Champlain College's Student Handbook outlines our dry-campus alcohol policy.
Alcohol and other drugs are prevalent on college campuses. Whether you are concerned about legal drugs such as alcohol, or illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or ecstasy, everyone has to make decisions about drugs. You must first realize that the decision to use alcohol or other drugs is a personal one with potentially serious legal and health consequences. It is up to you to determine if, when, and how much you drink or use. Know your limits and weaknesses and take responsibility for them. Consider your reasons for using alcohol or other drugs. Is it to feel good, or to be more socially comfortable? What are your alternatives? Which ones are healthy? Which ones carry potential judicial and legal sanctions?
Alcohol is a depressant drug that decreases body processes such as breathing, heartbeat, and brain activity. Its consumption changes behavior and judgment beginning with the first drink; those changes are progressive. The impact of any number of drinks on behavior and judgment varies for each individual and depends on social and physical factors. Social factors include mood and setting. Physical factors include:
Health effects of alcohol include hangover, dehydration, impotence, liver and brain damage; overdose or mixing with other drugs can cause respiratory failure and death.
Whether you are over or under the legal drinking age, you cannot avoid making decisions about drinking - at parties, on dates, or in your room. The consequences of making poor decisions about drinking can increase your risk of academic failure, getting a sexually transmitted infection, and being involved in sexual or physical assaults. They can also increase your risk of developing a long-term drinking problem. Careless decisions about drinking - made at the last minute or when you have already begun drinking - usually have the worst consequences. But you can make good decisions - before you drink, that will protect you and those you care about. Begin with the facts and an honest assessment of your current drinking habits ... and be a helpful and responsible host to others.
Drugs may have both short-term and long-term health effects depending on many factors such as the type and quantity of drug, how often someone uses it, the physical and emotional health of the user and combinations of drugs and/or with alcohol. Even infrequent use of drugs can result in physical problems such as hangovers, digestive problems, heart damage, decreased sexual performance, and injuries due to lack of coordination and judgment. Other possible effects include impaired performance in class and at work, relationship conflicts and financial difficulties.
Although dependence is associated with tolerance, it is not the same thing. A person who is physically dependent on a drug needs it to function "normally". When the drug is discontinued, withdrawal symptoms occur that can be both painful and even life threatening. Taking the drug again relieves these withdrawal symptoms, but only temporarily.
A person who is psychologically dependent feels he or she cannot function "normally" without the drug. While there may be no physical illness associated with quitting, there can be severe mental and emotional distress that prompts the person to continue using the drug.