Alcohol Use and Misuse
Although alcohol misuse may not carry the same legal penalties as the use of illegal drugs, it can create dire circumstances for you, your participation in the program, your safety on-site, and the future of your study abroad program.
- Remember that you are serving as an ambassador of ASU, Arizona, and the United States.
- Be aware that many of the injuries sustained by study abroad students are related to drunkenness and an associated lapse in judgement.
- Do not forget that you remain subject to the terms of the ABOR Student Code of Conduct while you are participating in your program.
Alcohol misuse will not be tolerated on ASU study abroad programs.
For Your Consideration
Although there may be no minimum drinking age in your host country (or a lower drinking age than in the U.S.), the customs regarding alcohol use in your host country may be very different from those in the U.S. You may be tempted to slip into - or to maintain - patterns of alcohol misuse while abroad. Such use may occur for a variety of reasons: a mistaken impression of how alcohol is used in your new surroundings; cheaper costs in some countries; a lower minimum drinking age; more lenient laws against drunkenness; or a desire to experiment or fit in. Alcohol abuse and misuse are not tolerated globally and will not be tolerated on ASU study abroad programs. Alcohol misuse is defined as any use that is harmful or potentially harmful to oneself or to others. Alcohol abuse is planned, systematic misuse of alcohol.
Violation of local laws and/or ASU regulations or policies may result in (a) immediate dismissal from the program; (b) academic withdrawal from the university for the semester in progress; and (c) disciplinary action upon return to campus.
What is "alcohol misuse?" Alcohol misuse is present when:
- A student misses any scheduled event because of the effects of alcohol consumption
- A student becomes ill due to the effects of alcohol consumption
- A student is disrespectful of others sharing the same or neighboring housing, due to the effects of alcohol consumption
- A student engages in inappropriate behavior toward other individuals that is the result of alcohol consumption
- A student becomes so intoxicated that he/she cannot walk unassisted
- A student engages in destructive behavior toward property that is the result of alcohol consumption
- A student does not abide by the laws of the country in which he or she is staying
- A student engages in behavior that causes embarrassment to the other members of the group, the program leader(s), or the in-country host(s) as a result of alcohol consumption
- A student engages in behavior that causes his/her companions concern for the safety of the individual or the group
- Students in a group encourage or ignore a fellow student who is misusing or abusing alcohol or
- Students transport quantities of alcohol to program sites with the intent of sharing the alcohol with members of the group
Students are encouraged to use good judgment if consuming alcohol at private homes or other accommodations during non-program hours. Student groups are encouraged to discuss with the program leaders(s) or resident director issues related to alcohol abuse by other members of their group. Peers should look out for each other and keep each other safe.
If a student becomes incapacitated due to alcohol overuse, or if he/she is in need of medical attention, others are strongly encouraged to contact a local emergency medical service, program leader, or resident director immediately in order to protect the health and well-being of the affected student. Peers are encouraged to make the responsible choice to notify program or emergency personnel quickly. The person (or persons) making the call will not be subject to disciplinary action.
Alcohol misuse or abuse can be an unhealthy coping mechanism for individuals who may be experiencing stress or distress. Remember that all ASU students have 24/7/365 access to free mental health resources from anywhere in the world. Learn more or download the app (for android and IOS).
Here is the bottom line. Do not endanger yourself, others, property, or the future viability of the program by using or misusing alcohol. Know when to say "no," stay with your friends, and look out for each other!
Resources & Videos
Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO is an interactive web survey that allows ASU students to enter information about their drinking patterns and receive feedback about their use of alcohol. The assessment takes about 6-7 minutes to complete, is self-guided and requires no face-to-face contact time with a counselor or administrator.
Your online and pre-departure orientations will provide information on program requirements and host country laws regarding alcohol consumption and the consequences of misuse. Most countries, with the exception of those with religious prohibitions, tolerate social drinking. Intoxication, public drunkenness and inebriating behavior, however, are seldom allowed under any circumstances. If you have been in treatment for alcohol addition, check the United Kingdom chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for information about AA meetings worldwide (and in English).
Review this publication by the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism for more details on how combining some medications with alcohol can be dangerous to your health.
This page was adapted from similar content on the Michigan State University Office of Study Abroad website.