Category Archives: Alcohol and Other Drugs

A Party & Synthetic Marijuana

For my birthday, I hosted a bonfire at my house and everyone in my high school was invited; however, I did not think many people would show up, but a lot of people ended up coming! People started drinking and smoking and basically doing things that my parents would not have liked or approved of. I didn’t know what to do at the time, so I just let the people do what they wanted and tried to enjoy myself- it was my birthday, after all.

Later on in the evening, one of my best friends was offered synthetic marijuana from another female at the party. My friend took a few puffs and reacted terribly. She began having intense anxiety and freaky hallucinations. After the high wore off, she said it was the worst feeling she had ever experiences and she thought she was going to have to go to the hospital.

Synthetic marijuana is also known as K2 and spice. It contains a variety of different chemicals which are not tested for safety. A lot of people are deceived by this drug, and are told that it is “okay to use” or, “better for the body than regular marijuana.” In actuality, the chemicals in synthetic marijuana are much worse. Health effects can include severe anxiety, nausea, increased heartbeat, seizures, and hallucinations. Like any other emergency, call 911 immediately if a friend is experiencing any of the above symptoms.

UND Students Stay with the Same Friends When They Party!

89.1% of UND students stay with their same group of friends when they party.

stay_with_friends

This is a social norm that has begun to spread across campus. If you are anything like me, your initial reaction might have been along the lines of “… Okay? …” This social norm can be a little confusing if you are not aware of what protective behaviors are related to drinking. It might seem odd that we’re telling you about students drinking, but what it is really saying is that UND students are being safe when they party!

Staying with your friends when you go out drinking is what we call a protective behavior. It’s important to always have people you know and trust around so that they can lookout for you if you ever need help, or are too drunk to recognize a dangerous situation; and you can do the same for them. Essentially, what we’re doing is using the “Buddy System.”

However, staying with your friends is not the only protective behavior out there…
There are many other actions you can take to keep yourself safe when you drink. A few of these include:

  1. Setting limits on how many drinks you will have in one evening;
  2. Limiting your drinking sessions to certain days and times;
  3. Eating before and during drinking;
  4. Avoiding risky or heavy drinking situations;
  5. Spacing out your drinks and alternating in non-alcoholic drinks; and,
  6. Making a pre-determined plan about how to get home at the end of the night that does not involve driving yourself.

These are just a few things to keep in mind the next time you go out drinking. Hopefully, this is helpful in explaining why it is good that students stay with their friends when out partying.

KNOW the facts

KNOW

What do you know about alcohol use?

Do you know what the standard drink size is for beer, hard liquor, and wine?

Can you name 3 factors that influence your Blood Alcohol Content, or 3 protective behaviors?

If these questions are difficult for you, you may not be as informed on alcohol use as you could be. What does it matter, you say? Well, Cash Cab is coming to YOU on UND’s campus, April 28th through May 2nd, and knowing facts about alcohol is the only way for you to WIN! So brush up on your knowledge of alcohol use, stop by the Health & Wellness Hub for more information on alcohol, and look for the Cash Cab golf cart driving down University for your chance to show what you KNOW!

KNOW How to Help

Many students think that partying ONLY leads to a great time. Unfortunately, sometimes people take it too far and drink way too much, which can lead to some serious issues. It is important for all of us to KNOW How to Help if a dangerous situation were to arise. Check out more information on the KNOW Campaign!

Here are some great tips for knowing how to help your buddies out when they drink.  One helpful acronym that we use to remember the signs of alcohol over dose is C.A.N.S. CANS

Now, sometimes students in North Dakota are afraid to seek medical attention for themselves or a friend if they have drank too much because they do not want to get in trouble with the law. Fortunately, North Dakota passed a law called the North Dakota Medical Amnesty Law. This law states that if you contact law enforcement or emergency services for yourself or someone else, who is underage because there is a need for medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, AND you wait for and cooperate with emergency responders, up to five people are immune from criminal prosecution in North Dakota. Although a person may not get in trouble with the law, they could get in trouble with the university if they are a student.

Last but not least, know that every minute matters. If someone needs medical attention due to alcohol overdose do not hesitate to get them help! Some important numbers to have in your phone include:

  • The ambulance, fire, and police (9-1-1)
  • The Care Team (day: 701-777-2664, night/weekend: 701-777-3491)
  • Campus Police (701-777-3491).

Keep these helpful tips in mind so that if you or a friend ever find yourself in a serious situation, you will KNOW How to Help.

