In college, you may find yourself in situations where you will be making decisions about drinking and smoking — at parties, on dates, in your room. It is best to make careful, thoughtful decisions about alcohol, tobacco, and other substances before you drink for the first time, or before you have your first drink at a party or an event.
Most Tulane students make smart decisions about their health when it comes to substance use. Many students on our campus choose not to drink, or if they do, drink responsibly and in moderation.
Choosing to Consume Alcohol ▾
If you choose to consume alcohol, drink slowly to reduce the negative consequences. Here are some strategies other students who drink have found helpful for optimizing the positive effects of alcohol and avoiding negative consequences:
- Space and pace your drinking to about one per hour
- Decide before you go out how much you are going to drink
- Count your drinks
- Alternate between non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
- Drink for quality, not quantity
- Eat before and during drinking
- Make a decision about sex that night before you go out
- Avoid drinking games
- Avoid shots and/or mixed drinks
- Stop drinking when you feel dizzy, nauseous, or tired
- Use a designated driver, walk, or bring cab fare
HALT: When Not to Drink ▾
Most people know it is important not to drink when you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant but there are also other times when it is best to pass on alcohol. A good rule of thumb for when not to drink is "HALT." HALT stands for feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. We may know to HALT intuitively but it can be easy to forget why HALT is a good idea once the weekend comes.
- Hungry - Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to getting too drunk too quickly, so taking time to eat before drinking is a good strategy.
- Angry / Lonely - Drinking when you are feeling angry or lonely may initially seem like a good idea but as the intellectual processes in your brain are sedated by alcohol, your underlying emotions will come forward. This means that drinking when you are feeling in a good mood will generally lead to a good time but drinking when you are feeling blue will generally lead to feeling worse.
- Tired - Drinking when you are run down or tired is never a good idea. Because alcohol is a depressant, adding alcohol to an already tired body can lead to feeling too drunk and passing out.
Risk in the Mix of Drugs and Alcohol ▾
Many prescription medications require that you do not drink alcohol at all, or only very moderately. For example, some antibiotics and medications for pain (e.g., Vicodin and codeine) must never be used with alcohol. Also, clinicians recommend alcohol be used only very moderately (no more than two drinks per week), if at all, when taking anti-depressants. We recommend that you talk with your medical provider about how much and how frequently you drink so that together you can create plans for safe drinking.
Party Smart ▾
- Be safe at the next party or at the bar.
- Don't let drinking be the primary focus of the night. Do other things (board games, cards, dancing).
- Eat protein before and while you drink.
- Plan ahead what time you will leave the party/bar and where you will meet up with friends.
- Watch your drink and don't leave it unattended. Get a new drink if you set it down and walk away for a while. Don't take a drink from someone you don't know.
- Make and measure your own drinks when possible.
- Alternate alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks.
Designate a Sober Driver ▾
- Travel in pairs or groups. Don't go anywhere alone and don't leave anyone behind.
- Stop a friend from driving drunk.
- Speak up. Let your friend know you are concerned and don't want anyone to get hurt.
- Take your friend's keys. Stay calm; don't embarrass your friend.
- Find other ways home. Get a cab or bus, call a sober friend, walk with your friend, have a sleepover.
- Be persistent. Don't give in!
We provide a range of programs and services that address substance use among Tulane students. The aim of our substance abuse prevention programming is to increase self-protective factors and decrease negative consequences related to substance use, increase knowledge related to perceptions of substance use on campus and how they compare to actual use, and promote healthy and safe behaviors that foster overall well-being.
Build Your Toolbox
- eCHECKUP TO GO - a personalized, online program designed to provide feedback about alcohol and marijuana use and help students develop risk reduction strategies. Access the alcohol program or marijuana program available on our eHealth Tools page.
Alcohol Culture at Tulane: 10 Years of Progress
Every member of the Tulane community is expected to make responsible choices regarding alcohol and other drugs. The misuse or abuse of these substances can result in detrimental consequences for individuals and those around them. At Tulane, we expect our community members to cultivate a healthy and safe educational environment that supports each student to reach their full academic potential. Over the last 10 years, Campus Health has taken been a leading force focused on alcohol misuse and abuse prevention at Tulane.
Please review our timeline to learn more.