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Alcohol & Other Drugs
Making decisions about alcohol and other drugs is something we are all faced with at some point in our lives. For many, these choices first happen once we get to college. The Health & Wellness Hub is here to aid you as you find yourself faced with these decisions.
We suggest that you take our Online Alcohol Education to gain more information about alcohol. Don't worry, it's not graded. This tool is open to everyone (families: that means you can take them, too) and it will only take about 15 minutes to complete.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. What major should I pick? How do I avoid that extra 15lbs everyone talks about? Should I try to meet new people or just stick with the friends I have from high school? What about alcohol? Is it really that big of a deal?
Safety & Low Risk Use
Okay, first things first: what does alcohol do when I put it in my body? Knowing how alcohol works will help you stay in control and avoid negative consequences. It all can be summarized through 0-1-2-3:
0- Understand when not to drink. This includes times like if you have a test or project coming up, if you plan to drive after drinking, if you haven't eaten first, etc.
1- Limit yourself to no more than one drink per hour. The body takes just over one hour to process one drink. Drinking faster than this will means dealing with more negative consequences.
2- Keep drinking down to no more than two times per week. The body needs 2-3 days, once sober again, to recover from drinking. Spacing out the nights you drink will help your body stay healthy. It's also going to help your memory which means you'll do better in class.
3- Slow and steady wins the race- no more than three drinks a night. I'm not going to lie, drinking more than this just isn't fun. Puking, blacking out, getting into fights, hangovers... Yuck!
Does Everyone Drink?
Have you seen the movie Animal House? Have you watched MTV's Jersey Shore? Do you think those people actually do more than go out every night, drink until they're super drunk, fight, and sleep with people? Social Media does a really good job of making us think that this is all that they do. They make us believe that in order to be sexy, desirable, fun, and to truly experience college life you must drink, drink often, and drink in large quantities. But this is not what actually happens in college.
Did you know 9 out of 10 UND students said they do NOT need to have alcohol to have a good time? In fact, 1 in 3 UND students (any age) state that they do not drink at all.
Medical Amnesty Act
If you think you or someone else might need help because of drinking too much, call for help!
"An individual under twenty-one years of age is immune from criminal prosecution under [the North Dakota Century Code] if that individual contacted law enforcement or emergency medical services and reported that another individual under twenty-one years of age was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, provided assistance to the individual in need of medical assistance until assistance arrived and remained on the scene, or was the individual in need of medical assistance and cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene. The maximum number of individuals that may be immune for any one occurrence is five individuals" (North Dakota Century Code Section 5-01-08)
Many people think it is okay to just sleep alcohol off. This is not always true. If you or someone else is experiencing alcohol poisoning, getting help may mean saving a life. Below are the signs of alcohol overdose; if you or someone else has ANY of these symptoms, seek help IMMEDIATELY.
Person has slow or irregular breaths:
Less than 8 times per minute or
More than 10 seconds in between breaths
Person is passed out and cannot be awakened.
Person is vomiting and does not wake up.
Person has cold, clammy, or bluish skin color.
Weed, pot, reefer, grass, dope, maryjane, hash, blunt.... Marijuana. Its names are many and so are the myths related to it: Marijuana is harmless... Marijuana isn't addictive... Driving high is safer than driving drunk. The truth is, marijuana can cause major problems.
Making decisions about drugs (including alcohol) is something we all are faced with at some point in our life. For many, these choices first happen once we get to college. We want you to be educated about the realities of marijuana use, especially the consequences. As you are faced with these choices, we encourage you to consider that UND has a no tolerance policy for drug use, especially within our Residence Halls. Remember, the Health & Wellness Hub is here to aid you as you navigate these tricky decisions.
What You Should Know About Marijuana
So what is marijuana, really? Marijuana is the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Cannabis sativa plant. THC (delta 9 tetrhydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient in marijuana; in other words, it's the ingredient that causes changes in your body which make you feel differently than how you feel when sober. The levels of THC can vary greatly depending upon the form of marijuana. THC levels can range from 1% all the way up to 50%. The more THC, the stronger the side effects.
How is marijuana used? Marijuana is usually smoked, however it can also be eaten in food. It is important to know that THC (the active ingredient) can remain in the lungs and brain tissue for up to 3 weeks. So just because you haven't used marijuana in a few days doesn't mean that you will be in the clear if given a drug test.