What’s New with Stickman?

Holy-smokes! I never thought hosting a root-beer pong tournament in the residence halls would be so exhilarating. From set up to take down, Kelsie (an AOD peer educator) and myself saw residents of Bek Hall play, laugh, and whether they liked it or not, learn a thing or two. Before I get ahead of myself, let me take a step back for a minute. The Health & Wellness Hub is conducting outreach to provide information about low-risk drinking so students may be able to make informed, responsible decisions when it comes to alcohol.

Stickman

Our outreach program consisted of a character named “Stickman.” Party with Stickman is a comic strip with a stick figure that explains college life experiences dealing with alcohol, binge drinking, and partying. The goal of this event was to talk about the cost of partying, blood alcohol content, and protective behaviors.

After a presentation and some gasp stricken expressions, we began a root-beer pong tournament; EXCEPT, this tournament had a little twist. As soon as a cup was made players had to pour the content of the cup into a jug that measured Standard Drink Units (SDU’s) for beer (5% alcohol for every 12 ounces). By doing this, participants were able to see how much alcohol is typically consumed during ONE drinking game. Lying on the table was also a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) chart where residents of Bek Hall were able to see their potential Blood Alcohol Content per game and how that level may impair their cognitive and physical abilities.

After the tournament, residents continued to practice and play until it was time to pack up. The most fulfilling part of the night was hearing students use terms from my presentation. One student even said, “I didn’t know how much I normally drink until know- I’m definitely going to watch myself from now on.” This brought a smile to my face, as I know the goal is to inform, but I never thought changing someone’s perception would also change my own. I learned teaching others is the first step to prevention. The more we know, the better we are as a whole. We all had a blast playing pong, meeting new people, and learning some new facts about alcohol. No matter how you have a good time, it was great partying with Stickman in Bek Hall!

Sip, Swallow, and Chug: Watch what you drink on prescription drugs!

It might sound crazy to some, but in fact, a lot of a prescription drugs are affected by what you drink.  ImageAccording to the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration), “what you eat and drink can affect the way your medicines work” (fda.org).  This could mean a number of different things, from the development of a side effect previously unaffiliated with the medication or causing the medication to not work or do its job properly.  Interactions between prescription medications and food and drink are not something we usually think about.  Instead, we either only pay attention to what interactions may occur with whatever other medications and herbs we are presently taking, or we don’t think about it at all.

There are numerous dangers to mixing alcohol with prescription medications. Some of these dangers include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Memory trouble after having a drink or taking medicine
  • Loss of coordination (walking unsteadily, frequent falls)
  • Changes in sleeping habits 
  • Unexplained bruises 
  • Being unsure of yourself 
  • Irritability, sadness, depression 
  • Unexplained chronic pain
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Wanting to stay alone a lot of the time
  • Failing to bathe or keep clean
  • Having trouble finishing sentences 
  • Having trouble concentrating 
  • Difficulty staying in touch with family or friends
  • Lack of interest in usual activities (niaa.nih.gov)

What makes mixing with medications an even greater threat is that some medications already include alcohol, as much as 10% (niaaa.nih.gov). 

The below link is a guide published through the FDA that tells you prescriptions to avoid mixing with alcoholic beverages. I would encourage everyone to check it out and abide by what it has to say.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/ensuringsafeuseofmedicine/generaluseofmedicine/ucm229033.pdf

Kick the Butts’ Butt

On Wednesday, March 19th, anti-tobacco activists everywhere will be acknowledging the annual “Kick Butts Day.” Kick Butts Day is a day focused on standing up and speaking out against both tobacco use and the tobacco industry. All across the world, people will be holding all kinds of different anti-tobacco related events.  The primary goal of most of these events is to encourage current tobacco users to quit using tobacco for good. whatisincig

The benefits of quitting tobacco use are numerous, and it is important to investigate the options out there for helping you quit if you choose. Here at UND, there are plenty of resources. At the Health and Wellness Hub, located in the Memorial Union, users will find “Quit Kits” available.  Users can also check out Student Health Services to discuss the process of quitting tobacco, and perhaps get a check up to see how at risk you might be for tobacco induced health problems. Across North Dakota, the Department of Health has also established the “ND Quits” campaign.  Users interested in quitting can check out the campaign’s website or dial the toll free number to get access to free resources available for quitting.

