a group of friends smiling together at a backyard party taking a selfie

Substance Use and Our Community

Did you know that approximately 63% of incoming first-year students identify as abstainers or non-drinkers according to AlcoholEdu 2019 data? In this section, you’ll learn bystander intervention strategies to help your fellow Blue Hens if they are in an unsafe situation, as well as tips if you or your friends choose to go out, to reduce potential risk. This is includes information about what responsible drinking looks like and a choose your own adventure style game that shows you how your choices may impact your night if you choose to drink.

We’ve also included the VITALS acronym that stands for the signs of an alcohol emergency. Did you know that 87% of students agree that if they had too much to drink, they would want a friend to call for help according to the 2018 CRBS Report? Remember, if you see a fellow Blue Hen experiencing even ONE of these symptoms, get help immediately! You must find an RA or call 911 to qualify for Amnesty. Don’t forget, according to UD Policy, after you call for help you “must remain with and monitor the student’s condition until assistance arrives, and cooperate fully during the medical and investigative process.”

Finally, we have a some information about the relationship between alcohol and sexual misconduct. Did you know that 50-70% of sexual assaults involve alcohol? You can click the toggles below to open up the different information sections and learn about these tools, strategies and tips.

Factors that Affect BAC

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is a measure of the amount of alcohol that is present the blood, based on the volume of alcohol consumed over a given period of time.

Factors that affect your BAC include the following:

  • Age – the older you are the harder it is for your body to efficiently process alcohol.
  • Biological Sex – Males tend to produce more of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase which helps to process alcohol. Additionally, female-bodied people tend to have lower water content in their bodies than male-bodied people, which makes it harder for their bodies to process alcohol because it is a highly water soluble substance.
  • Rate of Consumption – The longer the amount of time it takes you to consume a drink the lower your BAC will stay because you’re providing your body with enough time to process the alcohol.
  • Type of drink – Stronger drinks contain more alcohol per volume, which means your body has more alcohol to process in the bloodstream.
  • Emotional State – stress, fatigue, depression, etc. call all affect how efficiently your body is able to process alcohol
  • Medical conditions – such as diabetes, sickness (ex. flu, respiratory infection, stomach virus, etc.), auto-immune disorders, prescription medications (including: hormones for transgender people, birth control, pain medications, personality and mood disorder medications, allergy medications, etc.), ADHD, etc. If you are taking any medications (including non-prescription), check the product labels for alcohol warnings, or consult your doctor or pharmacist before you drink. 
  • Food – Foods high in protein and fat reduce the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, giving your body more time to process the alcohol. Remember: more time = lower BAC.
  • Body Composition:
    • More body weight = more water content in the body which means a better ability to process alcohol
    • Muscle to Fat ratio – muscle has a higher water content than fat which means it is better able to absorb alcohol
    • Metabolism – this varies between people and impacts the speed at which your body can process alcohol

Be a Blue Hen Friend: Harm Reduction Strategies

Use these sweet tips to be a Blue Hen Friend and reduce harm associated with high-risking drinking that you or your peers may experience.

  1. When you’re going out:
    • Travel with a group of friends, keep track of your friends and don’t leave anyone behind.
    • Come up with a secret code with your friends that signals if one of you needs help.
    • Know where you are going and have a plan to get home safely.
    • Store emergency numbers in your phone, and use the LiveSafe app to use the Safe Walk feature or to report suspicious activity, people fighting or other emergencies.
  2. Many UD students do not drink, but if you choose to drink:
    • Know your drinking limits and stop drinking when you need to
    • Remember to pace yourself. Reasonable drinking looks like 4 drinks or fewer for men and 3 drinks or fewer for women in one night. Note: these numbers can be impacted by factors such as: body composition, medical conditions and stress.
    • Eat filling foods that have fats and protein and stay hydrated by alternating with non-alcoholic drinks to avoid consuming too much alcohol.
    • Avoid drinks from large, open containers, as well as mixing alcohol with other substance use.
  3. Anytime and Always:
    • Respect everyone. Remember, not everyone drinks, and a sexy outfit is not an invitation for sex.
    • Set clear boundaries, and respect the boundaries of others.
    • If you witness a creepy situation or someone being aggressive, create a distraction to separate the people involved, ask someone else to step in or call for help.
    • Recognize the signs of an alcohol emergency (VITALS) and call 911 for help if you or a friend is experiencing even ONE sign. Remember, Amnesty is available.

