Avoid Alcohol and Drug Temptations

Peer pressure is everywhere, and if you're not disciplined and grounded enough, you can easily begin to find excuses to party with drugs and alcohol every night. If you already have issues with addiction or destructive behavior, you'll soon be on a downward spiral that'll be difficult to stop.

Without passing judgment on the advisability of the use of alcohol and drugs in general, keep in mind that if you abuse either one, you can become a safety concern and a burden on your friends and roommates.

You should never allow yourself to lose such control of your faculties that you must rely on others for your safety. Do it once, and — assuming that no one dies or is seriously injured — it might be passed off as a funny memory of an indiscretion you got away with. Do it repeatedly, and you'll be viewed as a true pain in the butt. (If you do find yourself in this position more than once, you may want to ask yourself if you might have a substance abuse problem.)

"Mixed" drinks

It might be flattering and romantic for someone to get your drink for you, but don't accept drinks from strangers, and don't assume the bartender is beyond reproach. Someone could easily slip a date-rape drug into it that is tasteless, odorless, colorless, and fast-acting. You could end up acting uninhibited, incapable of clear judgment, passing out, or worse.

Here are some pointers for keeping safe:

  • Don't leave your drink (of any sort) unattended while you dance or go to the bathroom. This leaves an opportunity for someone to tamper with your drink. Take your drink with you or leave it with someone you trust.
  • Don't drink from common sources. Pitchers, punchbowls, Jell-O shots . . . who knows what they contain? Be extremely vigilant when consuming from these sources.
  • Take rumors and gossip to heart. If you hear rumor or gossip that drinks at a certain club or party may be tainted, take these rumors seriously and don't go or leave immediately. Remember that these drugs are virtually undetectable, and you may not know you've been affected until it's too late.

Use the buddy system

Like it or not, bad things do happen at college parties, particularly when experienced upperclassmen, inexperienced underclassmen, and drugs and alcohol mix. So if you go to a party with friends or roommates, keep an eye out for each other. Talk to each other and reach an agreement before you go out about the rules of the road: Do all of you go home together at a certain time? Do you wait for each other? Do you have a special code to express things like "I like this person," or "This person scares me — get me outta here."? Whatever the code, your buddies must be trustworthy and your agreement firm. Remember, if you're looking for romance and considering ditching your friends, anyone who is worth kissing will still want to kiss you when you're both sober.

Whatever your choices about drugs and alcohol, remember that not everyone is looking out for your best interests. Trouble can be found around every corner, and it takes only one mistake to cancel out a lifetime of hard work and promise.