Health and Wellness Education offers a variety of alcohol education options for students to reflect on the role of alcohol in their lives.
Our office recognizes that some students enter and/or depart Middlebury in recovery, strives to normalize sobriety, and seeks to provide prevention and harm reduction education for those that choose to explore how alcohol influences lifestyle.
Students can sign up for any of the offerings below any time and also may be sanctioned to attend by a conduct officer. To request a different program for yourself, your hall, organization, or team, please contact Liam Lawlor, Alcohol and Other Drug Education Specialist.
CHOICES is a single 90-minute educational group session facilitated by a provider from Health and Wellness Education. The goal of CHOICES is to create an open, nonjudgmental space to discuss safe alcohol use practices and strategies to reduce harmful alcohol use. A Health and Wellness Education office member will guide students in conversation about personal use and community norms related to alcohol. Sign up for CHOICES at go/CHOICES.
- BASICS (Brief Alcohol Assessment, Screening, and Intervention for College Students)
BASICS consists of two individual 60-minute sessions with a provider from Health and Wellness Education. The first session explores patterns of a student’s alcohol use and the second provides education about safe alcohol use and discusses strategies for risk reduction. Providers aim to provide an open, nonjudgmental environment that fosters increased personal awareness of alcohol and other substance use. Work in BASICS is private. Information may be shared with the appropriate Office of the Dean of Students staff members (e.g. a Commons dean) only when safety or a student’s well-being is of concern and will be done so with the informed participation of the student. Sign up for BASICS at go/BASICS.
- My Story (A Brief AOD Intervention)
My Story consists of up to four, individual, 60-minute sessions with a provider from Health and Wellness Education to explore your personal relationship with substance use, get individualized feedback, and learn about support services. This program is appropriate for discussion about all substances including the use of alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, psychedelics, opioids, and more. Sign up at go/mystory.
Follow these basic strategies for a safer experience:
Be an Ally
Support friends that choose not to drink in social settings. Whether you have friends that are in-season athletes, in recovery, taking a tolerance break, or just choosing not to drink for the night, be a good friend and back them up if you see them facing social pressure.
Everyone loves a good host. If providing a gathering space, make sure food and non-alcoholic drinks are available. Make them fun too! The internet is full of great ideas. Pro tip: it’s good to understand the College’s alcohol policies before agreeing to host a party.
Look out for other party-goers. Decision making becomes impaired while drinking. Step up if you see someone in a vulnerable situation!
Before Drinking Alcohol
Set a limit for the next hour, the party, and/or the whole night. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases confidence, which is why many people choose to drink alcohol at all. This combination can affect decision-making which is why setting limits ahead of time set students up for staying within their limits.
Eat a sufficient meal that contains protein. Protein helps to regulate the rate that alcohol gets absorbed into the body. When the stomach is empty, the amount of alcohol that gets immediately taken into the body through the stomach lining (while the rest waits to move along in the digestive system) increases and can cause feelings of being lightheaded or nauseous.
Have a plan for how and with whom you are getting home. Then have a backup plan ready in case your original plans don’t work. If you need transportation use a designated driver, call a taxi, take the bus, or walk with the group with whom you planned to leave.
While Drinking Alcohol
Make or bring your own drinks. When you are responsible for your own drinks you know exactly what is in them, where they came from, and how you can best pace yourself in consuming them. Sticking to one type of alcohol can help prevent exaggerated hangovers or unpleasant sickness while drinking since the sugar levels vary from beer to wine to liquor.
Enjoy your drink by going slow. Drinking fast and drinking large quantities of alcohol (as is often called for in drinking games) causes your BAC to spike, skipping happy buzzed feelings and increasing the risk of vomiting, passing out, and blacking out. Your body needs time to process alcohol, about an hour per standard drink. Avoiding front-loading can elongate the pleasurable stage of being buzzed.
Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Drinking non-alcoholic drinks can help to counteract the dehydration associated with alcohol consumption.
Keep eating. Eating while drinking alcohol can be just as important as eating before.
Avoid drinking games. Competitive drinking puts pressure on players to drink the right amount to win the game, not the right amount for them as individuals. Because every person’s absorption and experience of alcohol is different, drinking within your limits will help you maximize your experience.
Unwanted and unprotected sex often occurs under the influence of alcohol. Be familiar with the policies and laws of the College and state which define important concepts like consent, which cannot be given when a person’s judgment is substantially impaired by alcohol or drugs. Often, alcohol does not improve sexual experiences.
After Drinking Alcohol
Account for everyone. Make sure that your plan for leaving, or backup plan, included everyone in your group.
Sober up with time. The only real way to sober up after consuming alcohol is to wait. “Tricks” like drinking coffee or taking a cold shower will only temporarily mask some of the effects of alcohol and could even dangerously shock someone who is having a medical emergency from drinking too much. If you are worried about yourself or a friend, call Public Safety at (802) 443-5911 or 911.
Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks
Caffeinated alcoholic drinks like Four Loko and Joose have been effectively banned by the FDA because the combination of alcohol and caffeine is dangerous.
Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant-caffeine speeds your brain up, alcohol slows it down. One of the major problems with caffeinated alcoholic drinks is that the effect of caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol so that someone appears (and perhaps feels) less drunk than they really are. This is dangerous as someone can drink to the point of alcohol poisoning and it would take longer than normal for that individual or their friends to recognize that they need medical help immediately.
Mixed drinks, like the ones obtained from a licensed bartender, contain much lower amounts of caffeine. In small doses, like a rum and cola , the risk of mixing caffeine and alcohol can be manageable; but the dose achieved by mixing an energy drink and alcohol on your own exceeds FDA recommendations.
If you are worried about yourself or a friend, call Public Safety at (802) 443-5911 or 911.
Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone has consumed enough alcohol to overwhelm their organ systems and poison their body. These four signs of alcohol poisoning do not need to be present in order to indicate that someone needs help.
- Puking: Vomiting is the body’s way of ejecting excess alcohol that it does not have the time or energy to process. The human body can only process one standard drink per hour. Vomiting is a clear message from the body to stop consuming alcohol, not permission to continue.
- Unconscious: Someone who cannot be stirred, woken up, and does not show any response to stimuli is unconscious. Whether someone is in a continuous state of unconsciousness or alternates back into consciousness, this is a serious warning sign.
- Breathing: Breathing that is shallow, labored, slow, or irregular is cause for concern.
- Skin: Skin that is cold, clammy, excessively sweaty, or blueish is cause for concern.
If you suspect that you or someone else has alcohol poisoning it’s important to call for help immediately by calling 911 or x5911 for the Department of Public Safety. While you wait with the person for help to arrive, you can turn the person on their side to decrease the risk of aspiration.
DO NOT do the following:
- Let them “sleep it off.”
- Give them food or water.
- Put them in a cold shower.
- Give them any other alcohol or drugs (including caffeine).
In Case of Emergency
Call 911 for any medical, fire, police, or life-threatening emergency.
For other emergencies call Public Safety at 801-443-5911.