Facts About Marijuana
FACT: Marijuana can cause major health, safety, social, and learning problems (not to mention the legal consequences!). Many believe that marijuana is not only harmless but that it has medical benefits. To date, there is no medical research that proves marijuana has any health benefits.
FACT: Marijuana can lower your IQ score (roughly 8 points, on average). This is especially true for if you began using marijuana in your teens. What about people who start using marijuana at age 18 or older? You are still very likely to lower your IQ score.
FACT: Marijuana is addictive. In the past, it was thought that marijuana was a "safe" or non-addictive drug. More and more studies are finding that marijuana has addictive properties. Both animal and human studies show physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms:
- Intense dreams
Question: If marijuana is addictive, does that mean I could build a tolerance to it like I can with alcohol? Absolutely! Much like a tolerance to alcohol, you can also build a tolerance to marijuana. To have a tolerance means it takes more (even 8 times more) of the drug to feel the effects of the drug. Some may think, 'Okay, cool! It just means I can do more of it!' This might be true however tolerance is one step away from addiction, or having a compulsive need for the substance. By no means is tolerance a good thing!!
FACT: Smoking ONE marijuana joint has the same effects on a person's lungs as smoking 16 tobacco cigarettes. If you have heard that smoking marijuana isn't as bad as smoking tobacco, it was just a myth. In case that alone isn't enough, marijuana has 3-5 times more tar, carbon monoxide, and cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco.
FACT: The chance of a car crash doubles while driving under the influence of marijuana. It is not true that driving under the influence of marijuana is safe, or that it is safer than driving drunk. Marijuana affects concentration, perception, coordination, reaction time, and alertness- all of which are essential skills for safe driving. Remember how long it takes to get THC out of your system? It can be weeks! Your driving can easily be impaired even 12-24 hours after you used marijuana.
FACT: At high doses, marijuana can cause psychosis (the loss of contact with reality) which usually includes delusions (false beliefs about what is taking place or who you are) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't really there). Those who start using marijuana at a young age (teens or younger) are more likely to experience schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
Short-Term Effects of Using Marijuana
Short term effects associated with smoking marijuana include:
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Visible signs of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes and puffy eyelids
- Impaired short-term memory
- Difficulty thinking and problem solving
- Anxiety attacks or feelings of paranoia
- Impaired muscle coordination and judgment
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Dangerous impairment of driving skills. Studies show that it impairs braking time, attention to traffic signals, and other driving behaviors. This impairment can last 12 to 24 hours due to accumulation of marijuana in fatty tissue.
- Cardiac problems for people with heart disease or high blood pressure, because marijuana increases the heart rate
Long term effects associated with smoking marijuana:
- Memory and learning
- Research shows that regular marijuana use compromises the ability to learn and to remember information by impairing the ability to focus, sustain, and shift attention. One study also found that long-term use reduces the ability to organize and integrate complex information.
- In addition, marijuana impairs short-term memory and decreases motivation to accomplish tasks, even after the high is over. In one study, even small doses impaired the ability to recall words from a list seen 20 minutes earlier.
- Mental Illness
- Marijuana use is associated with increased prevalence of depression, schizophrenia and psychosis. It remains unclear whether marijuana triggers the onset of these illnesses only in vulnerable people or whether it can cause them in people who would not have developed them otherwise.
- Long-term marijuana use suppresses the production of hormones that help regulate the reproductive system. For men, this can cause decreased sperm counts and sperm motility and heavy users can experience erectile dysfunction. Women may experience irregular periods from heavy marijuana use. These problems would most likely result in a decreased ability to conceive but not lead to complete infertility.
How Many Students at UND Use Marijuana?
With marijuana in the news regularly, 'legal' in some states, and a lot of talk about medical marijuana, what's the deal? How many UND students actually use marijuana? Actually 88.9% of UND students do not use marijuana. UND students use marijuana less than college students other schools in the U.S. Actually less students at UND use marijuana than college students at other North Dakota schools.
UND has a zero-tolerance policy for drug use, especially within our Residence Halls. If you are found with marijuana in the residence halls, you will be evicted immediately and parental notification will occur. In accordance with a 1998 amendment to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, UND may notify parents or guardians of students who, at the time of disclosure, are under the age of 21 and have violated any federal, state, or local laws, or violated any rule or policy of the institution governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance. Parental notification will be made for any drug offense.
