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Options Program

The Counseling Center’s Options Program offers assessment and feedback, individual and group education, and short-term individual and group counseling for those students seeking help for substance use related issues. Some students are required to attend the Options Program by another university department, such as the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (OSRR) or the Athletics Department. The Options Program is also a resource for those who may be seeking help for another mental health or academic concern but who have co-occurring issues related to substance use.  The Options Program does not provide evaluation or treatment services for court-ordered treatment.

Below are frequently asked questions about the Options Program. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact our Options Program Coordinator Beth Salatti at

Am I eligible for services?

All currently enrolled, full-time Syracuse University undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for services.

How do I schedule an appointment with the Options Program?

Options Program Make an Appointment

  • If you were referred to the Options Program by another university department, such as the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (OSRR), please indicate this when scheduling. A 30 minute Options Initial Consultation Appointment will be scheduled for you.

  • If you are setting up an appointment as a self-referral, you will be a scheduled for a 30 minute Initial Consultation appointment with a staff therapist to discuss your concerns and our services.

What will happen during my Options Initial Consultation Appointment

A therapist from the Options Program will conduct a full assessment including alcohol and drug use, anxiety, depression, and other mental health related issues. You should arrive at the Counseling Center 10 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete the initial paperwork. After your paperwork has been reviewed, you will meet with a therapist for approximately 30 minutes. Based on the results of this assessment, your therapist will discuss recommendations with you.  These may include further individual meetings, participating in the Options Groups, or a referral to an outside provider for a more thorough substance abuse assessment.  As with all Counseling Center Services, involvement with our Program is confidential.

If I am required to attend the Options Program, how many appointments will I have to attend?

On average, students required to participate in the Options Program attend three appointments, however, recommendations may vary based on why the student was referred to Options and what the student’s current and past substance use is. 

Recommendations may include:

  • Attending an Options Education Group 

    • The Options Education Group focuses on the impact of substance use on physiology, perception and decision making. The group also discusses the progression of use and ways to reduce the risk of substance use.

  • Engaging in individual follow-up appointment(s).

  • Attending a more comprehensive substance abuse evaluation with an off-campus treatment provider. If this recommendation is made, it is the student’s responsibility to complete any recommendation made by the provider. 

Do I have to engage in abstinence to utilize the Options Program?

Generally speaking, we employ a harm-reduction model rather than an abstinence based approach.  This means that our approach is to help student’s make informed, insightful choices regarding if, when, and how they chose to engage in substance use.  In utilizing this approach, we recognize that some students will continue to use substances, and our goal is to help them do this in a way that causes the least amount of harm to themselves and others as is possible.

For some students, particularly those with a history of significant substance abuse, an abstinence approach is more helpful, and in some cases necessary.  In such circumstances, our staff will provide recommendations that specifically support abstinence and a rationale for why these recommendations are being offered.

Does the Options Program offer drug testing?

No, the Options Program doesn’t offer drug testing.

If I was referred by OSRR, how will they know I have attended the Options Program?

At your initial appointment, you will be asked to sign a release of information allowing communication between the Options Program and the referring office. Any release of information will be fully explained to you if one is needed, but generally speaking, the purpose of this release is only to confirm your attendance at an appointment, not to share information regarding your substance use with the referring party. You have the right to decline signing any release. However, the Counseling Center will not be able to confirm your attendance without a signed release of information.

How do I find an Off-Campus Treatment Provider?

Please visit the SAMHSA treatment services locator to find an Options Program approved treatment provider.