Miles Komuves, the coordinator of alcohol and drug education with student community ethics at Western, is making a big effort to reach out to WCU students who have alcohol and substance abuse problems.
Komuves received $8,557 from the Town of Sylva recently to enhance some of the programs that the school currently offers. Komuves and WCU’s substance abuse specialist Jane Royse-Roskowski believe that there is a gap between programs that offer valuable help for higher risk students. The university currently offers online programs such as Marijuana 101 and Under the Influence for students who are interested or need information on alcohol and substances abuse.
“These programs are a great way to provide our students with essential knowledge about alcohol and drugs. We believe that a program that allowed students to come in and talk one on one with a specialist could make a bigger impact on higher risk users,” said Komuves.
Komuves and Jane plan to create a program that would conduct motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. This would give a high-risk consumer the ability to receive direct help from a specialist and would include mechanism such as reflection, journaling, and provide more in depth information than the current programs here at Western.
“We are excited to continue building our programs here at Western. Our goal is not to force students to behave a certain way or act accordingly, but we would like to lead people who have problems in a different direction without cajoling them,” said Komuves.
Sylva’s attempts to reach out to students who have problems are certainly appreciated
by those who have been affected by alcohol.
Jared Hopkins, the vice president of SGA, said “It sounds like a great idea. After Allen Brisson’s death I hope that any student who needs help can get the right people around to help. My main concern is that the programs are effective considering the amount of money that the Town of Sylva donated.”
Some of the new plans also include providing a one-time use breathalyzer for students. The breathalyzers would allow students to test their blood alcohol level on themselves or on a friend in case a student is refusing to take responsible actions while drinking. Komuves also will be using some of the money for Alcohol Awareness Week, which is the same week as Homecoming (October 4-9).
If you know any friend or student that has an alcohol or drug problem please feel free to contact Miles at the Student Affairs Center, or you can visit Jane Royse-Roskowski at the Byrd Building on the second floor.