UNH and Durham officials speak about safety with alcohol

Bret Belden

Alongside the Nov. 14 print version of this article, there are two photos of Libby’s Bar and Grill in Downtown Durham, but The New Hampshire is not implying that Libby’s is directly connected with the content of this article.

According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 60 percent of college students from ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month. Whether it is responsible choices, binge drinking or both, college students nationwide should always know the importance of alcohol safety. 

Amid rumors that a person was roofied at a local bar last weekend, Deputy Chief Rene Kelly told The New Hampshire that he has heard no indication of anything of that sort taking place in Durham, but he took time to speak about how to be safe when drinking on or near college campuses. 

While Kelly said there was no apparent incident of the sort, it does not mean that the University of New Hampshire (UNH) is free of this type of risk. Whether out in public or in a private location, there are risks that come with drinking on college campuses that students should be aware of. 

 “Spiked drinks are very real, and are happening on college campuses,” Health & Wellness Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Educator/Counselor Michael Glennon said in an email. He said they can be present anywhere, on campus or off, wherever alcohol and parties are involved. 

Glennon suggested some points to look out for in order to be aware if someone has been drugged or avoid drinks being spiked in these situations. Signs of extreme intoxication (including slurring, blurry vision and confusion) especially when very little alcohol has been consumed can be an indicator that a drink has been spiked. He said to never leave a drink unattended, and to leave drinks alone if they have been left behind. 

Staying within drinking limits is another way to combat the risk of drinks being spiked, Glennon said, because avoiding higher levels of intoxication can allow students to be more aware and able to think through situations like turning down a free drink from a stranger. 

Kelly had similar advice for students – “it’s common sense really, don’t drink to excess, be aware of your surroundings.”  

The importance of the buddy system is another strategy students should keep in mind when they are drinking.  

 Glennon said it is important for friends to respect each other and adhere to each other’s advice when it comes to slowing down or stopping throughout the night. The buddy system, according to Glennon, is a good way to practice “low risk strategies” when students choose to drink. 

“It goes beyond just not walking home alone or leaving a party alone, but extends into friends monitoring their friend drinking,” Glennon said.