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 is a drinkable substance that has ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and typically produced by fermenting grains and fruits. Alcohol acts as a depressant, meaning that it can suppress or slow down parts of the brain that control important bodily functions, such as breathing.
Your body, particularly your liver, can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a given time. Your liver can process one standard drink, which is a unit of measurement used to define how much “pure” alcohol is in a beverage, per hour. 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.
High-risk drinking, also known as “binge drinking,” is defined as 4 or more drinks for women or 5 or more drinks for men in about a 2 hour time span. This type of drinking greatly increases the risk of alcohol poisoning, car crashes, drunk driving arrests, sexual assault, and injuries.
National data shows that annually:
• 1,825 college students deaths are attributable to alcohol;
• 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking such as missing class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades;
• 696,000 college students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
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. The chart below gives a general description of what happens to your body when you reach a certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
|0.04%||Relaxation continues; Buzz develops|
|0.06%||Cognitive judgment is impaired|
|0.08%||Nausea can appear; Motor coordination is impaired|
|0.10%||Clear deterioration in cognitive judgment and motor coordination|
|0.15% – 0.25%||Blackouts|
|0.25% – 0.35%||Pass out; Lose consciousness; Risk of death|
|0.40% – 0.45%||Lethal dose|
Know the signs of alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning signs include:
Reduce Your Risk
Consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal. If you choose to drink alcohol, there are several ways to minimize negative consequences.
• Plan your night out
• Know your limit: Set a drink limit and stick to that number
• Eat before and while drinking
• Pace yourself at 1 drink per hour, or space it out further
• Sip your drink
• Keep track of how much you consume
• Avoid excessive drinking or binge drinking
• Avoid shots and drinking games
• Respect a person’s decision not to drink
• Drink water/non-alcoholic beverages between alcoholic ones
• Beware of unfamiliar drinks
• Limit drinking on a hot day
• Figure out your ride home before you go out
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 Recovery Maneuver:
Help someone seek substance abuse services for alcohol misuse/abuse
The UF Counseling and Wellness Center provides individual and group services for students wanting to stop or cut back on their alcohol use.
Educate yourself on alcohol. These sites provide risk assessments, information, and tips for quitting or reducing use.
eCheckup – Alcohol
Drink size calculator
Drink tracker cards
What is your pattern?
How to go out and get back safely
NIAAA Rethinking Drinking
Standard drink sizes
Explore the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s Virtual Bar
Information about alcohol and energy drinks and their associated consequences
Alcohol and You: An Interactive Body
Interactive tools and worksheets to evaluate alcohol use
Medical Amnesty Policy
Students’ health and safety is UF’s top 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 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.
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 and Party Safety
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
- DRINK RESPONSIBLY
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!
- Know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning
- Have a BAC calculator app at hand, or know the alcohol content in different types of drinks and sizes
- First aid locations in the stadium are:
- South End Zone: 2nd level concourse behind Section 53
- North End Zone: Centrally located on each level
- Skyboxes: South end of Evans Champions Club (5th floor)
- East Stands: Lower concourse between Gates 13 and 14
- West Stands: 2 stations, lower concourse outside Gate 2 and outside Gate 3
- UF Game Day prohibited items and behaviors
- UF Game Day FAQ
- Laws on and off campus
- Parking and transportation tips
Party Safety Resources
- Nervous about an upcoming party? See our party goers tips covering etiquette and drinking. Our party safety tips cover what to do when you’re at the party and how to be aware. We also have some tips for hosts and hostesses.
- If you choose to drink while you party, learn how to party safely with this quick video from GatorWell and Off Campus Life!