Alcohol and Other Drugs

Learning some basic facts about drugs can help you stay safe.

The most common consequence of drug use for college students is increased risk of sexual assault and car accidents.

Increase Your Drink IQ

  • If it fits in one glass, does it mean it is just one serving?

    Most people think this is the way it works, but this is actually quite wrong!

    In the United States, one "standard" drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:

    • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
    • 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol
    • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol

    For instance, depending on the preparation, there are roughly 4 standard drinks in one Long Island Ice Tea! If you have two of those in a period of two hours or less you are actually binge drinking, which takes us to the next topic...

  • Drinking to get wasted vs. Drinking to have a good time

    Binge drinking has been popularized by media and popular culture. Many people attending college feel they need to get wasted in order to get a real college experience. This is not the case! In fact, binge drinking is highly dangerous and can even cause death. So what is considered binge drinking?

    Well, it depends! There are many factors including your gender, BMI, etcetera. But here are some general rules so you can get a basic idea:

    Men: Drinking 5 or more standard drinks in two hours or less.

    Women: Drinking 4 or more standard drinks in two hours or less. 

    Remember, your body can only process up to one standard drink per hour... don't make it work overtime!

  • Tips for a Smarter Turn Up
    • Remember, just because it fits in a glass doesn't mean it is just one serving. Especially if we are talking about home made drinks like what you'll find in the punch bowl at some parties.
    • Eat food while you drink.
    • Alternate drinks with water.
    • Avoid "chugging" contests or other drinking games. They are designed to make you binge.
    • Keep active while drinking.
    • Beware of unfamiliar drinks, especially fruity/sweet ones. They are designed to mask the taste of alcohol.
    • Avoid mixing alcohol with caffeine i.e. Red Bull. This will mask the effect that alcohol has on your body tricking you into consuming more for the same effect while potentially affecting your liver and heart. 
    • Peer pressure is real. Lose your drink by spilling it or pouring it out without anyone noticing if you don't want to take it. 
    • Agree with your friends ahead of time that if you are going out together, you are coming back together. 
    • Be an active bystander! Watch out for your friends and others.
    • Always have a plan for getting home. 
    • Get help quickly if someone appears to be passed out.
  • Some Statistics...
    • Alcohol related crashes are the number one cause of death for college students (followed by suicide).
    • Ninety percent of all campus rapes occur when either the victim or the assailant were under the influence of alcohol.
    • Students who drink are more likely to have unprotected sex.
    • Alcohol is a factor in 28% of college dropouts.
    • Forty two percent of college students report binge drinking. 
  • Resources on Campus

    If you think you may be facing issues with alcohol or other drugs there is free and confidential help on campus!

    You can start by taking a free screening on the Online Self-Help portion of our website, or by clicking here.

    You can also make an appointment with us (the Counseling & Psychological Services department) by calling 305.348.2277. We have offices at BBC and MMC.

    Last but not least, Panthers 4 Recovery is an FIU student groupthat holds meetings for students that struggle with addiction of all kinds. You can find more information here.

    For more information about the topics, please visit: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

  • Alcohol Quiz

    Learning some basic facts about alcohol consumption can help you stay safe.

    Do you know what it takes to turn up responsibly?

    Take me to the quiz!



  • E-Cigarettes/Vaping

    E-cigarettes are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.

    • E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.
    • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
    • While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.
    • If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, it is recommended that you don’t start.
    • Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy the oils or the device off the street, and should not modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
    • Additional research can help understand long-term health effects. At this time, however, the FDA is investigating a correlation between a multistate outbreak of lung injury and the use of e-cigarettes/vaping. For more information, click here.

    Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Marijuana Vaping Quiz

    Are you ready to put your knowledge to test?

    Take this quiz to debunk some common myths about vaping marijuana:

    Let's do it!

Cold-Blooded Squad

  • Key Terms

    Tolerance: When drugs are used repeatedly over time it may take higher and higher doses to experience the same effect as when the drug was taken the first time.

    Substance Use Disorder: A Substance Use Disorder develops when a person’s continued use of alcohol and/or drugs causes significant issues, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. This can range from mild to severe.  Drug addiction is the most severe form of a substance use disorder.

    Withdrawal: Withdrawal refers to the physical and emotional problems you experience if you drastically reduce or suddenly stop long-term use of a drug. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug.

    Addiction: A brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.

