UofM Students

Alcohol, Drugs & Study Abroad

University of Minnesota Education Abroad Alcohol and Drug Policy

The University of Minnesota Code of Conduct and for Code of Conduct for Education Abroad allow for responsible drinking if you are legally allowed to drink in your host country. Illegal, irresponsible drinking and/or misbehaving while drinking are violations of the University’s policy.

The University of Minnesota has a no tolerance approach to drug use while abroad. Students using drugs abroad may immediately be removed from the program at their own cost.

If you have questions about the University’s alcohol and drug policy, call or email your Learning Abroad Center program Contact.

When Choosing to Drink or Use Other Drugs in a Foreign Country

Consequences of Drinking Too Much

Accidents and Injuries

Accidents and injuries are common among those who consume too much alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, perception, and concentration. Impairment of these skills can result in a range of accidents, including falling down a flight of stairs or tripping on the sidewalk. The injuries resulting from such accidents can be minor or they can be severe. Within the past few years a number of college students have died in accidents abroad while intoxicated. These accidental deaths include several students who have fallen from balconies or bedroom windows, drowned in lakes or ponds on the way home from a party, or tripped on the sidewalk.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol, when used to excess, can cause alcohol poisoning. The effects of alcohol poisoning can range from vomiting to falling into a coma and subsequent death. Too much alcohol can cause vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, to slow down and even stop, which results in death. Very often someone who dies from alcohol poisoning passes out and is allowed to “sleep it off.” This is a mistake. Anyone who drinks so much that they become unconscious or exhibit any of the signs below should receive immediate attention.

Unprotected Sex and Sexual Assault

Alcohol use can result in a number of sexual consequences, including unprotected sex and sexual assault. See Staying Safe Abroad: Sexual Assault and Rape. Most sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol on the part of the perpetrator or the victim. Alcohol misuse can result in impaired judgment, which can put you at risk for either committing a sexual assault or becoming the victim of a sexual assault.

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Why should I eat before and during drinking?

Food slows down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream and gives your body more time to metabolize the alcohol and get it out of your system. Foods that are high in protein or high in fat are especially effective. Beverages, such as water or anything carbonated, will result in increased absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.

Do all drinks contain the same amount of alcohol?

Some drinks are stronger than others, but in general a 1 ounce shot, a 12 ounce domestic beer, a 12 ounce wine cooler, a properly mixed drink, or a 4 ounce glass of wine all contain about .05 ounces of alcohol. Some mixed drinks and some types of beer (imported, ice, malt liquor) contain more than .05 ounces of alcohol.

Are a woman and a man equally affected by the alcohol they consume?

In general, women will be more affected by the alcohol they consume than a man of the same size and weight. Women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men and will absorb more of the alcohol they consume. Women also tend to have less of an enzyme, which helps to break down alcohol in the stomach. As a result, a woman can absorb almost a third more alcohol than a man when they drink.

How long does it take for the liver to process the alcohol contained in one drink?

It takes the liver about an hour to metabolize the amount of alcohol contained in a standard drink (.05 ounces of alcohol). Drinking coffee or taking a cold shower will not speed up the process. Only time can make a person sober.

How do I know if I’ve been ruffied?

Rohypnol (also called "ruffies" or the “date rape” drug) and GHB are two drugs that are often implicated in sexual assaults. They are odorless and tasteless (GHB can leave a slightly salty taste in a drink) and can be easily dissolved in a drink. When either of these drugs is administered, you can suffer from disinhibition, loss of consciousness, and the inability to remember events that took place while under the influence. You may have been drugged if you:

If you think you may have been drugged, ask a friend to stay with you and take you to a hospital. At the hospital, request that the hospital take a urine sample to test for drugs in your system. If you believe that you were sexually assaulted, preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Do not urinate, shower, bathe, douche, or throw away the clothing that you were wearing during the incident. For more on sexual assault resources see GO SAFE.

Program Health & Safety information is available at GO SAFE