abuse is a problem and we endorse a proactive policy in responding to it."

"MIT has a very wide range of professionals who are prepared to counsel students. It is our hope that nobody is isolated during this difficult period. We would encourage you to speak with somebody," said Arnold Henderson Jr., associate dean and section head, Counseling and Support Services.

Dr. Weinberg and Mr. Henderson's statements supported President Charles M. Vest's 1995 policy and resource statement to the MIT community regarding prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

That document affirmed the Institute's commitment to providing services to "assist anyone who may be concerned about his or her use of drugs or alcohol. Most of these services will also assist faculty, students and employees whose concern is for a loved one or a colleague.

"Services range from self-help groups [Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon] to professional counseling, such as that offered by the Medical Department's psychiatric and social work services. Arrangements can be made for consultations, interventions, detoxification and aftercare."

The document also warned, "Timely assistance is important for those who may be abusing drugs or alcohol. The Institute urges anyone who needs assistance to seek it. Alcohol and drug abuse services are private and confidential. Delaying necessary help is invariably harmful and makes success in rehabilitation more difficult."

Miriam Rosenblum of MIT Hillel said, "For some students, especially those with religious backgrounds, seeking support from a chaplain may be a comfortable route. Each of us in the chaplaincy is available for counseling."

Campus Police Chief Anne Glavin added a note of urgency to administrators' general recommendation that members of the MIT community seek support or counseling during times of distress or crisis.

"Alcohol- or drug-related crises can occur very suddenly, and someone in distress from having had too much to drink may need custodial care. We strongly urge students to use the 100 number. We understand students may want to take care of their own, but the responsible thing to do is pick up the phone and ask for help," she said.

When anyone calls the 100 number, "we dispatch an ambulance right away. Depending on the information we get, we may also be calling paramedics. Our priority is to get the highest level of medical care out to the person in distress," said Chief Glavin.

Literature on alcohol and drugs is available from Campus Police, Health Education Services, at MedSTOP in the Student Center, and elsewhere on campus and on the Web.

Counseling and support resources for the MIT community are listed below.

Campus Offices and Services

MIT Campus Police Emergency - 100
Emergency Medical Service - x3-9751
Counseling and Support Services - x3-4861
MIT Medical Department - x3-4481
Medical Department/24 hour urgent care - x3-1311
Medical Dept./Psychiatric - x3-2916
Medical Dept./Social Work - x3-4911
Medical/Health Education Services - x3-1316
Ombudspersons: Mary Rowe, x3-5921; Clarence Williams, x3-5446
Family Resource Center - x3-1592
MIT Libraries Reserve Room (14N-132) - Addictions Awareness shelf

Student-to-student Resources

MedLINKS - x3-1316
Nightline - x3-8800
Contact Line - x3-6460

Self-Help Groups
Meetings of these groups are available on campus and in area towns

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - Meetings every Tuesday and Thursday, noon-1pm, Rm E23-364. Call Alise, x3-4911
Al-Anon* - Oct 3: Anniversary Meeting, Rm 68-180, 12-2pm. Regular meetings every Friday from noon-1pm, Rm E25-525. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend. Call Alise, x3-4911
Alcohol Support Group** - Meetings every Wednesday from 7:30-9am. Sponsored by MIT Social Work Service. Call Alise, x3-4911
Narcotics Anonymous Helpline - 884-7709

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 1, 1997.

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