    Overdose: An overdose occurs when the person uses too much of a drug and has a toxic reaction that results in serious, harmful symptoms or death.

    Polysubstance use: The use of more than one drug, either at the same time or at different times. Polysubstance use is common and is associated with increased risk of psychiatric and physical health problems. Combining substances can create deadly interactions and is a large contributor to cases of overdose.

    *Connor, J. P., Gullo, M. J., White, A., & Kelly, A. B. (2014). Polysubstance use: diagnostic challenges, patterns of use and health. Current opinion in psychiatry, 27(4), 269-275.

  • Marijuana
    Marijuana (weed, pot) is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried, shredded leaves and flowers from the marijuana plant.

    Marijuana can make you feel silly, relaxed, sleepy, and happy—or nervous and scared. It may change your senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Marijuana can make it hard to think clearly.

    Marijuana makes it hard to remember things that just happened a few minutes ago. That makes it hard to learn in school or to pay attention to your job.

    Mental and physical abilities are impaired for up to 24 hours. It is not safe to drive during this time and completing tasks will be more difficult. A single marijuana cigarette can impair your driving skills.

    Some people get addicted to marijuana after using it often. They might need to smoke more and more of it to get the same high. People who are trying to quit using marijuana can be in a bad mood, feel nervous, and have trouble sleeping. They will feel a strong need to take the drug.

    Spice (K2) is an illegal drug usually made by spraying chemicals onto shredded dried plant materials or put in liquid form. The chemicals are similar to the ones in the marijuana plant that get people high. This is why people call it "fake weed," but it is not the same as marijuana. Spice may affect your brain more strongly than marijuana. You can't predict what will happen when you take it. The effects can be very serious and can even cause death.
  • Cocaine

    Cocaine is a white powder. It can be snorted up the nose or mixed with water and injected with a needle. Cocaine can also be made into small white rocks, called Crack. It's called Crack because when the rocks are heated, they make a cracking sound. Crack is smoked in a small glass pipe.

    Cocaine can make a person feel full of energy, but also restless, scared, or angry.

    Cocaine speeds up your whole body. Your heart beats fast. You talk, move, and think fast. Your body feels too hot. You might shake and twitch. You don't sleep or eat much.

    Cocaine can make you feel happy and excited, but then your mood can change. You can become angry, nervous, and afraid that someone's out to get you. You might do things that make no sense.

    After the "high" of the cocaine wears off, you can "crash" and feel tired and sad for days. You also get a strong craving to take the drug again to try to feel better.

    People who snort cocaine through the nose can get nosebleeds. They can even lose their sense of smell. Their nose may be runny all the time, like they always have a cold.

    People who inject cocaine will have marks where the needle went in, usually on their arms.

    People addicted to cocaine might take bigger doses or take it more often to get high. A cocaine high usually doesn't last very long so people take it again and again to try to keep feeling good.

    How can this drug affect me?

    • Nervousness
    • Sadness and fatigue
    • Nightmares
    • Paranoia
    • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
    • Headaches
    • Loss of appetite
    • Heart attack
    • Stroke
    • Death
  • Heroin

    Heroin is a white or brown powder or a black, sticky goo. It can be mixed with water and injected with a needle. Heroin can also be smoked or snorted up the nose.

    Heroin can cause a rush of good feelings just after it's taken, but some people throw up or itch after taking it. For the next several hours you may want to sleep, and your heart rate and breathing can slow down. Then the drug wears off and you may feel a strong urge to take more. 

    It is easy to become addicted to heroin no matter if it's injected, smoked, or snorted. People who get addicted to heroin need to keep taking it to feel normal and may take more and more of it to get the same high.

    People who inject (shoot up) heroin may have marks on the skin where the needle went in.

    Sharing used needles to inject heroin can give you HIV/AIDS or hepatitis (a liver disease). People can also get these diseases by having unsafe sex. They may forget to use condoms because they're high on the drug.

    How can this drug affect me?

    • Pain in muscles and bones
    • Chills
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Sleep problems
    • Nervousness
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Coma
    • Death
  • Club Drugs

    MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)

    MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) is a drug that people often use at parties and clubs. It affects your mood and how you feel about your surroundings. 

    How can this drug affect me?

