University of Florida | GatorWell Health Promotion Services - Health Topic

Alcohol and Other Drugs

The transition to college life comes with all sorts of challenges. In addition to going to class and making the grade, going out, meeting new people, and making important decisions are all part of the college experience. Drinking alcohol may at times be part of this experience.

Alcohol and Excessive Drinking

Excessive or underage drinking can contribute to hangovers, missing class, throwing up, headaches, spending excess money, unplanned/unprotected sexual activity, fighting, injuries, and drunk driving - just to list a few. 

Standard Drink Size





What is binge drinking?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines high-risk drinking (also called binge drinking) as:

  • 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period for men; and
  • 4 or more alcohol drinks in a two-hour period for women.




Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time raises your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) quickly and dramatically increases the chances of experiencing serious consequences.

National data shows that annually:

  • 1,825 college students deaths are attributable to alcohol;
  • 25% of college student dropouts are because of alcohol-related issues;
  • 590,000 college students are accidentally injured while under the influence of alcohol.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Know the different levels of “drunk”
Alcohol consumption has different effects on the body depending on the size, weight, and sex of a person as well as the amount of alcohol consumed in a given time period.

Aware Alive Awake Intoxication Chart

Know the signs of alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning signs include:

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms

Take Action

Consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal. If you choose to drink alcohol, there are several ways to stay safe and minimize negative consequences.

Help someone with alcohol poisoning

When you see someone exhibiting signs, call 911 immediately. If they are passed out/unresponsive and won’t wake up, use the BACCHUS Maneuver:

BACCHUS Maneuver


Educate yourself on alcohol. These sites provide risk assessments, information and tips for quitting or reducing use.

Want to know more about the consequences of high-risk drinking? Check out:

Medical Amnesty Policy

Students’ health and safety is UF’s No. 1 priority. 

If you suspect alcohol poisoning or have concerns about an alcohol-related injury, it is important to seek immediate medical help. Some students may be hesitant to seek medical attention for fear that police may be contacted. It is crucial to be safe. 

In April 2011, UF implemented the Medical Amnesty Policy to help ensure all students call for medical help for themselves or friends during alcohol, drug or other health emergencies. UF’s MAP waives student disciplinary action under certain conditions. 

Check out the most frequently asked questions  about the policy. 

You can also request hard copies of the Medical Amnesty Policy or alcohol materials for use or distribution on campus.

Always look out for one another and call 911 when someone needs help. You can save a life.


Some facts about cannabis (pot, weed, hashish, ganja, grass):

  • Heavy cannabis smoking (more than 50 times) doubles one’s risk of developing lung cancer.1
  • Recent research is finding that long-term, regular use (at least 4 times a week) of marijuana can alter brain development, particularly in parts of the brain related to decision making.2
  • Some states have legalized medicinal use of cannabis for individuals who struggle to manage negative symptoms of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. At this time, the state of Florida does not recognize legal use of medical cannabis.
  • According to the University of Florida’s regulations, “use, possession, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of marijuana, heroin, narcotics, or any other controlled substance which is prohibited by law.” Also, “possession of drug paraphernalia including but not limited to bongs or glass pipes” is prohibited.

1 Callagran RC, Allebeck P, & Sidorchuk A. (2013). Marijuana use and risk of lung cancer: a 40-year cohort study. Cancer Causes Control, 24.

2 Filby FM, Aslan S, Calhoun VD, Spence JS, Damaraju E, Caprihan A, and Segall J. (2014). Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain. PNAS, 111 (47). 

Other Drugs

Other drugs that you should be aware of and avoid:

  • MDMA: Known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly,” MDMA is a psychoactive drug that produces increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and time/sensory distortions. MDMA increases neurotransmitter activity and can cause a depletion of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. This depletion can cause confusion, sleep problems, drug craving, and anxiety. Heavy use has been associated with long lasting confusion, depression, sleep abnormalities, and attention/memory problems.
  • Synthetic Marijuana: Can also be known as “Spice,” “K2,” and many other names, this is in reference to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that are intended to mimic the experience felt when using marijuana. It is marketed as a “safe” alternative, but it is actually dangerous and unregulated. Some abusers of this drug have experienced rapid heart rate, vomiting, confusion, and has been associated with heart attacks. Since there is no documented medical benefit and the chemicals in these mixtures have a high potential for abuse, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has found synthetic marijuana illegal to use, sell, or posses.

Take Action

The University of Florida offers support and education for students on campus through the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC), located at 3190 Radio Road, provides services such as counseling, support groups, and campus recovery communities.


Learn more about the health effects of drug use - including marijuana, prescription medications misuse, club drugs, and designer drugs.

Tailgate Safety Basics

Gooooo Gators! We all want to have a great day on Game Day, and these tips will help you have a fun and FANtastic experience!

  • Stay in groups with people you know
  • Stay in high-traffic, visible areas
  • Be respectful of others, and practice good sportsmanship

Party Safety Basics

Party Positive! It means making decisions around alcohol that maximize positive social outcomes and reduce negative consequences. The best way to do this is to stay in the green zone by keeping your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below .06. Beyond .06, people are more likely to experience the negative, depressant effects of alcohol and become sloppy - and nobody likes a sloppy Gator!

Tailgate Safety: Take Action

Write down emergency contact numbers, and keep them on you at all times. If you or anyone else needs immediate assistance, notify the nearest Game Day staff member. You can also text “Gators” along with your issue to 69050. In case of emergency, you may use any blue phone call box around campus. Calls go directly to the UF Campus Police, or dial 352-392-1111. 

Game Day grub is easy with a little planning. Check out our food and grilling safety tips, but remember:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and if you drink alcohol, rehydrate with water between alcoholic beverages
  • If you’re thirsty, it means you are already dehydrated
  • Keep recipes simple, and try to incorporate foods that do not spoil quickly with healthy options. These are some fun recipes and game day food prep tips to make your tailgate a fulfilling event:
    • Hungry Gator Cookbook! You can also pick up a free hard copy at the GatorWell main office! 
    • Snack Recipes including easy bean dip, sweet potato oven fries and kabobs
    • Meal Recipes such as pita pizza and ‘gator bait’ turkey burgers
    • Punch recipes with all types of fruits: watermelon, apple, raspberry and lemon

The Florida heat is intense, and weather can be quite unpredictable. Here are some tips for staying safe and hydrated in the sun!


Party Safety: Take Action

If you choose to drink, here are some quick tips for keeping your experience positive:

  • Track the number of standard drinks you consume.
  • Alternate every alcohol drink with water or another non-alcohol beverage.
  • Preset your limit before you go out. Stick to it!
  • Pace yourself. One drink per hour is a good, general guide.
  • Eat something high in protein before you drink. Try to snack throughout, too. – preferably non-salty snacks high in protein.
  • Designate a non-drinking driver.

Tailgate Safety Resources

Here are some links and useful information to help you be prepared for that next Game Day win!


Party Safety Resources

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning

Party Safety

Party Safety

Alcohol-Free Tailgate

Alcohol-Free Tailgate

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