Talking with your college student about alcohol
First-year students, are at a significantly higher risk for alcohol-related problems than almost any other population.
The first few weeks while at college, students’ primary concerns are about seeking acceptance and making social connections. Many will find very healthy ways to do this such as joining student organizations. Others will resort to alcohol to break down some of their inhibitions. While students are informed of some of the physical risks associated with alcohol, very few are aware of the legal, academic, and social consequences of high risk drinking. Making poor choices regarding alcohol and drug use can negatively impact your student’s success in higher education.
Here are some suggestions for beginning a discussion about alcohol with your student:
1. Set clear and realistic expectations regarding academic performance and the use of alcohol.
2. Make sure your student knows the legal penalties for underage drinking, using a fake ID, public intoxication, and DUI. In addition, make sure your student understands the academic consequences of underage drinking and alcohol use on campus.
3. Stress to your student that drinking alcohol to the point of impairment or intoxication is dangerous.
Low Risk Drinking is:
- Thinking about whether you will drink, what you will drink before the party
- Being 21 or older
- Eating a meal before drinking
- Drinking no more than one drink per hour; maximum 1 for women, 2 for men
- Always knowing what you are drinking, who you are drinking with
- Alternating alcohol-free drinks throughout the evening
- Knowing how you will get home safely before you go out
High Risk Drinking is:
- Chugging, drinking games, shots (drinking anything out a of punch bowl, trough, hose or funnel)
- Drinking to get drunk (intoxicated)
- Driving after drinking or riding with someone under the influence
- Drinking too much, too fast
- Going to parties where people drink too much
- Not knowing what is in your glass or leaving it unattended
- Not knowing with whom you are drinking
- Mixing alcohol with medications or illegal drugs
- Underage drinking
4. Examine your own values and behavior and the messages you send regarding alcohol and other drugs. Refrain from “glorifying” alcohol related stories from your college days.
5. Encourage them to stand up for their right to a safe academic environment.
6. Encourage them to intervene when classmates or roommates are in trouble with alcohol.
7. Stay in touch.
8. Know where to go for help. If you suspect that your student is having problems, please encourage them to seek help at the following on-campus locations:
Alcohol Education/Health Promotions Office
Housing Office/Hall Director’s Office
Your student may also talk to his or her academic advisor for assistance
“The University has a responsibility to help students whenever UND personnel believe the student is in need of assistance. This responsibility extends to “notification of parents” which is permitted under 1998 Amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Therefore, parental notification may occur at the University of North Dakota after the second offense or after any serious offense where alcohol is involved, e.g. assault, DUI, destruction of property, etc.”
Source: President’s Statement on the Use of Alcohol