Use caution

Use caution

Booze, liquor, alcohol. Whatever you call it, it’s all the same.
And during college is when many people begin experimenting with
alcohol. Parties and going out to bars can be fun, but there are
some things you should know about alcohol before you decide to hit
the town.
Booze, liquor, alcohol. Whatever you call it, it’s all the same. And during college is when many people begin experimenting with alcohol. Parties and going out to bars can be fun, but there are some things you should know about alcohol before you decide to hit the town. If you do decide to drink while in college, be smart about it by following our tips and being educated about the ramifications your experience with alcohol may have.

How to recognize alcohol poisoning and dependence

Alcohol can be dangerous. Binge drinking or alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol poisoning. Dependence on alcohol, or alcoholism, is a chronic disease where your body is dependent upon alcohol; it can be treated but not cured.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), alcohol abuse meets one of the following criteria, over the course of a year: role impairment (failing work and home obligations), hazardous use (driving under the influence), legal problems or social/interpersonal problems as a result of use.

Signs of alcohol poisoning:

– Irregular breathing

– Low body temperature

– Seizures

– Vomiting

– Passing out

– Pale skin

If you think you are suffering from alcohol poisoning or see that a friend is, call 911 and get help immediately. Even if you are under age, some colleges have Good Samaritan policies. Don’t be afraid to do the right thing; your friend’s life might depend on it.

Alcohol dependence, according to the DSM, meets at least three of the following criteria, over the period of a year: increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, drinking more than intended, failed attempts to cut down on drinking, excessive time related to alcohol (getting drunk, hangover), impaired activities or use despite physical or psychological consequences.

Signs of alcohol dependence:

– Drinking alone or in secret

– Not being able to limit alcohol intake

– Losing interest in activities

– Blacking out

– Physical withdrawal symptoms (shaking, sweating)

– Keeping alcohol in unlikely places (car, bathroom)

– Drinking to feel normal

If you or a friend is dependent on alcohol, find out where Alcoholics Anonymous meets in your area and go to meetings. You also can call The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). If your dependence on alcohol is full-blown, rehab may be the best way to treat it. Do not be ashamed in seeking help for your addiction.


Parties are a common part of college life. Follow these tips to keep you safe when you are going to the next college party.

– Don’t go out alone; go out with friends.

– Get your own drinks; you shouldn’t drink anything when you don’t know where it came from.

– Don’t set your drink down and if you do, get a new one. Someone could have slipped something into it while you weren’t looking.

– Set a fixed number of drinks you plan to have that night and stick to it.

– Know the game plan for the night; make sure you have somewhere to stay if you have too much to drink.

– Keep a local cab company’s number in your phone and cash in your pocket in case you need a ride home that night.

– Keep an eye out for your friends. If you think your friend has had too much, make sure he or she doesn’t accept more drinks.

– Don’t take part in drinking contests.

– Drink slowly; pace yourself.

– Don’t mix alcohol with any other drugs, including prescription medications.

– Eat before you drink.

– Drink water in between alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol and social networking

One way we let the world know these days that we had a great night last night is through our social networks. We join Facebook groups called “Alcohol!” along with 53,000 other members, or take quizzes like “What alcoholic drink are you?” We even mock other people’s sloppy nights by reading “Texts From Last Night.” But what does this mix of alcohol and social networking mean for our generation? In many ways, we have yet to see the backlash.

It is true, companies do look on a potential employee’s Facebook page. If they see a photo of you drinking from a beer bong, you probably just lost any chance of them taking you seriously. University staff and student organizations, like sororities or sports teams, also use these sites to see what their students are up to; if there is an incriminating photo or wall post by you, then you could face the consequences.

Moreover, privacy settings often can be misleading. “Friends of friends” can still view your profile, and there is always the potential that things you post now may be dug up years later. For example, did you know that the Library of Congress has digitally archived every public tweet since Twitter’s birth?

Another danger to blending alcohol and social networks is that predators can acquaint themselves with your whereabouts. If someone sees your status “out for a night on the town with the roomies,” they instantly know your home is empty and a prime target for burglary. Or, if you post an update that you’re going to “so-and-so’s party,” an ill-intentioned acquaintance may show up there, waiting to see if you get drunk enough so they can take advantage of you.

With the very real potential that not-so-flattering facts and photos of our youth will surface when our generation is running for political office or vying for a job promotion, we should all be aware of the online trail we’re leaving behind in our college days.

School/legal consequences

It is often too easy to become overly comfortable inside your campus bubble. But just because you feel insulated from the “real world,” that doesn’t mean you are immune from “real world” consequences, including those related to underage drinking – on or off campus.

First, be familiar with your university alcohol policy. Every college differs in the severity of repercussions, but every one will take disciplinary action. This may include parental notification, community service, alcohol-education classes, probation and, in more serious circumstances, exclusion from areas of campus, suspension or expulsion.

It also is important to remember that you are subject to state laws too. In more extreme situations, local police will become involved in an alcohol misconduct case and you could face legal consequences.

Finally, consider that most universities have a Good Samaritan provision, which means that no student who seeks or assists another student in getting medical attention for severe intoxication will be subject to serious disciplinary action. Be careful though, this does not exempt you from facing basic repercussions, such as alcohol class and counseling. There often is a hefty hospital fee, too.

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