See UND Code of Student Life for specifics.
Legal Consequences of Marijuana Use
In addition to disciplinary consequences at UND, marijuana is illegal and its possession, use, and sale carry prison sentences and fines. Furthermore, conviction of a drug-related offense can brand you with a criminal record for the rest of your life! You will also lose your financial aid (first offense- one year, second offense- three years, third offense- indefinitely).
The State of North Dakota has adopted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act which makes it "unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance [...]" (North Dakota Century Code Section 19-03.1).
Legal penalties for alcohol offenses range:
- A Class B misdemeanor may result in 30 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine.
- A Class A misdemeanor may result in one year in jail and/or $2,000 fine.
For drug offenses, an individual will be charged according to the amount and classification of the controlled substance. Charges range from a Class B Misdemeanor to a Class A Felony, which carries with it a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000.
What Are the Health Consequences of Marijuana Use?
The health consequences of marijuana use are many. We encourage you to consider these short-term effects and how they might impact your academic success.
Impaired short-term memory
- When your short-term memory is impaired, it is going to be much more difficult for you to remember the information you learned in class when, later on, you're back home working on your homework. And, if your short-term memory is impaired it will be more difficult to make long term memories, which means that final exam is going to be a real pain!
Difficulty thinking and problem solving
- One of the major things we are supposed to learn while at college is how to think critically. For this reason, our classes are designed in a way that will challenge us to think about and solve problems in ways we have never experienced before. Doing this without any drugs is hard enough, but when you add marijuana, it becomes much much more difficult!
Anxiety attacks or feelings of paranoia
- Some think that marijuana helps anxiety, but it actually causes more anxiety and can even lead to feelings of paranoia. Paranoia is a more severe form of anxiety, to the point of irrationality and even delusion. Ever feel nervous before a big test? Or when trying to write a paper you're struggling with? Marijuana can magnify those nerves and sense of anxiousness, even to the point of being unable to complete that text or paper.
Impaired muscle coordination and judgment
- We use our muscle coordination and judgment in nearly every task we do. Putting on a pair of pants, writing a text message, deciding if there is enough time between cars to cross the road... When our muscle coordination and judgment are impaired, we can literally find ourselves in situations that are life and death without realizing it.
Increased susceptibility to infections
- On that first day of class each semester, when we receive our syllabi for the semester, one thing that you'll notice is that there isn't any room for sick days. Being around so many people all of the time (especially if you share a room or apartment with others) means that we are more likely to spread illnesses to one another. Using marijuana weakens our immune system making it more likely to get the nasty cold going around, the flu, and any number of even worse illnesses. Being sick more often usually means missing more class. Missing enough classes can easily lead to failing the class.
- Dry mouth and eyes, increased heart rate, visible signs of intoxication, etc.
- For more information about the health risks of marijuana we suggest that you visit the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) website: www.NIH.gov
Campus Resources for Alcohol & Other Drugs
Health & Wellness Hub
The Health & Wellness Hub has a variety of resource materials, handouts, display boards, and Peer Educator staff to help guide students, families, and staff through questions, choices, and issues regarding alcohol and other drugs.
Peer Educators are UND students who are committed to a campus social environment that provides low-risk choices for students and promotes and reflects the attitudes, behaviors and values of a healthy lifestyle. The Peer Educators are trained to facilitate on-campus workshops about alcohol and other drugs. They also conduct one-to-one assessments of personal alcohol use, implement preventative and alternative programs, conduct media campaigns, and disseminate information on a wide variety of health topics.
Student Health Services
Student Health Services is here for you not just for the common cold, they want to talk to you about alcohol & other drug use too. They provide information on alcohol and other substance use to students in conjunction with clinic visits, when appropriate. Students are screened for high risk alcohol use as a part of their men's or women's health exam and referrals are made to the University Counseling Center and other appropriate providers when further assessment, counseling, or treatment is needed or requested.
Sometimes a physician is who we trust most. Don't be afraid to set up an appointment at Student Health Services to talk about alcohol and other drug use. They are happy to help and are trained specifically in the health needs of college students.
