Richmond Home

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among college students pose a complex problem on campuses requiring a comprehensive approach. Substance abuse education falls under the Student Development Division and addresses the various alcohol and drug issues that arise within the University community. The Coordinator for Substance Abuse Education and the Health Educator work to address both environmental and individual factors to reduce substance use and partners with URWell on a comprehensive alcohol education program.

Alcohol Prevention and Education

In keeping with the University's objective of fostering knowledge and personal well-being, every undergraduate student will complete an alcohol education requirement prior to graduation. Before arriving on campus, first year and transfer students will complete both Alcohol Edu for College and Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergraduates, two online prevention and education programs. Once on campus, students will complete a two-hour alcohol education workshop (WELL 085) specific to policies of the University and the Commonwealth of Virginia. This in-class workshop is an alcohol prevention and education program designed to assist students in making positive decisions regarding alcohol issues. During this workshop, students will discuss the health risks of overconsuming alcohol, review standard drink sizes, develop risk-reduction strategies, and learn about helpful resources on campus. Students must satisfactorily complete this component of the wellness requirement their first semester on campus.

For information on alcohol education outreach programs, such as workshops for clubs and organizations, please contact Sarah Sheppard, Health Educator, at ssheppa2@richmond.edu

Alcohol & Drug Sanction Courses

Students that are sanctioned for a violation of the University's Alcohol and Drug Policy will be required to participate in an alcohol and drug education program.

The purpose of these programs is to engage the student in a discussion about alcohol use and misuse, encourage harm reduction and to provide safety and resource information.

A student may also have additional requirements beyond those listed below.

Alcohol Edu for Sanctions - online course designed to help students who have violated campus alcohol policies make safer and healthier choices. Students must complete Part 1 and Part 2 of the course to fulfil the sanction requirement. 

Marijuana 101 – is a four-hour online course for on-campus marijuana violations. Six lessons cover a variety of key issues such as marijuana dependence, marijuana’s effects, mental-health issues and synthetic marijuana use. Students must complete Part 1 and Part 2 of the course. There is a 30-day intersession between Parts 1 and 2.

Prescription Drug Abuse Course - Online course that equips students with the knowledge and tools to make healthy, informed decisions when it comes to prescription medications. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn about a range of topics, including the science of addiction, how to properly use and dispose of prescription drugs, and how to intervene when faced with a situation involving drug misuse.

Reduce Impairment through Supplementary Knowledge (RISK) – Reduce Impairment through Supplementary Knowledge (RISK) comprises three 90-minute group sessions facilitated by a community substance abuse counselor. While enrolled in this course students will gain an understanding of the risks and consequences of using alcohol or other drugs. The facilitator will assess student choices; explain the continuum from use, to abuse, to dependence; and who is at risk. Students learn about self-care, responsibility and the importance of balance in their college environment.

Alcohol or Drug Evaluation- Students may be required to complete an alcohol or drug evaluation with a substance abuse counselor.  These evaluations are completed at an off campus facility.  The recommendations from the evaluation are shared with the Substance Abuse Education & Prevention Coordinator and the student is required to complete any recommendations described in the evaluation.

Drugs

The negative physical and mental effects of the use of alcohol and other drugs are well documented. Use of these drugs may cause blackouts, poisoning and overdose, physical and psychological dependence; damage to vital organs; inability to learn and remember information and psychological problems. For more information about the health risks associated with the misuse of alcohol and illicit drugs, please click here.

For Parents

Talking with your College Student about Alcohol

One of the most important things you can do to help your student make healthy and informed decisions in college is to stay involved. Parents need to recognize that college students, especially first-year students, are at significantly higher risk for alcohol related problems.

Research suggests that talking with your college student, leads to lower alcohol consumption during the first year and lowers the risk they will experience serious alcohol-related consequences. Talk openly and often with your student about alcohol use prior to their arrival on campus, and keep those conversations going after they arrive. If the conversations have not happened before they start their first year, know that it is never too late.

Talk to your student frequently to keep the lines of communication open. It is very important for parents and families to talk to their students about their expectations for behavior, and to discuss the potential risks and consequences associated with drinking. Expand the conversation to include personal safety, sexual activity, and drugs other than alcohol. During the conversation, listen to your student in a non-judgmental manner and without defensiveness. Contrary to what you may think, parents and families can have considerable influence on students and students respect and listen to their family more often than we give them credit for.

Some parents may feel reluctant, or ill equipped to talk with the students about alcohol issues on college campuses. Here are some suggestions for beginning the conversation with your college student:

Ask the hard questions about alcohol use and misuse.

  • How will you decide whether or not to drink at college?
  • What will you do if you find yourself at a party with only alcohol to drink?
  • What will you do if your roommate drinks and/or if your room becomes a center for this type of activity?
  • What will you do if you find a student passed out in the bathroom and/or how would you handle caring for someone who is very drunk?
  • What can I/we do to help?

Set clear expectations regarding academic performance and the use of alcohol.

  • Be clear about your expectations regarding alcohol and drugs. Pay attention to your student’s experiences and activities during the first six weeks of classes when your student is most vulnerable. Be understanding of the fact that transition to college can be a difficult time, and students will be trying to fit in with new friends.

Encourage them to know and understand the consequences of violating the University’s Alcohol & Drug Policy.

Possible sanctions include substance abuse education; housing probation including dismissal from on-campus housing; university-wide disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. Students should also understand the legal consequences for underage drinking, public intoxication and using a fake ID.

