Alcohol and Other Drug Social Norms

Student Wellness Services developed an alcohol and other drug social norms campaign based on data from the UNI National College Health Assessment. The data shows that many UNI students greatly overestimate the amount of high-risk drinking or drug use that occurs at UNI. Contrary to this belief, our data shows that many UNI students are making responsible and healthy choices related to alcohol and other drugs. We are seeking to provide students with an accurate picture of alcohol and other drug use on campus in effort to influence healthy behaviors and reduce substance abuse at UNI. Check out the graphics below to gain a clearer perspective on UNI students’ alcohol and other drug use.

1 in 3
8 out of 10 UNI students eat before and/or during drinking.


8 out of 10


9 out of 10
The majority of panthers.


The majority of panthers have never tried cannabis.

Protective Factors

If you choose not to include drinking in your plans, you are not alone! In fact, 1 in 3 UNI students choose not to drink alcohol according to the 2022 UNI National College Health Assessment. However, if you choose to drink, consider these safety measures:

  • If you plan to drink, maintain your buzz and avoid regrets/poor decisions by staying in your "sweet spot"! Follow these sweet spot tips:
    • Set a limit on how many standard drinks you will have and keep track. Blood alcohol content (BAC)calculators are great options to estimate where your BAC is so you can plan effectively.
    • Slow down and drink at your own pace! Pace drinks to one or less per hour.
    • Choose drinks that contain less alcohol by volume.
  • Make a plan outlining your personal limits! Think about how much alcohol you want to consume if you choose to drink, how you will get a safe ride, and how you might refuse or turn down a drink if offered.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. If you lose sight of it, get a new one!
  • Avoid drinking games and shots. It's easy to lose track of how much alcohol you are consuming and can lead to consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time.
  • Keep an eye on your friends. Agree to watch out for each other. Go out with a group of people you trust and leave with the group you came with. Never leave someone stranded in an unfamiliar/unsafe situation.
  • Know the potential risks & consequences of drinking underage, understand the Iowa alcohol laws, and be aware of UNI’s alcohol and other drug policy.
Understand the UNI student conduct code.
Alcohol laws you should know.


  • Underage drinking can lead to long-term effects in brain development, criminal records, fines for UNI and/or the criminal system, and other legal problems.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs (legal or illegal).
  • Mixing alcohol and drugs could lead to dangerous reactions and increases your risk of alcohol overdose. In addition, alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication toxic to your body.
  • If you are taking a prescription medication, such as anti-anxiety or anti-depression drugs, alcohol may affect you differently than it has in the past. If you are planning to consume alcohol, make sure you first speak with your doctor to best understand how alcohol and your medication will interact.
  • It’s difficult to know exactly how cannabis/marijuana will affect you every time you use it. When mixed with alcohol, it may cause nausea, vomiting, panic, anxiety, paranoia, or other psychotic symptoms, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Learn more about harmful interactions with mixing alcohol and medications.
  • Take the Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO online assessment to receive personalized feedback about your alcohol use.
  • If you see any of the following signs of alcohol overdose/poisoning, call 911 for help:
    • Cold, clammy skin / pale or bluish skin
    • Unconscious / semi-conscious
    • Prolonged vomiting / very rapid or very slow pulse
    • Slow, shallow or irregular breathing / seizures
  • Panthers take care of one another. We encourage students to seek medical or professional help for someone who needs it. In turn, students who seek medical assistance for themselves or another person, due to intoxication of alcohol and/or other drugs may not be held accountable through the student conduct process. The student(s) may be required to complete an educational sanction, but not further conduct action. Questions about the Good Samaritan Provision? Visit the Dean of Students Staff in Gilchrist 118 or call 319-273-2332.

Additional tips to add to your safety checklist!

How much is too much?
Stay in your sweet spot.
Panthers protect if you see the signs.


Have fun without drinking.
Know the signs - help a friend or yourself.