University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Alcohol and other Drugs

Alcohol and other drug use influences your college experience, whether or not you choose to drink or use drugs. Surveys show that the majority of UMass Amherst students drink in moderation, or not at all, but inaccurate beliefs about peers' drinking and a culture of high-risk drinking persist and affect us all.

Social media, YouTube videos and party school rankings perpetuate the image of non-stop partying, but in reality:

  • 13% of UMass students are non-drinkers (have not consumed alcohol in the past year).
  • Another 13% drink infrequently.
  • 74% of students have had alcohol in the past month. Most average 4 drinks when they party and drink only 2 days per week.
  • The average number of drinks per week among UMass students is 8. Males average 11 drinks per week; females average 7.

If drinking or drug use is becoming a problem for you or for someone you know, learn how to recognize the signs and where to go for help. 38% of UMass students scored 8 or higher on the AUDIT, the Alcohol Use Disorders Test, a screening tool for high-risk drinking. You can check your drinking online or better yet, make a free, confidential appointment with BASICS for a drinkers check-up.

Students who look out for one another make better decisions. The top five safe drinking practices used by UMass students are: walking home with friends, refusing a ride from someone who's been drinking or drugging, eating before or while drinking, avoiding shots or chugging, counting drinks, and limiting amount of money spent on alcohol.

Being part of a caring community means making agreements with friends and establishing a game plan together. Friends working together can even intervene on behalf of people they don’t know.