For more information about Student Health Services, visit their webpage: UND.edu/health
University Counseling Center
The University Counseling Center provides professional counseling in a warm, welcoming environment and serves as the primary resource for issues and concerns related to alcohol and other drug use. The University Counseling Center staff are available to consult with students, faculty, and staff, providing a full range of services. Some of their resources include: staff addiction counselors available for alcohol and other drug evaluations or assessments, a resource library, online assessment, Student Chemical Assessment Review Program (SCARP)- including a chapter specific to Greek Life –and group therapy sessions. The group therapy sessions are composed of a volunteer group of students who abstain from alcohol (Been There/Done That) and marijuana (Changing the Routine) use, respectively.
You don't have to be "crazy" to go talk to someone; actually one in three UND students use the University Counseling Center.
For more information about the University Counseling Center, visit their webpage: UND.edu/counseling-center
Residence Services plays an active role in promoting health and well being, including educating the campus community about the dangers and consequences of high risk alcohol and other substance use and abuse. Residence Life staff partner with other campus entities to enforce campus policies and assist students in accessing services that will help them to be successful. All Residence Life staff are trained to work with substance use/abuse issues and other concerns impacting academic success.
Residence Life staff- your RA, hall director, and so on, are great go-to people if you have questions or concerns about alcohol or other drugs. They can help you navigate tough choices and get you connected with resources and alternatives to substance abuse. They also live where you live, right in the residence halls, so they are easy to get a hold of and know what it is like to live in the same environment you are living in.
Living Learning Communities
Residence Services have developed a few Living Learning Communities within the residence halls as a means to promote healthy decision making, leading to greater academic and personal success. As a members of a Living Learning community (also called Wellness Wings), students have the opportunity to develop healthy practices, and incorporate the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, intellectual, physical, occupational, environmental, social, and spiritual. Financial wellness, an area that has also been recognized as a component of balance and success, is folded into the Living Learning Community as well. Students participating in the program sign a contract promising not to abuse alcohol and other drugs, creating a supportive community in healthy decision making.
For more information about our Living Learning Communities, please visit their webpage: http://und.edu/student-life/housing/residence-halls/living-learning.cfm
University Police Department
The University Police Department takes pride in their relationship with campus organizations and students. The University Police Department is willing to go into residence halls, classrooms, Greek Houses, and many other venues, to talk about the dangers of alcohol, the consequences (not only criminally if underage or while driving, but to your future), as well as answer any questions you may have. Through their involvement with campus initiatives, the University Police Department demonstrates a true commitment and proactive mindset while dealing with alcohol and substance issues on UND's campus.
Dean of Students: CARE Team
The CARE Team
A network of campus colleagues, the CARE Team is operated through the Dean of Students Office. Members are available to assist with emergencies involving UND students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Crisis situations include major accidents, missing students, sickness that interferes with attending classes, death, suicidal ideation, situations involving self-harm, psychological trauma and sexual violence.
Contacting the CARE Team
- Weekdays between 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Call the Dean of Students Office at (701) 777-2664.
- During weekends, evenings, or University holidays: Call (701) 777-3491. Your call may be answered through the Grand Forks County law enforcement dispatch desk. Please advise the officer you wish to speak to a UND CARE Team member.
What can you expect?
- When a CARE Team member is contacted about a student's well-being, that student will be contacted by a Dean of Students or University Housing staff member.
- ALTRU hospital typically contacts a Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) volunteer when the emergency room staff suspect violence, including sexual violence.
- When UND staff have information about a student who is under the age of 21 having a medical emergency, including an overdose of alcohol or other drugs, the parent(s) will be called.
More information and additional resources are available on the UND CARE Team webpage.
Parents LEAD (Listen, Educate, Ask, Discuss)
Alcohol use and underage drinking in North Dakota is a serious subject many parents often worry about. Parents LEAD (Listen, Educate, Ask, Discuss) is a program designed to help parents talk to their children about underage drinking. As a parent, talking to your child about certain subjects can be difficult, but it's not impossible. That's why the Parents LEAD website was created; to get parents talking about these subjects and to assist you in helping your kids make the right decision when it comes to alcohol use, underage drinking, driving after alcohol or drug use, or riding in a vehicle with someone who has consumed alcohol or drugs. As parents we ask ourselves, "How do I start talking to my kids about alcohol use?" Parents LEAD includes tips for starting the conversation, handling questions from children and suggestions for effective prevention measures at each developmental stage.