    MDMA makes people feel very friendly and affectionate, but it has negative effects too. You can become irritable or have sleep problems. It can cause dizziness, muscle cramps, or uncontrollable teeth clenching. It also raises body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure which can cause organ failure or death. This can be dangerous in crowds or on the dance floor where it's already too hot. Once the effects wear off, you could feel sad or nervous for days.

    Heavy use of MDMA can give you problems that last a long time. You may feel confused or depressed a lot, or have problems with concentration or your memory.


    Withdrawal symptoms: Fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, trouble concentrating



    GHB is a liquid or powder that can make you pass out. It's called a "date rape" drug because someone can secretly put it in your drink. This means that you can't fight back or defend yourself against someone who wants to have sex with you without permission.

    Withdrawal symptoms:
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Extreme anxiety
    • Tension
    • Restlessness
    • Confusion
    • Irritability
    • Numbness and tingling of hands or feet
    • Hallucinations
    • Delirium
    • Convulsions
    • Seizures
    • Shock



    Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive stimulant amphetamine drug. It can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and make your heartbeat irregular. Long-term effects include: anxiety, psychosis, violent behavior, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), and intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching.How can this drug affect me?Short-term effects:

    • Increased wakefulness and physical activity
    • Decreased appetite
    • Increased breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature
    • Irregular heartbeat
    Long-term effects:
    • Anxiety
    • Confusion
    • Insomnia
    • Mood problems
    • Violent behavior
    • Paranoia
    • Hallucinations
    • Delusions
    • Weight loss
    • Severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
    • Intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching

    Withdrawal symptoms: Depression, anxiety, tiredness 



    Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings. They cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real though they are not. Hallucinogens can be found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) or can be human-made. Hallucinogens can lead to physical and psychological problems and can be addictive. When used with alcohol some hallucinogens can lead to coma or death.

    Common hallucinogens: 

    Ketamine is used as a surgery anesthetic for humans and animals. It makes you feel far away from what's going on around you and can feel scary and unpleasant. It is used as a date rape drug. 

    LSD (Acid) comes in pills or on small pieces of paper that have been soaked in liquid. It makes you see, hear, and feel things that aren't there. You might see bright colors, pretty pictures, or things that scare you. You can also develop faster a heart rate, sleep problems, panic, sweating, and paranoia.

     Psilocybin (Shrooms) comes from certain types of mushrooms. Users risk poisoning and possibly death from using a poisonous mushroom by mistake. 

    PCP (Angel Dust) is a pill or powder that can be eaten, smoked, or snorted up the nose. It makes people feel far away from the world around them. PCP often makes people feel angry and violent, not happy and dreamy. It was developed in the 1950s as a general anesthetic for surgery. It is no longer used for this purpose due to serious side effects. 

    How can these drugs affect me?

    • Euphoria
    • Drowsiness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Confusion
    • Memory loss
    • Unconsciousness
    • Slowed heart rate and breathing
    • Lower body temperature
    • Seizure
    • Coma
    • Death

    Withdrawal symptoms:

    • Sleep difficulties
    • Anxiety
    • Tremors
    • Sweating
    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
    • Psychotic thoughts



    Rohypnol is a benzodiazepine chemically similar to prescription sedatives such as Valium and Xanax. Teens and young adults tend to abuse this drug at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties. It is often used to commit sexual assault due to its ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims. This drug can slow your breathing and heart rate. When combined with alcohol it can cause death.

    How can this drug affect me?

    • Drowsiness
    • Sedation
    • Sleep
    • Amnesia
    • Blackout
    • Decreased anxiety
    • Muscle relaxation
    • Impaired reaction time and motor coordination
    • Impaired mental functioning and judgment
    • Confusion
    • Aggression
    • Excitability
    • Slurred speech
    • Headache
    • Slowed breathing and heart rate (combined with alcohol can cause death)

    How can these drugs affect me?

    The effects of hallucinogens can begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last as long as 6 to 12 hours. Hallucinogen users refer to the experiences brought on by these drugs as "trips," calling the unpleasant experiences "bad trips."


