1. Playing It Safe

Drugs & Drug Safety

After alcohol, the most common drugs used on college campuses are tobacco (see "Tobacco Use ­– Benefits of Quitting") and marijuana. Other drugs used are amphetamines (uppers); barbiturates (downers); hallucinogens, such as LSD; inhalants; and narcotics, such as cocaine. On the increase is the use of substances known collectively as "club drugs." These are used at all-night dance parties, such as "raves" or "trances," dance clubs, and bars. Examples are MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol, Ketamine, methamphetamine, and LSD.

The safest use of drugs is no use of drugs!

Signs of a Drug Overdose

Signs of an overdose depend on the type of drug used. Call 9-1-1 or get emergency care for one or more of the following:

  1. Unconsciousness. This means the person is hard to rouse and can't be made aware of his or her surroundings. This can be brief, such as with fainting or blacking out. It can put a person into a coma.

  2. No breathing or slow and shallow breathing. This means 10 or fewer breaths per minute or time lapses of more than 8 seconds between breaths.

  3. Slow pulse rate (40 or fewer beats per minute).

  4. Suicidal gestures.

  5. Seizures.

  6. Tremors.

  7. Sudden hostile personality or violent behavior.

  8. Very rapid pulse rate (140 or more beats per minute) and/or extreme anxiety or paranoia

Penalties of Drug Use

Be aware of the penalties your school and law enforcement authorities can and will take if you possess, use, make, and/or distribute alcohol or illicit drugs. Penalties vary, based on your school's policy and on the laws that govern certain substances. Penalties your school may take range from verbal or written reprimands to suspension or expulsion from the school. You can be fined and/or put in prison for prosecution of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the offense. For example, conviction of possessing or using cocaine, heroin, or even GHB, could put you in prison for up to 20 years. If you give GHB to someone else and that person dies, you could be convicted of manslaughter. If you are of legal drinking age and give alcohol to a minor and it causes death, you could be convicted of a felony that carries a 10 year prison sentence.