Your experiences and memories from Queen's will be heavily influenced by the lifestyle you choose and the decisions that you make. If drinking alcohol is a part of your life, you can improve your level of safety and awareness by knowing the facts and risks about alcohol consumption.
- Stand up to pressure: In a 2008 survey, a majority of Queen's students reported that they had been pressured to drink or drink more. If you choose to drink, then what, when, where, and how much you drink are your choices too. You can learn and practice some strategies for saying no and standing up to pressure, as published by Peel Region Public Health.
- Plan ahead: Think about the parts of going out and drinking that you enjoy and the parts that you don't, and plan your night so you can experience as much as possible of the former, and as little as possible of the latter. If you know you will be drinking alcohol, make sure you eat beforehand. If you are going out, plan a way to get home before you leave. Stick with your friends. You can also follow these Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines produced by the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
- Know your limits: Be aware of changes in your body and signals that you have had enough to drink. You are more likely to be involved in a sexual assault if you are severely intoxicated. Try taking the E-Chug Challenge, a self-assessment tool which will provide you with feedback on your own alcohol use, including calculating your BAC, and suggesting your likelihood of dependency, based on an analysis of your family history. It's sponsored by Every Drink is a Choice, a Kingston website that provides alcohol information like standard drink sizes, safer partying strategies, and the risks of alcohol use.
- The number one drug in reported drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) is alcohol. Don't let your drink out of your sight, and only take drinks from others if you've watched them be poured or opened. The Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada has compiled information, prevention strategies and statistics relating to DFSA, all available online. If you think that you have experienced sexual assault, don't hesitate to call Sexual Assault Centre Kingston's 24-hour crisis line is 613-544-6424 (toll free 1-877-544-6424). For more resources, see the Abuse and Sexual Harassment page of this site.
- Get help: If a friend is severely intoxicated, you can call the Campus Observation Room (COR), a non-medical detox centre on campus, for advice (613-533-6911). You can also bring someone in for observation and assessment. The COR is generally open Friday and Saturday nights during the fall semester (before the exam period begins). If COR isn't open, you can call or visit the Kingston Detox Centre at 613-549-6461 (toll free 1-888-795-6688).
- Find the facts: Check out the Be Well-Do Well website from Queen's Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS). It has an alcohol information page with tips and facts about student alcohol use at Queen's, assisting someone who is intoxicated, and dealing with hangovers.
Alcohol poisoning is a real and serious threat to Queen's students. Alcohol poisoning occurs when so much alcohol has been consumed that the body can no longer uphold vital involuntary functions like breathing, gag reflex (for choking), temperature regulation, and consciousness. Hypothermia, hypoglycemia (and seizures), and death are a few of the potential results. Be Well-Do Well, a division of Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS), lists some of the critical signs as mental coma, slow (less than 10 breaths per minute) or irregular breathing, hypothermia (with a pale or light bluish skin tone), seizures, and vomiting. If someone appears to have alcohol poisoning - and not all symptoms need to be present - call 911 for help immediately. For more information, see the alcohol section of the Be Well - Do Well website.