Photo of a field of clovers.

While we expect our students to follow applicable laws and policies related to alcohol and other drugs, we understand that some students may still choose to drink or use substances.

Here are some tips you can share with your student to keep them safe at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

1. Set a limit before going out

Alcohol and other substances can affect people differently. This means that your student’s tolerance and limits may look different from those around them. Encourage your student to set a limit for themselves before they go out. It may also be helpful for them to enlist a friend to help keep them accountable. Remind them to go at their own pace, regardless of what others are doing.

2. Stay hydrated

If your student may choose to drink this weekend, remind them to eat a snack or meal and drink water before they start. It’s also important to stay hydrated throughout the day/night. Encourage your student to switch off between water and alcoholic drinks. They can also bring a snack or pick up takeout on your way if they get hungry.

3. Be aware of overdose risks

Encourage your student to avoid mixing drugs with alcohol, including prescription medications. This can increase their risk of an accidental overdose. It can also increase their chances of passing out, blacking out, feeling sick and doing something they may regret later.

Fentanyl information

Fentanyl, an opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin, is common in counterfeit pills circulating Boulder County, including Oxy (M30s) and Xanax.

Make sure your student is prepared to respond to potential overdoses by keeping naloxone on hand. Naloxone is an FDA-approved nasal spray that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Free naloxone is available anonymously on the third floor of Wardenburg Health Center. Students living in residence halls can also order a free Safer Night Out Buff Box that will be delivered directly to their hall.

4. Know their no

If your student finds themselves facing peer pressure or uncomfortable situations at a party, help them identify and know their no. Here are some strategies they can use:

  • Fill your cup with water to avoid unwanted refills. 
  • Let your friends know that you’re ready to leave. Ask if they’d be okay making sure you make it home safely.
  • If someone at a party is making you feel uncomfortable, enlist the help of your friends to get out of sketchy situations.
  • Keep track of how many drinks you have had based on standard serving sizes (1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer each count as one drink).
  • Avoid drinking premixed beverages. Instead, opt for drinks that are unopened. Never leave your drink unattended.

5. Preventing sexual assault

The reality is that the majority of sexual assaults are carried out by people we know: friends, acquaintances, classmates, co-workers, partners, exes, neighbors or someone a person may have met online or at a party. As Buffs, our students have the opportunity to look out for their friends, speak up about sketchy behaviors and situations and take steps to create a safer community. 

Learn strategies for preventing sexual assault

6. Call for help

Drinking too much and experimenting with substances can lead to alcohol poisoning or accidental overdoses. Make sure your student is prepared to call for help if they notice someone who is:

  • Passed out or unresponsive
  • Breathing slowly or not at all
  • Vomiting while passed out
  • Pooping or peeing involuntarily
  • Pale, bluish, cool or clammy
  • Making gurgling, wheezing or snoring sounds

CU Boulder and Colorado Police have policies in place that can protect students from sanctions when they call 911 in an alcohol- or drug-related emergency.

Learn about the CU Boulder Amnesty Policy    Learn about Colorado's 911 Good Samaritan Law

Connect with resources

Student Support and Case Management (SSCM)

If you are concerned about a student, SSCM can initiate a wellness check and provide individualized support. SSCM case managers connect students with campus partners, community resources and support systems, while also building a trusting relationship.

How to refer a student to SSCM:

Collegiate Recovery Community (CUCRC)

The CUCRC provides support meetings, recovery-focused housing, events and activities, peer support and more for students in recovery or interested in pursuing recovery from drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, self-harm, other addictions and unwanted behaviors. 

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

CAPS provides a number of services related to substance use, including:

  • Substance use assessments
  • Brief individual therapy
  • Support for concerned friends and family members
  • Referrals to recovery and other community resources
  • Suboxone treatment

 Confidential resource

Office of Victim Assistance (OVA)

OVA provides free and confidential information, consultation, support, advocacy and short-term, trauma-focused counseling services for students, grad students, faculty and staff who have experienced a traumatic, disturbing or life-disruptive event, including sexual assault and harassment.

​ Confidential resource

Alcohol and Drug Workshops

Health and Wellness Services offers a variety of classes, workshops and presentations available to support students as they reflect on their relationship with alcohol and other substance use. 

Sexual assault workshops

The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) provides free, discussion-based sessions where participants explore what ideas and messages influence our sexual decisions and communication. They’ll discuss consent, pleasure, the impact of alcohol on sex, and sexual assault.

Follow @CUHealthyBuffs on social for more tips, events and activites.