Close up photo of clovers.

Planning to attend a St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend? Check out these tips to help keep yourself and your friends safe.

1. Set a limit before you go out

Alcohol and other substances can affect people differently. This means that your tolerance and limits may look different from those around you. Before you go out, set a limit that feels right for you. Enlist a friend or two to help keep you accountable. It’s also important to remember that you can go at your own pace, regardless of what others are doing.

2. Stay hydrated

Try to eat a snack or meal and drink plenty of water before you start drinking. Staying hydrated throughout the day or night can help you avoid becoming over-intoxicated and suffering from hangovers in the morning. Try switching between water and alcoholic drinks. You can also bring a snack or pick up takeout on your way home if you get hungry.

3. Be aware of overdose risks

Avoid mixing drugs with alcohol, including prescription medications. This can increase your risk of an accidental overdose. It can also increase your chances of passing out, blacking out, feeling sick and doing something you 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.

Be 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 your no

If you’re done drinking or want to leave a party, here are some strategies you can use:

  • Consider filling 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. Help prevent 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, we have the opportunity to look out for our friends, speak up about sketchy behaviors and situations and take steps to create a safer community. 

Learn how you can prevent sexual assault

6. Call for help

Drinking too much and experimenting with substances can lead to alcohol poisoning or overdoses. Be prepared to call for help if you 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 the 911 Good Samaritan Law

Support resources

Collegiate Recovery Community (CUCRC)

The CUCRC provides support meetings, recovery-focused housing, events, 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. 

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

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

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.