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Students may be tempted to slip into or maintain patterns of alcohol misuse while abroad. Drinking abroad can pose serious dangers, such as:
- Drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs may cause a student to be disoriented and limit their reasoning skills. The result is that students can become lost or the likelihood of being a victim of crime, including theft, armed robbery, and especially sexual assault increases.
- Drinking too much alcohol can make people feel terrible, exacerbate mental health conditions, damage their long-term health and, in extreme amounts, kill them.
- Drinking lowers inhibitions and the ability to make sound decisions, which can result in engaging in risky sexual behavior, accidents (falling out of a window, drowning, and so on), and even death. Because of this, alcohol is often used as a weapon by predators to commit sexual assault.
- Drinking alcohol while taking certain medications can be dangerous to one's health. Students who do not take their medications so they can drink are already exhibiting signs of misuse and addiction of alcohol and should seek help. The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism has further details.
Adapted from Michigan State University’s Alcohol Use and Misuse webpage.
CGIS Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policy
Students participating in CGIS programs must abide by the local laws of the host country as well as the University-wide drug and alcohol policy. The University-wide drug and alcohol policy stresses health risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse, counseling and treatment programs available, and sanctions to be imposed by UM depending on the severity of the violation. Violation of local laws and/or UM policy may result in immediate dismissal from the program. In the case of dismissal, the student will receive no credit and no refund.
CGIS will initiate disciplinary action against any students who are inebriated or intoxicated to the point that their behavior threatens the safety or well-being of themselves or others, is disruptive to the program, causes damage to the reputation of the University of Michigan, or threatens the University’s relationship with any of their partners. This is independent of any disciplinary actions that might be taken by others. Disciplinary action could include a behavioral agreement, completion of the University Health Service’s BASICS program, or dismissal from the program.
If students who can legally drink decide to drink, it is safest to do so only in moderation. To help students make sound choices and be advocates of not drinking or drinking responsibly, the University Health Service initiated the Stay in the Blue program. This program will help to ensure that students don’t need a "babysitter," can help friends who may be drinking too much, and know how to respond to alcohol emergencies. This site speaks more to dangers of binge drinking.
Any student on a CGIS program found to be using or possessing illegal drugs will be subject to disciplinary action that could include immediate dismissal from the program. Note that in case of dismissal, the student will receive no credit and no refund. There is very little that anyone can do to help if students are caught with drugs while abroad, and the resulting fines, imprisonment, and other penalties may be extremely harsh.
Students are not permitted to use marijuana while on a study abroad program. As stated in the University Drug and Alcohol Policy, "Neither this new state law [Proposal 18-1], nor the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, authorize the use or possession of marijuana on any property owned or managed by U-M, and by U-M's faculty, staff, or students on any U-M property or during off-campus U-M business or events." Study abroad falls under 'off-campus U-M business.'
Additionally, many program providers and partner universities ban the use of marijuana in their drug policies. It is best to abstain from marijuana use on a study abroad program for all of these reasons.
When on independent travel, students should note that recreational and medical marijuana are illegal in many locations abroad and that they are not exempt from local drug laws.