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Aspire to Be Well for Undergraduate Students

Alcohol and Other Drugs

For information specific to graduate students, please visit Aspire to Be Well for Graduate Students: Alcohol and Other Drugs.

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  • Fast Stats

    Remember, not everyone drinks. Specifically, 68 percent of incoming Clemson University freshmen students in 2013 did not drink (2013 Alcohol Edu, Clemson University).

    In addition, 42 percent of Clemson first-year students reported not drinking in the past 30 days in their second semester at Clemson (2014 Core).

    They may not drink because they are not 21 years of age, health concerns, or personal and cultural values and beliefs. There are many ways to have fun and socialize at Clemson University.

    Stats from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

    Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.

    Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.

    Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

    Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.

    Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.

    It’s not just alcohol but drugs too. Only 21.7 percent of Clemson students reported they are current users of an illegal drug in the past year (including marijuana), but 44.9 percent of students believe the average student on this campus uses some form of illegal drug at least once a week (2014 Core).

  • BAC Level/Point of Diminishing Return

    Although alcohol can create a relaxed and “up” feeling, many students incorrectly assume the more alcohol they consume, the better they will feel, when it is actually just the opposite. The effect is known as the point of diminishing return.

    When you pass a 0.06 BAC level, negative effects begin. These symptoms include fatigue, impaired sexual performance, inappropriate social behavior and over-expressed emotions (Adapted from University of Rochester).

    BAC Level/Point of Diminishing Return

  • Alcohol Poisoning

    Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions.

    It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication.

    You should also know that a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by sleeping it off.

    Critical symptoms of alcohol poisoning are listed below:

    -Mental confusion, stupor, coma or person cannot be roused



    -Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)

    -Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)

    -Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

    What to do if you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning:

    -Know the danger signals.

    -Do not wait for all symptoms to be present.

    -Be aware that a person who has passed out may die.

    -If there is any suspicion of an alcohol overdose, call 911 for help. Don't try to guess the level of drunkenness.

    Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency. Our first priority is the safety of our students. If you think a friend might have alcohol poisoning, please get help. The Clemson University Police Department (864-656-2222) or 911 are the quickest resources to help a friend in need.

    The information above is from For more information on alcohol poisoning, visit

    Alcohol and Other Drug Resources

    BAC Calculator

  • Medical Alcohol Amnesty Policy

    Make no mistake about it: alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency. Our first priority is the safety of our students. If you think a friend might have alcohol poisoning, please get help. The Clemson University Police Department (864-656-2222) or 911 are the quickest resources to help a friend in need.

    Clemson University has a Medical Alcohol Amnesty Policy (MAAP) that provides amnesty for students who need medical attention as well as the students who make the call for help. Those students who utilize MAAP will be contacted by someone from the Dean of Students Office to ensure that they have the resources they need in order to be a successful Clemson student.

    Clemson also has a CARE Network in place to help students experiencing difficulties. If you feel a friend has a problem with drugs or alcohol and it is not an emergency, you can submit a CARE report or contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 864-656-2451. These and other resources are available on the go in the Safety section of the my.Clemson app.

    Remember: Dont worry about the consequences of helping someone. Were all Clemson Tigers. Look out for one another.

    Alcohol and Other Drug Resources

    BAC Calculator

    Office of Community and Ethical Standards

  • Drug Use and Dangers of Unregulated Drugs

    Make sure to read the labels on medication because of the potential for dangerous interactions. If you are taking medication, even cold or allergy medication, it is important to understand how long it can stay in your system.

    One example that you might not even realize is between acetaminophen (Tylenol) and alcohol. Both are processed through your liver, and if you decide to take this type of pain reliever for an ache or injury and then consume alcohol, your liver is now working overtime to process both substances.

    Dangers of Unregulated Drugs

    Many drugs are not regulated by the FDA, and therefore, there is no way to know what is actually in them. Your friend may take the drug and be fine, but you can take it and have a very different reaction. Realize the life threatening danger before you take drugs, especially unregulated ones. Remember, if you do not know what is in it or the concentration, neither will the emergency medical personnel.

  • Prescription Drug Abuse

    Prescription drug abuse is the use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor, such as for the feelings you get from the drug.

    The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are: opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin; stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta or Ritalin; and central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax. The most commonly abused over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan.

    People often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed and for the purpose intended. When abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and put abusers at risk for other adverse health effects, including overdose—especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol.

    The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For more information on prescription drug abuse, visit

  • Amphetamines

    Street Names: addy, speed, uppers

    Stimulant medications, including amphetamines (e.g., Adderall) and methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin and Concerta), are often prescribed to treat children, adolescents or adults diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
    Do Prescription Stimulants Make You Smarter?
    A growing number of teenagers and young adults are abusing prescription stimulants to boost their study performance in an effort to improve their grades in school, and there is a widespread belief that these drugs can improve a person’s ability to learn (“cognitive enhancement”).
    Prescription stimulants do promote wakefulness, but studies have found that they do not enhance learning or thinking ability when taken by people who do not actually have ADHD. Also, research has shown that students who abuse prescription stimulants actually have lower GPAs in high school and college than those who don’t.
    Stimulants can increase blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature and decrease sleep and appetite. When they are abused, they can lead to malnutrition and its consequences. Repeated abuse of stimulants can lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia. At high doses, they can lead to serious cardiovascular complications, including stroke.