The good news is that all across the U.S., tobacco use is decreasing. Compared to 42% of the population reporting regular tobacco use in 1965, in 2012, the percentage was reported to be 10%. (kickbuttsday.org) So, if you’re interested in quitting, please do your lungs a favor and check out these fabulous resources!

www.kickbuttsday.org (the official website for “Kick Butts Day”)

http://www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits/  (the official website for the ND Quits campaign)

1.800.784.8669 (ND Quits hotline)

701-777-2605 (UND Student Health Services)

Drunkorexia

Drunkorexia is a fairly new phenomenon where an individual limits daily calorie intake in order to be able to “drink” their calories.  Usually, this is done in an effort to drink alcohol without gaining weight. There are multiple risks associated with drunkorexia.  Drinking on an empty stomach will get you drunk faster, but this in turn reduces self-control and can lead to a night of making bad decisions.  Binge eating, however, may follow because the individual is extremely hungry and having trouble controlling urges.  Unfortunately, purging frequently follows the binge eating session. By limiting your daily calorie intake, individuals may not be getting nutrients needed to function properly during every day activities. 

If you find yourself struggling with drunkorexia, here are some helpful tips: Martini

Moderation: Eat in moderation and you will not have to worry about limiting your calories in order to enjoy a drink or two.

Limits: Set limits on how much you will drink, and keep track of how many drinks you consume throughout an evening. (As a general rule for low-risk drinking, try to keep it to no more than three drinks in one sitting).

Choices: Choose drinks with a lower calorie content. Many mixed drinks are filled with sugar and loaded with calories.There are many options for low calorie beer.

Healthy Lifestyle: Eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis are the best ways to manage weight- you do not need to deprive yourself a meal!

Support: If you find yourself struggling ask family, friends, or seek professional help.  UND offers free counseling services to students.

UND offers many resources to students beyond the University Counseling Center.  These resources include: Student Health Services, Residence Services, University Police Department, Dean of Students (CARE team).  If you would like to find out more information about these services look under the alcohol tab on the Heath & Wellness Hub homepage (http://und.edu/health-wellness/hub/alcohol.cfm).

Spring Break Survival

Spring Break Survival is an exciting event encouraging UND students to make safe, healthy, and informed decisions over Spring Break. The event will include Bear Pong (not a tHUB_SpringBreakSurvival_Screen_Portriatypo!), condom races, booths, activities, and presentations on a variety of health and wellness topics, as well as a FREE taco in a bag. The topics that will be discussed at the booths include date rape drugs, drinking games (and protective behaviors!), alternative activities to do in Grand Forks over spring break, calories in alcoholic beverages, STD’s and STI’s, sun care, and staying hydrated. Students will be given a passport when they enter the event.  Students will visit each booth and activity at Spring Break Survival, where they will receive a stamp for engaging in each activity. Once they have received a stamp from every station, they can get their free taco in a bag and be entered into a drawing for VISA gift cards!

This event is sponsored by the Health & Wellness Hub at UND. We hope to see you there!

Be sure to “like” us on Facebook to learn about more exciting Health & Wellness opportunities and events this semester

Spring Break Safety: Are You Ready?

After a long and painfully cold winter, spring break for UND students cannot come any faster! With all of the build up for a vacation from school and hopefully spending some time in the sun, how will you have fun while keeping yourself safe? For some students, taking a vacation or having a break from school might seem like the perfect time to have a few drinks, but what happens when pressure from our friends makes us feel like we should drink more? What do you do?! There are a lot of options in this situation and some things for students to be aware of.

When consuming alcohol it is important to do so responsibly, and at a pace which allows our body to process it.  Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol that is in our blood stream and can be calculated by looking at the chart below. It takes our body about 1 hour to process one standard drink [12oz beer, 5oz wine,  1.5oz hard liquor], so if you decide to drink over spring break, remember to give yourself some recovery time. Getting a good meal in beforehand and staying hydrated are also key things to remember if you are going to use alcohol.

If you are taking a vacation or plan to be around other people who are consuming alcohol that you do not know, it is especially important for you to keep yourself safe. Alcohol is the number one date rape drug, so stay in control and look out for yourself and others. More information on how to have a safe spring break and other resources are listed below.

Don’t forget to check out the Spring Break Survival event in the Memorial Union Loading Dock, Wednesday, March 12th from 6:30-9:30pm for games, food, and fun learning activities for how you can have a safe spring break!

Other Campus and Community Resources:

http://und.edu/health-wellness/

http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

http://www.cdc.gov/family/springbreak/

http://www.safespringbreak.org/safety-tips/

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