VITALS: Alcohol Emergency Signs

If you see a fellow Blue Hen experiencing even ONE of these symptoms, get help immediately! You must find an RA or call 911 to qualify for Amnesty. Don’t forget, according to UD Policy, after you call for help you “must remain with and monitor the student’s condition until assistance arrives, and cooperate fully during the medical and investigative process.”

  • Vomiting
  • Irregular Pulse
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Abnormal Skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

Standard Drink

A red solo cup filled to the brim with beer as less alcohol in it than a red solo cup filled with wine. This is because alcohol content is not based on the volume of the container. As a result, we refer to the concept of a “standard drink.” Confused? Let’s break it down, one standard drink is equivalent to: 12 ounces of regular beer (or White Claw) = 10 ounces of a wine cooler (or Mike’s Hard) = 5 ounces of wine = 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

You can use the lines on a Solo cup for an approximation of these measurements:

standard drink measurements using a solo cup: first line/ridge from bottom = liquor, second line/ridge from bottom = wine, and third line/ridge from bottom = beer.

You can learn more about a standard drink from the National Institutes of Health’s Rethinking Drinking webpage, which is the source of the more comprehensive graphic below:

shows standard drink sizes with additional alcoholic beverage types.

ScreenU: Substance Use Self Assessments

ScreenU is a free online, anonymous and confidential screening tool that provides students with immediate, personalized feedback about their use of alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs. Students who take the ScreenU assessment receive strategies to reduce risk and harm related to their use. Students will also receive information about campus resources and services available to support them if they choose to make changes to their use.

How Does ScreenU Work?

  • Select one of the ScreenU assessments below for: alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drug use.
  • ScreenU works on computers, tablets and smartphones, so you can take it anywhere.
  • It takes approximately 5 – 10 minutes to complete the online tool depending on your responses.
  • It will assess your current risk level based on your responses to multiple choice questions.
  • ScreenU will also ask you to answer open-ended questions to help you reflect on your use.
  • Remember to answer the questions honestly to receive accurate feedback.
  • ScreenU is FREE for students, and you can take it as many times as you want!

Take A ScreenU Assessment

Click one of the links below to begin an assessment:



Alcohol and Sexual Assault

  • Alcohol is the most commonly used date rape drug
  • It is illegal and against UD’s code of conduct to use alcohol as a way to get someone to have sex with you.
  • You cannot consent to sex if you are intoxicated.
  • The UD Helpline is 302-831-1001, press 1 for a Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S.) victim advocate
  • If you are a victim of sexual misconduct while you were drinking, you will automatically receive amnesty

If you have questions about your use or the use of a friend

We offer confidential counseling services to help out. We know that you are faced with difficult choices at times when it comes to drug and alcohol use, and it can be helpful to talk about those choices. In our sessions, we can help you achieve the goals that you set. This can mean learning how to drink in a safer way where the likelihood of you experiencing negative consequences from your use can be reduced. We can talk about what safer use is and what it isn’t. And if you decide that you don’t want to use anything anymore, we can help you with that too. You can schedule an appointment by calling our office: 302-831-3457. We are located at 231 S. College Ave (white house next to the library).

screenshot of the map your night game

Map Your Night Game

Our “Map Your Night: Responsible Decision Making” game is an interactive, choose your own adventure style experience that shows you how your choices may impact your night if you choose to drink. Click the title or image above to play this interactive game.

screenshot of the map your night flowchart

Map Your Night .pdf Flowchart

If you are unable to use our interactive game, you can download this “Map Your Night” flowchart to explore what responsible decision making looks like as it relates to reducing risks associated with drinking alcohol. Click the title or image above to view or download this .pdf flowchart.

Choosing Well at UD

Click on the images or titles below to explore the "Choosing Well at UD" series which includes information about topics such as substance use, safer sex, healthy relationships, stress management, and more.