Partying and Drinking: Staying Safe

Many college students drink (but most college students think drinking is more common on campus than it actually is) and much of the time, people drink and have fun together with no bad consequences. But, many of the serious injuries, accidents, assaults and even deaths on campus are in some way connected to alcohol.

Here are some facts:

  • About 60% of college students report that they have had a drink in the past month
  • Nearly 1/3 of college students have had a drinking binge in the last 2 weeks
  • About 1800 students die each year as a result of accidents (including car accidents) or unintentional alcohol poisoning
  • Nearly 700,000 students are involved in an assault in which someone has been drinking
  • Nearly 100,000 students are victims of a sexual assault or date rape in the context of drinking
  • 1 in 4 students report that drinking has impacted their academic performance

Students in the first 6 weeks of their freshman year are at particularly high risk for problem drinking and negative consequences from drinking.

Here are some tips for staying safe if you drink/party:

  • Much of drinking in the first weeks of school is driven by: social pressure and anxiety about being in a new situation, the desire to be liked or approved of by others, newfound freedom. Recognize that everyone is anxious and lonely at times in the first few weeks. Drinking is not necessary to deal with this. Realize that lots of students do not drink.
  • Don’t let yourself be pressured into doing things you are uncomfortable with and be cautious about parties with older students. These are often setups for younger and less experienced students to be taken advantage of.
  • If you are going to a party, it is a good idea to go with others. Agree to keep an eye out for each other and you might even work out a sign to determine when you are uncomfortable in a situation and want to leave.
  • Sometimes students who are under the legal drinking age go off campus to drink so as to avoid discipline sanctions. Recognize that if you are driving, this increases the risk of car accidents. Make sure to have a sober-designated driver if you are drinking off campus.
  • Never accept a drink from someone you do not know well that has been out of your sight. This raises the risk of the drink having been tampered with and increases your risk.
  • Never leave your friend alone if they are drunk or unable to manage safely and if they appear to be unarousable or are behaving dangerously, call the campus or local emergency services for help.
  • Many schools have “medical amnesty” policies. These policies state that if you or a friend are having an alcohol or drug related crisis and you reach out for help, even if you are under age, or have broken another campus rule, you will not be sanctioned (or sanctions will be lightened). Know your campus policy. But again, if you or a friend is in danger, call for help.
  • For more information about college and alcohol read here.
Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.