As part of Community Wellness Week, Barbara Meyer, MD came to campus from Goshen Family Physicians on Oct. 25 to give a convocation called “Your Body: Your Choices.” In this presentation, Meyer covered why substance abuse is a problem, especially for college students, in terms of health, opportunities, and relationships.

Meyer said that this wasn’t just any presentation; it was one that was close to her heart and occupation.

“Your health and your happiness is part of my job,” she said.

“In the hubbub of all the educational and social and spiritual opportunities that flow through your college years, you have a lot of decisions to make,” Meyer continued.

These decisions affect students’ health and require education on the subject.

That’s where Meyer came in. As a medical expert, she gave Goshen students insight on to how substance abuse affects their lives in hopes of starting discussions and aiding decision making. She began with a scientific explanation of brains and how they work. Specifically, there are differences between a developing adolescent brain and a fully-developed adult brain and drugs like pot or alcohol affect these differently. Meyer explained that college-student brains are great for learning quickly.

“Their ability to learn, grow, and change is unsurpassed by the rest of us,” Meyer said. “The natural abilities of these brains inspire me to encourage those who are the stewards of these brains to care for them well and with wisdom.”

Meyer then went on to explain the affects, risks undertaken, and opportunities lost when a person chooses to use different substances covering drugs like nicotine, e-cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, LSD, prescription narcotics, stimulants, and heroin.

For example, she explained that alcohol is a depressant that can inhibit the ability to make good decisions and muscle motions, can cause stomach and throat irritation and is a diuretic. Some risks include the substance is highly addictive because its highly available and it’s also the most likely to kill you.

In each case Meyer pointed out that using and/or abusing these substances resulted in the loss of opportunities for relationship building, but some drugs have specific losses. Meyers made the claim that when their main social activity is drinking, people “let their creativity get dumbed-down.”

This wasn’t just a lecture for students; it was a time to discuss the matter at hand in a relevant context on GC’s campus. Gilberto Perez Jr., dean of students, shared that the college wants to start a conversation about how these substances could be being abused “in our midst.”

“As a community that is trying to live with one another in ways that are holistic, that are meaningful, that bring us together to build lifelong relationships, we think that these substances could alter the way we build those relationships for today, tomorrow and in the future,” said Perez.

He then encouraged students to reflect and discuss any concerns regarding substance abuse by Goshen students, why students should care, and what they can do if they or a friend have a substance abuse issue.

By answering why students should care, one table summed up the main takeaway of the convocation:

“Keep GC a safe community – we look out for each other”