Stress to your student that drinking alcohol to the point of incapacitation is risky.

You may want to discuss the differences between abstaining, low-risk drinking and high risk drinking.

     Low Risk Drinking is:

  • Abstaining from alcohol is always the safest choice.
  • Being over 21 years of age.
  • Thinking about whether you will drink before a party. Also, think about what you will drink and how many drinks you will consume.
  • Eating a protein based meal before drinking.
  • Drink no more than one drink per hour. Alternating non-alcoholic beverage with alcoholic beverages.
  • Always know what you are drinking.
  • Pay attention to serving size.
  • Knowing how you will get home safety and what will happen if you and your friends are separated.

High Risk Drinking is:

  • Chugging, drinking games, shots.
  • Drinking anything out of a common container.
  • Pre-gamming.
  • Drinking to get drunk.
  • Drinking too much too fast.
  • Mixing alcohol with caffeine, medications or other drugs.
  • Going to parties where everyone drinks to excess.
  • Not knowing what is in your drink or leaving your drink unattended.

Emphasize that high risk drinking is neither admirable nor funny, and that many student suffer unexpected and unwanted consequences when they misuse alcohol. Discourage drinking games and pre-gamming.  

Encourage them to intervene when they see someone who has drank too much. Make sure your student understand the signs of alcohol poisoning and is familiar with the Safe Spiders Protocol.

Know where to go for help. If you suspect your student is having problems with drugs or 

    alcohol, please encourage them to seek help at one of the following offices on campus:

  • Dean’s Office
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Student Health Center
  • Substance Abuse Education & Prevention Coordinator

Some signs that your student may have a drug or alcohol problem.

  • Missing classes because they are hung over
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Moodiness, defensiveness or silence when you try to talk to them about their alcohol use.
  • Relationship difficulties with friends, family, roommates/housemates, partners.
  • Hiding/sneaking use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Using alcohol or other drugs to build confidence, manage feelings or concentrate.
  • Being unable or unwilling to stop or cut down on alcohol or drug use.
  • Using alcohol or drugs specifically to get drunk or high.
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs to sleep and changes in sleep patterns.
  • Change in mood when using alcohol or other drugs (becoming loud/angry or quiet/depressed).
  • Physical changes: increased tolerance, blackouts, development of physical or psychological dependence, and/or experiencing withdrawal symptoms during periods of non-use.

Educate Yourself

If you would like more information about alcohol and drug use in young adults, please contact one of the following organizations:

Alcohol and Other Drug Advisory Committee

Substance Abuse Education & Prevention Committee

The purpose of the Substance Abuse Education & Prevention Committee is to guide activities related to alcohol and other drugs on campus. This committee will:

  • Review and recommend policy, structural and program changes that focus on alcohol and drug education and prevention on campus;
  • Share information about alcohol and drug programming, concerns, statistics and outcomes on campus;
  • Promote conversations and collaborations across campus related to alcohol and drug issues; and
  • Evaluate the WELL 085 Alcohol Education and Prevention Workshop on an annual basis to ensure the course adequately reflects the challenges and issues facing University of Richmond students.

Members:

Tracy Cassalia, Chair
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students & Substance Abuse Education & Prevention Coordinator

Eric Beatty
Police Sargent, University of Richmond Police Department

Patrick Benner
Director, Residence Life & Undergraduate Student Housing

Sherry Ceperich
Licensed Psychologist, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

Lynne Deane 
Medical Director, Student Health Center

Dan Fabian
Associate Dean, Richmond College

Zara Sibtain
Associate Dean, Westhampton College

Slade Gormus
Registered Nurse & Peer Health Education Coordinator, Student Health Center

Alison Keller
Director, Center for Student Involvement

Dave McCoy
Associate Vice President of Public Safety, Chief of Police

Meg Pevarski
Assistant Director, Greek Life

Sarah Sheppard
Manager, Health Education & Wellness

Wendy Sheppard
Assistant Director, Sports & Risk Management

Beth Simonds
Assistant Police Chief, University of Richmond Police Department

LaRee Sugg
Associate Athletic Director Sports Programs/SWA - Athletic Administrator

Blake Widdowson
Director, Retail Operations, Dining Services

Resources

The University of Richmond offers prevention education, intervention and support for minimizing and addressing concerns related to alcohol and other drugs.

The following on-campus resources are available to students:

Counseling & Psychological Services

804-289-8119

Health Promotion

804-289-8581

Law School Dean’s Office 

804-289-8740

Richmond College Dean’s Office 

804-289-8061

Sports Medicine (student athletes only)

804-289-8928

Student Health Center

804-289-8064

Substance Abuse Education & Prevention Coordinator 

804-289-8464

University of Richmond Police Department 

804-287-6806

Westhampton College Dean’s Office 

804-289-8468

The following resource is available to Faculty & Staff:

Cigna Employee Assistance Program                       877-622-4327

Community resources are also available to all members of the University community:

Al-Anon

804-569-5155

http://alanonrichmond.org/

Alcoholics Anonymous 

804-355-1212

https://www.aarichmond.org/index.php

Narcotics Anonymous

800-407-7195

https://www.narcotics.com/

RVA Narcotics Anonymous 

804-965-1871

https://rvana.org/

Family Counseling Center for Recovery (FCCR)

804-354-1996

https://fccr-va.com/