Frequently Asked Questions

How private and confidential is ADCAS?

  • ADCAS is committed to student privacy and is required by law to maintain the privacy of the health information students provide.
  • At the Intake/Information Session, students will receive a description of ADCAS privacy practices and their rights to access and control private information.
  • To assist students in fulfilling their mandated sanctions, ADCAS automatically informs the referral source that the student either did or did not complete their ADCAS requirements.

Will my private responses on the assessment be given to my Resident Director, WWU, the Court, or my parents?

No. Your responses are part of your protected personal health information. Your completion or failure to complete the entire ADCAS process is the only information released to Residence Life, WWU, or the Court. If you choose to give additional information to the referral source or your parents, you must sign a consent for release of specific information. Note: If your health and safety is in jeopardy because of alcohol or other drug use, professionals at Western have the option of notifying parents and/or guardians on a case-by-case basis.

Will the referral to ADCAS go on my academic transcript?

No. ADCAS services are not a part of your WWU academic transcript. Information about your referral can be released only with your signed consent. However, if you fail to complete a referral made by a WWU official to ADCAS, the University Judicial Officer and/or the Residence Life Judicial Officer have the option of putting a hold on your registration.

Once I finish ADCAS services, am I done with required activity?

Yes. But remember ADCAS professionals have the option of requiring your attendance at additional individual or group sessions. ADCAS is part of Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services, and ADCAS professionals may recommend that you see other health and/or counseling professionals.

What can I expect from an individual ADCAS session?

ADCAS provides confidential and comprehensive risk reduction focused assessment of individual patterns of alcohol and drug use, consequences, and potential risks. Our nonjudgmental, personalized feedback is designed to assist individual students reduce risks related to their drinking and drug use patterns. Through ADCAS, Western students gain personal skills and access to free information and resource materials on a wide variety of topics relating to alcohol and other drugs, such as:

  • Moderation strategies
  • If you drink, critical safety information to know
  • Interaction of alcohol with other drugs
  • Personal risk factors for alcohol or drug problems
  • WWU alcohol and drug policy
  • Legal risks associated with alcohol and other drug use
  • How to talk to a friend or roommate about your concern regarding their alcohol and/or drug use.

What can I expect from a group ADCAS session?

The ADCAS Group I Alcohol Risk Reduction Group is a 50-minute group session facilitated by Peer Health Educators. It focuses on reducing risks associated with alcohol consumption. This interactive session allows students to discuss WWU norms, what is one drink, serving size and alcohol percentage for a variety of alcohol beverages, cautions about shot glasses, keg cups and other containers, and alcohol and the body—basic physiology of the process of alcohol through the body.

The ADCAS Group II Alcohol Risk Reduction Group is a 90-minute group session facilitated by Peer Health Educators. Group II includes a review of individualized personal feedback profiles from an online alcohol and drug assessment and a discussion of alcohol effects, the biphasic effect of alcohol, blood alcohol levels (BAL), gender differences, changing effects of alcohol over time, tolerance, expectation and other factors that influence drinking, student perceptions of other students' behaviors, moderation skills to minimize unwanted and unintended outcomes of drinking, alcohol and other drug interactions, legal issues, and safety information.

What practical information will I take away from my contact with ADCAS?

ADCAS clients receive a wealth of practical information about alcohol and other drugs, including:

  • Why knowing this information is important whether or not you choose to drink
  • Moderation strategies
  • How much alcohol is in one serving
  • How to read a BAC (blood alcohol content) chart
  • How much alcohol a shot glass and a keg cup really hold
  • How alcohol affects the body
  • How to recognize an alcohol emergency and what to do

Can Western faculty and staff use ADCAS?

Yes. Brief consultation sessions are available for Western faculty and staff to discuss concerns about situations in the office or classroom involving alcohol or other drugs. Professional staff can provide resources, suggestions for intervention approaches, and options for the next step. Western faculty and staff can utilize the confidentiality of ADCAS to process their own feelings and reactions to these situations.

Is it possible to bring ADCAS services to my classroom/office?

Yes. Workshops can be arranged for classes or faculty/staff groups covering various aspects of alcohol and other drug use, and related issues. Call 360.650.3642 or email pws@wwu.edu to discuss topics for presentation and informational materials. Faculty and staff can also arrange for ADCAS staff to meet with a student at their office.

What are some of the negative effects of alcohol and other drug use?

Alcohol and other drugs can have many effects on your behavior and your ability to make decisions. As a result, drinking heavily can compromise your personal safety by:

  • Putting you at increased risk for unwanted and unintended experiences
  • Slowing your reactions to potentially risky situations
  • Disabling your sound judgment
  • Making you less aware of your surroundings
  • Making it hard for you to recognize someone else's level of intoxication
  • Inhibiting your ability to communicate what you do and don't want
  • Limit your ability to practice safer sex

What are the signs of an alcohol or drug emergency?

If you witness the following signs of an alcohol or drug emergency, act quickly and call 911 for help:

  • Unconscious and/or unresponsive
  • Any trouble breathing
  • Disorientation or stupor
  • Panic
  • Unable to stand/walk without help
  • Bluish and/or cold to the touch
  • Vomiting blood
  • Vomiting related to drug ingestion
  • Any injury + intoxication
  • Convulsions

What do I do if I witness an alcohol emergency?

Call 911. Act quickly.

Care for the person until help arrives. This may be the greatest thing you ever do in the name of friendship. For safety, check the following:

  • Airway: Is it clear?
  • Breathing: Is it shallow or labored?
  • Consciousness: Is the person conscious?
  • Initiate CPR as needed
  • Try to wake the person and turn them on their side with one arm under their head, face tilted toward the floor (if they vomit, turning them on their side decreases the risk of their airway being blocked)
  • Try to find out what they have taken, how much, and when
  • Reduce stimuli; create a quiet, safe place
  • Try to keep them calm and conscious
  • Stay with them

What can I do to be a moderate drinker?

If you choose to drink alcohol, here are some tips to maintain moderation:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Set a reasonable limit and stick to it.
  • Think quality, not quantity, and keep track.
  • Slow down-it isn't a race.
  • Remember that it takes about 20 minutes to feel the effects of a single drink. Sip your drinks and make them last.
  • Drink water between alcohol drinks to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Eat before you drink alcohol.
  • Check your mood-alcohol intensifies it! (Best to pass on the alcohol if you are upset, angry, sad, depressed, or anxious)
  • Measuring is smart! Know how much alcohol is in your drink.
  • If you choose to drink away from home, have a designated driver.
  • Everyone chooses not to drink alcohol sometimes; abstaining for the evening is always an option.

How does alcohol affect sexual experiences?

  • Alcohol can inhibit your ability to communicate what you do and don't want and it can limit your ability to practice safer sex.
  • When asked about their experiences involving sex and alcohol, Western students said that their best experiences occurred when they and their partners drank little or no alcohol. Their worst experiences involved more than moderate drinking.
  • Drunk sex is NEVER consensual sex. Respect yourself and your partner.
Page Updated 01.22.2014