    The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For more information on amphetamines, visit

  • Depressants

    Street Names: downers, heroine, hillybilly, oxy  
    Opioid pain relievers, such as OxyContin, attach to the same cell receptors targeted by illegal opioids like heroin. Prescription depressants produce sedating or calming effects in the same manner as the club drugs Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and rohypnol.  When taken in very high doses, dextromethorphan acts on the same cell receptors as PCP or ketamine, producing similar out-of-body experiences.
    Opioids can produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and—depending upon the amount taken—depress breathing. The latter effect makes opioids particularly dangerous, especially when they are snorted or injected or combined with other drugs or alcohol. More people die from overdoses of prescription opioids than from all other drugs combined, including heroin and cocaine.
    Central nervous system depressants slow down brain activity and can cause sleepiness and loss of coordination. Continued use can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms if discontinuing use.
    Dextromethorphan can cause impaired motor function, numbness, nausea or vomiting, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. On rare occasions, hypoxic brain damage—caused by severe respiratory depression and a lack of oxygen to the brain—has occurred due to the combination of dextromethorphan with decongestants often found in the medication.

    The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For more information on depressants, visit

  • Club Drugs

    Street Names:  crank, crystal meth, forget me pill, kit kat, liquid e, liquid x, liquid ecstasy, lollipops, meth, molly, poppers, roach, roches, roofie, special k, speed, super speed, vitamin k, xtc
    Club drugs are a pharmacologically heterogeneous group of psychoactive drugs that tend to be abused by teens and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts and parties. Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, ketamine, as well as MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamine are some of the drugs included in this group.
    GHB and Rohypnol are available in odorless, colorless and tasteless forms that are frequently combined with alcohol and other beverages. Both drugs have been used to commit sexual assaults (also known as “date rape,” “drug rape,” “acquaintance rape,” or “drug-assisted” assault) due to their ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, preventing them from resisting sexual assault.
    Uncertainties about the sources, chemicals and possible contaminants used to manufacture many club drugs make it extremely difficult to determine toxicity and associated medical consequences. Nonetheless, we do know the following: 

    -Coma and seizures can occur following use of GHB. Combined use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties.

    -Rohypnol may be lethal when mixed with alcohol and/or other central nervous system depressants.

    -Ketamine, in high doses, can cause impaired motor function, high blood pressure and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

     The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For more information on club drugs, visit

  • Cocaine

    Street Names:  blow, c, coke, crack, lady, nose candy, snow
    Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils and increases body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.
    Most seriously, people who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping (cardiac arrest) followed by an arrest of breathing.
    Cocaine is more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol (poly-drug use). For example, the combination of cocaine and heroin (known as a “speedball”), carries a particularly high risk of fatal overdose.

    The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For more information on cocaine, visit

  • Hallucinogens

    Street Names:  acid, angel dust, mushrooms, sherm, shrooms
    Importantly, and unlike most other drugs, the effects of hallucinogens are highly variable and unreliable, producing different effects in different people at different times. This is mainly due to the significant variations in amount and composition of active compounds, particularly in the hallucinogens derived from plants and mushrooms. Because of their unpredictable nature, the use of hallucinogens can be particularly dangerous.

    LSD: The effects of LSD depend largely on the amount taken. LSD causes dilated pupils, can raise body temperature and increase heart rate and blood pressure, and can cause profuse sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors.

    Peyote: Its effects can be similar to those of LSD, including increased body temperature and heart rate, uncoordinated movements (ataxia), profound sweating and flushing.

    Psilocybin: It can produce muscle relaxation or weakness, ataxia, excessive pupil dilation, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Individuals who abuse psilocybin mushrooms also risk poisoning if one of many existing varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom.

    PCP: At low-to-moderate doses, physiological effects of PCP include a slight increase in breathing rate and a pronounced rise in blood pressure and pulse rate. Breathing becomes shallow; flushing and profuse sweating, generalized numbness of the extremities and loss of muscular coordination may occur. At high doses, blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration drop. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling, loss of balance and dizziness. PCP abusers are often brought to emergency rooms because of overdose or because of the drug’s severe untoward psychological effects. While intoxicated, PCP abusers may become violent or suicidal and are therefore dangerous to themselves and others. High doses of PCP can also cause seizures, coma and death (though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). Because PCP can also have sedative effects, interactions with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can also lead to coma.

    The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For more information on hallucinogens, visit

  • Marijuana

    Street Names:  dope, ganja, grass, herb, mary jane, pot, reefer, weed, 420
    Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. After a period of decline in the last decade, its use has been increasing among young people since 2007, corresponding to a diminishing perception of the drug’s risks that may be associated with increased public debate over the drug’s legal status.
    Marijuana also affects brain development, and when it is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent. A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed substantially reduced connectivity among brain areas responsible for learning and memory. A large long-term study in New Zealand showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost an average of eight points in IQ between age 13 and age 38. Importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not fully restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.
    Associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents and personality disturbances, including a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities. More research is still needed to confirm and better understand these linkages.

    The information above is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For more information on marijuana, visit

  • How to Get Help


Mental Health  Alcohol and Other Drugs  Interpersonal Violence

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