    Specific short-term effects of some hallucinogens include:

    • Increased blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, or body temperature
    • Loss of appetite
    • Dry mouth
    • Sleep problems
    • Mixed senses (such as "seeing" sounds or "hearing" colors)
    • Feelings of relaxation or detachment from self/environment
    • Uncoordinated movements
    • Excessive sweating
    • Panic
    • Paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
    • Psychosis—disordered thinking detached from reality


    Long-term effects:

    • Ketamine users may develop symptoms that include ulcers in the bladder, kidney problems, and poor memory.
    • High doses of PCP can cause seizures, coma, and death, though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication. Interactions between PCP and depressants such as alcohol can also lead to coma.
    • Repeated use of PCP can result in long-term effects that may continue for a year or more after use stops, such as:
                -Speech problems
                -Memory loss
                -Weight loss
                -Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Prescription Drugs


    (Adderall, Ritalin, “Speed/Uppers”)

    What are these medications for?

    Prescription stimulants are medicines used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Prescription stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy.

    Why do people abuse these drugs?

    Some people use stimulants to help them stay awake, study or improve work or school performance. College students misuse prescription stimulants to “get in the zone” or pull all night study sessions.

    How can these drugs affect me?

    People who use prescription stimulants report feeling a "rush" (euphoria) along with the following:

    • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
    • Increased breathing
    • Decreased blood flow
    • Increased blood sugar

    At high doses, prescription stimulants can lead to a dangerously high body temperature, an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and seizures.

    Repeated use even within a short period can lead to:

    • Addiction
    • Heart problems
    • Psychosis
    • Anger
    • Paranoia

    Withdrawal symptoms:

    • Fatigue
    • Depression
    • Sleep problems


    Examples: Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Sleeping medications (Ambient, Lunesta)

    What are these medications for?

    These drugs can slow brain activity, making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.

    Why do people abuse these drugs?

    Some people use these drugs to feel relaxed or “high”.

    How can these drugs affect me?

    Taking sedatives with alcohol can:

    • Stop your breathing
    • Slurred speech
    • Poor concentration
    • Confusion
    • Headache
    • Light-headedness
    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth
    • Problems with movement and memory
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Slowed breathing

    Withdrawal symptoms:

    • Seizures
    • Shakiness
    • Anxiety
    • Agitation
    • Insomnia
    • Overactive reflexes
    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature with sweating
    • Hallucinations
    • Severe cravings



    Examples: Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Morphine, Codeine, Fentanyl

    What are these medications for?

    Prescription opioids are used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain, though some opioids can be used to treat coughing and diarrhea.

    Why do people abuse these drugs?

    Opioids can make people feel relaxed and "high" - which is why they are sometimes used for non-medical reasons. This can be dangerous because opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common.

    How can these drugs affect me?

    • Drowsiness
    • Confusion
    • Nausea
    • Constipation
    • Euphoria
    • Slowed breathing

    Opioid misuse can cause slowed breathing, which can cause hypoxia, a condition that results when too little oxygen reaches the brain. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term psychological and neurological effects, including coma, permanent brain damage, or death.

    Withdrawal symptoms:

    • Muscle and bone pain
    • Sleep problems
    • Diarrhea and vomiting
    • Cold flashes with goose bumps
    • Uncontrollable leg movements
    • Severe cravings

On-Campus Resources

  • Panthers 4 Recovery

    Panthers for Recovery is a collegiate recovery community (CRC) at Florida International University. It is devoted to supporting students recovering from addiction. In addition we support family and friends of those in recovery or in active addiction. Allies are welcome as well. We have goal to create a Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) with a staff and designated space for students in recovery.

    Click here for more information.

  • Healthy Living Program

    The Healthy Living Program offers a holistic and preventative approach to health by encouraging FIU students to engage in everyday healthy lifestyle practices. Our on-campus services and online education promote the 7 Dimensions of Wellness: physical, intellectual, occupational, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental.

    Click here to find out more.

  • Counseling & Psychological Services

    Counseling and Psychological Services’ mission is to provide mental health services to students that will facilitate and enhance their personal learning, emotional well-being and academic skills development. CAPS is committed to providing consultation to the FIU community affected by threatened or actual violence and promoting the ability to live a full, rich life.

    Below you will find a list of online self-help resources. If you are still feeling like you need some extra help, don't hesitate to call us at 305.348.2277


    Take an Addiction Screening

    Therapy Assistance Online (TAO self-help)

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)




To make an appointment with us, please call:

305-348-2277 (CAPS)

Appointments will be held over the phone or by videoconference (through a HIPAA-compliant platform).



If you are in need of immediate services, please call our 24-Hour hotline 305-348-2277 (CAPS) to speak with a licensed clinician.



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