Alcohol and drugs are extremely relevant in today’s college atmosphere. The decision to use drugs, legal such as alcohol or illegal such as marijuana, cocaine or ecstasy, is a personal choice and should not be taken lightly. The Fraternity Standards, federal, state, and local laws as well as health and safety issues should all be considered before the choice is made. The right to abstain from alcohol or drug use is a choice that everyone has, including you.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) two out of five college aged students have reportedly engaged in binge drinking activities at least once in the past two weeks. The NIAAA also estimates that 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes. Furthermore, about four in five of all college aged students drink.

The misuse or abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs causes many health concerns; therefore, alcohol or drugs should never be used to relax, deal with depression or “de-stress”, nor should the same go for the intent of any social activity. Alcohol and drugs are very addictive; can cause impairment of ability and judgment causing accidents; heart, liver and brain damage. Long-term abuse, accidents or overdose could result in a coma and/or death. Should anyone choose to drink, the choice should be done so responsibly.

People abuse drugs for a variety of reasons. The most common being the psychoactive (mind-altering) properties of the drugs. Peer pressure to experiment, enjoyment from taking the drug or the belief that drugs can solve their problems is several other reasons why people use drugs. A chemical dependency is a realistic possibility with individuals who use drugs or alcohol. There are several symptoms of chemical dependency that are focused around the compulsions to use drugs and alcohol. Compulsions are evident in behavior that is inappropriate, unpredictable, constant and excessive (i.e. drinking before an 8:00 a.m. class).

The four phases of substance abuse are listed below for your information:

  1. Experimentation. Experiences the effects of transferring from normal to euphoric feelings.
  2. Compulsion. Growing anticipation of effects; preoccupied with experiencing effects; desires regular use; develops tolerance (requires more of a drug to obtain the same level of effect).
  3. Delusions. Experiences depressions after euphoria; rationalizes all negative behavior and feelings; experiences blackouts.
  4. Dependency. Uses chemicals to feel normal. Reality is distorted to the extent that continual use is required to cope with day-to-day living.

Drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent throughout society, thus it is important to understand how to help someone who is experiencing substance abuse. In an ideal situation, no chapter member or guest of the chapter will have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse. Ultimately, intervention is a strong, reliable method for initiating treatment. Should you or other chapter members experience an individual who abuses substances, it is recommended you help that person seek professional help through the University, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Helping the Intoxicated

In the unfortunate chance someone has consumed too many drinks, it is important that the chapter be prepared to handle the intoxicated individual. The tips below are from The Gordie Center, which creates and distributes evidence-based educational programs and materials to reduce hazardous drinking and promote peer intervention.

Basic Principles

  • If you have any doubt about an intoxicated person’s safety, you need to err on the side of caution and call 911.
  • If you are also intoxicated, enlist the help of a sober friend because your decision-making may be impacted.
  • Remember, an intoxicated person is not rational. Alcohol has impacted judgment - you cannot reason with someone who is intoxicated.
  • Avoid being confrontational or aggressive. Joking, kidding, bargaining, and enlisting the help of friends can be more effective. Try to stay calm and quiet.
  • If the intoxicated person becomes violent or uncooperative, your first priority is your own safety and the safety of those around you. Call for assistance, up to and including the police.
  • An intoxicated person who is staggering, vomiting, or passing/passed out may need emergency care. Try to get the individual to a safe, comfortable place such as a bed, and follow the guidelines listed below:

  • Guidelines for Immediate Care

  • Once you are able to help an intoxicated person to a safe place to rest, place him or her in the proper position by using the Bacchus Maneuver. The Bacchus Maneuver placement helps prevent an intoxicated person from aspirating should he or she vomit while passed out.
  • Once you are confident that the intoxicated person is protected from injury, keep him or her still and comfortable.
  • Stay with the intoxicated person, monitoring him or her every 10-15 minutes for any symptom of alcohol overdose (PUBS):
  • Puking while passed out
  • Unresponsive to pinching or shaking
  • Breathing is slow, shallow, or absent
  • Skin is blue, cold, or clammy
  • If you see even one symptom of alcohol overdose at any time, call 911 immediately.
  • BAC can continue to rise even after alcohol intake stops. Never leave an intoxicated person alone to sleep it off.
  • If you or another sober friend cannot stay with the intoxicated person and monitor for the signs of overdose every 10-15 minutes, or if you feel uncomfortable with that responsibility, call 911.
  • Do not administer anything orally (food, coffee, water, etc.), which can induce vomiting and pose a choking hazard.
  • Do not give the intoxicated person a cold shower. The shock could cause the intoxicated person to pass out and be injured.
  • Do not try to exercise the intoxicated person, as this could cause falls and injuries.
  • Do not try to restrain the intoxicated person, including placing a backpack on the intoxicated person.

  • In the unfortunate chance that someone has consumed too many drinks, it is important that the chapter be prepared to handle the intoxicated individual. The only way to sober up, is time, however; by offering food, water and a chance to rest could help the individual sober up. When a person passes out, you should monitor his or her breathing to make sure it is normal. Should the individual’s breathing be irregular and has purplish skin tone, try to wake him or her gently. If there happens to be no response, call for emergency medical attention immediately. If there is a listless and sleepy response, put the person on their side to avoid choking should vomiting become an issue. Make sure the individual is comfortable and maintains a regular breathing pattern. Whatever you do, do not leave the person alone. Be sure to have someone monitor the individual until they sober up. If the intoxicated person is in a room on the second or third floor, be sure all windows are closed and locked.

    Obtaining Medical Assistance

    Never let the fear of legal consequences prevent you from calling 911 or taking an intoxicated person to the emergency room. Many states have Medical Amnesty laws that provide limited legal immunity for seeking help for yourself or someone else who is in need of immediate medical attention. In addition, the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) established a standard that all member organizations maintain a Good Samaritan policy. As a result, the delegates of the 2018 Convention passed the adoption of a Good Samaritan Position. Make yourself aware of your state's medical amnesty policy, as well as the policy on your campus.
  • Call 911 and identify yourself to the 911 operator. State your problem and what you feel you need.
  • Give the specific location of the incident and the phone number.
  • Stay with the intoxicated person until help arrives. Have someone else meet the emergency personnel outside and guide them to location.

  • For more resources about intervention and knowing the signs of overdose, take a look at the Gordie Center. For more information about alcohol and drug abuse prevention in general, check out the Fraternity Health & Safety Initiative (FHSI) website.

    If your chapter is struggling with negative cultures surrounding alcohol and drugs, reach out to your chapter consultant or our Director of Health & Safety Kim Novak at knovak@pikes.org.

    Jarrett M. Way

    Director of Educational Content & Strategy