Alcohol and Other Drugs

Temple University seeks to encourage an environment which supports healthy decisions surrounding the use of alcohol and other drugs.

The National Institute for Drug Addiction defines alcohol as an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. A standard drink equals 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol, or 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces (a "shot") of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).

  • Tips to Decrease Drinking Risk - Learn what you can do to decrease your risk.
  • Health Risks - Find out the short- and long-term health risks of alcohol and other drug use and abuse.
  • Help a Friend - Are you concerned with a friend’s alcohol and drug use? Here’s what you can do to help.
  • Resources - More information about alcohol and drug information and assistance is available.

Tips to Decrease Drinking Risk

  • Pace Yourself - Your body can only process one drink an hour.
  • Double Up - Alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic beverages. Drink water before, during, and after you drink.
  • Speed Limit - Set limits on how many drinks you will have BEFORE you go out.
  • Measuring Cup - The red plastic cup does not equal one drink.
  • Don't Run On Empty - Eat right before you go out and while you are drinking to slow down your intoxication.
  • Watch Your Drink - Pour your own drinks and do not drink from open common sources, such as punch bowls and jungle juice.
  • Life is Not a Game - Avoid drinking games and activities that cause you to lose control of your limit.
  • Buddy Up - Don’t travel alone, and stick with the friends you came with.
  • Get Help - Call 215-204-1234 (or 1-1234 from a campus phone) for help if you or a friend has had too much to drink. Temple University has a medical amnesty policy, which states that no student will be subject to university discipline for seeking medical treatment for the use of drugs or alcohol for themselves or a friend

Health Risks

Short-term Health Risks of Alcohol Use and Abuse

1.Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These immediate effects are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

2.Unintentional injuries, including traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns, and unintentional firearm injuries.

3.Violence, including intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. About 35% of victims report that offenders are under the influence of alcohol.

4.Alcohol use is also associated with 2 out of 3 incidents of intimate partner violence. Studies have also shown that alcohol is a leading factor in child maltreatment and neglect cases, and is the most frequent substance abused among these parents.

5.Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and increased risk of sexual assault. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

6.Miscarriage and stillbirth among pregnant women, and a combination of physical and mental birth defects among children that last throughout life.

7.Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels that suppress the central nervous system and can cause loss of consciousness, low blood pressure and body temperature, coma, respiratory depression, or death.

Long-Term Health Risks

1.Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems. These include but are not limited to:

2.Neurological problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.

3.Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.

4.Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.

5.Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, and family problems.

6.Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. In general, the risk of cancer increases with increasing amounts of alcohol.

7.Liver diseases

8.Other gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis.

Health Risks of Other Drugs

Following are health risks associated with substances commonly abused by college students:

1.Amphetamines. Amphetamines can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, collapse, and death. Heavy users are prone to irrational acts.

2.Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish). The use of marijuana may impair or reduce short- term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce coordination and energy level. Frequent users often have a lowered immune system and an increased risk of lung cancer. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is stored in the fatty tissues of the brain and reproductive system for a minimum of 28 to 30 days.

3.Cocaine/Crack. The immediate effects of cocaine use include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature, followed by depression. Crack, or freebase rock cocaine, is extremely addictive and can cause delirium, hallucinations, blurred vision, severe chest pain, muscle spasms, convulsions, and even death.

4.Hallucinogens. Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even when use has ceased. Phencyclidine (PCP) affects the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries.

5.Heroin. Heroin is an opiate drug that causes the body to have diminished pain reactions. Heroin is physically addictive. This and other opiate drugs are respiratory depressants; their use can be associated with coma and death. (Source: University of Pennsylvania, 2012)


There are many resources available for alcohol and drug information and assistance.

 Help a Friend

Call 215-204-1234 (or 1-1234 from a campus phone) for help if you or a friend has had too much to drink

Temple University has a medical amnesty policy, which states that no student will be subject to university discipline for seeking medical treatment for the use of drugs or alcohol for themselves or a friend.