Substance Use and Abuse

Alcohol and drug use continue to be a problem for college students. Shifting attitudes and beliefs about what constitutes use and abuse also impact the issue. Emerging problems like prescription drug abuse and synthetic drugs require students and the people that help them to be vigilant in keeping themselves informed about the latest issues. If you find yourself or someone you know using or abusing drugs or alcohol, then please get help from the South Dakota Mines counseling department. 

Alcohol Use

Alcohol can become an addiction that can ruin a person's relationships, health, and possibly even lead to death. The counseling staff at South Dakota Mines works with students to ensure that if they drink, they engage in legal and responsible alcohol use. The counseling staff is available to discuss with students problems that they might have or friends they are concerned about. If you have any questions, then please contact the counseling staff.  (See Counseling Home Page)

South Dakota Mines Programs
Alcohol Education Information

Alcohol & Drug Information

Local Substance Abuse Help

Behavior Management Systems
City/County Drug and Alcohol Programs – (605) 394-6128


  • End Your Addiction Now: The Proven Nutritional Supplement Program that Can Set You Free by Charles Gant
  • The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery by Chris Prentiss
  • Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism through Nutrition by Joan Mathews Larson
  • 7 Weeks to Safe Social Drinking: How to Effectively Moderate Your Alcohol Intake by Donna J. Cornett

Marijuana:  Myths vs. Facts

  • Myth:  Marijuana is a benign drug.
    Fact: Marijuana has significant health, social, safety, learning, and legal problems.
  • Myth: Marijuana has no addictive qualities.
    Fact: The most recent research does in fact show that marijuana use can lead to dependence.
  • Myth:  Marijuana is not bad for you, like tobacco.
    Fact:  Marijuana can lead to a number of respiratory problems.
  • Myth:  It is safe to drive high, unlike drunk driving.
    Fact:  Alertness and coordination are affected by marijuana.
  • Myth: It is OK to get caught with marijuana.
    Fact:  South Dakota is a conservative state.  Marijuana is also a Schedule I controlled drug, an illegal substance in the United States.  

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic drugs are chemical products that mimic the effects of other drugs: marijuana, meth, and other illegal drugs. Because of their chemical makeup, they do not typically fall under the definition of a type 1 controlled substance. These drugs are extremely dangerous though. Many are sold with the disclaimer "not for human consumption." These substances are marketed toward youth who want a high without the legal consequences. However, they can be extremely dangerous when ingested, can still result in legal consequences and have resulted in a number of fatalities. If you are using bath salts, Kratom, K2, Spice, MDPVs, or any type of synthetic drug, then please get help. If you know someone who is using them, then please help them by making a referral to counseling services.

Did you know?

  • In February, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 23 which makes it a felony to posses synthetic cannabinoids. The bill also prohibits chemical compounds that mimic the effects of Ecstasy and methamphetamines.
  • Synthetic drugs can have long-term effects even after just one use. The long-term effects of these substances have not been studied. 

False Advertising

The sellers of these drugs will try to get you to believe that there drugs are "legal." However, any substance taken with the "intent to get intoxicated" is against the law in South Dakota. The sellers of these substances thrive off of misinformation and getting around laws. Many of the chemical compounds are not illegal because the companies keep tweaking the compounds to avoid legislation. They are illegal if they are used for the purpose of getting "high." Here is an example of how these companies get around legislation: 

  • Notice that these companies say that their product is "not for human consumption" yet it is designed to give you a boost. This is just one of example of how the sellers of synthetic drugs try to get around their products being legislated against. They claim that their products are nothing more than "bath salts," but the descriptions of what the products do would suggest more.. 

Need Help?

We have a staff of counselors available to help you, anytime.

Office Phone:
Counseling Email:
Location: Surbeck Center, Main Level (across the hallway from the Dean of Students' office)   

Duane Kavanaugh
Director of Counseling
605-394-1924 or

Chelsey Groseclose
605-394-1924 or

Megan Laskowski
605-394-1924 or

Amanda Swan
Volunteer Counselor
NCC, LPC-Supervisee

Stress and Depression Screening Tool