Photo illustration by Cade Schmidt//AS Review

Earlier this year, Western’s Prevention and Wellness Services launched an alcohol-education campaign, known as “Social Norms,” which aims to provide accurate information about student-drinking habits.

Elva Giddings, PWS director, said she thinks many students believe the misconceptions that all of their peers drink and that most of them drink in excessive amounts.

The goal of the Social Norms campaign is to emphasize safety and health, as well as encourage individual choice, Giddings said.
While she said there is no way to be completely safe while drinking, she encouraged students to minimize the risks involved in drinking, which can include hangovers (your body takes at least 48 hours to fully heal from a night of heavy drinking), lack of quality sleep, injuries, memory loss, sexual assault, legal trouble, fights and bad grades, according to PWS.

“Get educated about what you need to know in order to make low-risk choices, Giddings said. “Take care of yourself and your friends.”

 including risking getting an MIP in order to get someone medical assistance if they are exhibiting signs indicating an alcohol overdose.”

Washington’s “Good Samaritan law,” which took effect in 2010, allows a person to seek medical help for someone overdosing on drugs or alcohol without either individual facing criminal charges for illegal possession. The law also states that if a person witnesses someone overdosing, they are responsible for seeking medical help.

Western senior Lucy Nolan regularly goes downtown to the bars with her friends on the weekend, though she said she does not drink every night. She said she always tries to keep her friends safe while they enjoy their night out, and would advise others to be smart and reduce risks as well.

“You should pace yourself and don’t drink a bunch right away. You’ll get extremely drunk when it hits you,” Nolan said. “Drink water and eat while drinking; it slows down how fast the alcohol metabolizes in your body.”

Western Wellness, an online program sponsored by the PWS, gives students an overview of health and wellness issues. All freshmen students are required to complete the program at the beginning of the school year.

The program consists of nine topics that have articles, quizzes and videos to educate students on health and wellness topics, Giddings said.

Reducing risks while drinking can also help one avoid sexual assault. According to the PWS, 91 percent of the survivors of sexual assault are female. Nolan said that making sure you never go home with someone you don’t know is one way to protect yourself.

In the past, Nolan said she has stepped in and stopped friends from heading home with strangers. 

To avoid losing track any of her friends while leaving parties or downtown bars, Nolan said they always walk home or get a cab as a group.

“Never go home with someone you just met, even if they seem nice,” she said.