Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs, Safety & Awareness

You might think that most college students use alcohol and drugs based on what you've seen on tv and in movies, but the reality is that most college students, including Ball State University students, aren't using alcohol and drugs as much or as often as perceived. 

Sober Events and Activities

Looking for sober activities on campus? Here are just a few to explore!

  • Late Nite: Known as the best bash on campus, Late Nite features a variety of activities in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center including movies, games, dance videos, arts and crafts, laser tag, rock climbing wall, and bands. Events are from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., and free food is provided. 
  • University Program Board: The University Program Board sponsors many programs throughout the academic year including dances, comedians, movies, and concerts featuring regional entertainment. 
  • Residence Halls: Each hall provides a number of social activities throughout the year for residents. 
  • Student Organizations: Many student groups offer weekend social activities for members and guests. These may include progressive dinners, movie nights, and card tournaments.
  • Emens Artists Series: The Artists Series runs during the academic year and features nationally recognized troupes and Broadway productions. Artist Series tickets are free to students and other Emens’ productions offer discounted tickets to students.
  • Athletic Events: Grab your friends and cheer on your favorite Cardinal team!
  • Field Station and Environmental Education Center: Check out upcoming events
  • Charles W. Brown Planetarium Calendar: Check out upcoming events
Alcohol Information

The more you drink, the more alcohol has an effect on you. Depending on your weight, gender, and height, a few drinks may be your legal limit.
Here, we have outlined how you feel as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) continues to rise.

BAC Level:        Effects:
0.02 - 0.03%    No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness.
                                    Depressant effects are not apparent.

0.04 - 0.06%    Feeling of well being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation
                                    of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning
                                    and memory, lowering of caution.

0.07 - 0.09%    Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time,
                                    and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are
                                    reduced; and caution, reason, and memory are impaired.

0.10 - 0.125%   Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good
                                    judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction
                                    time and hearing will be impaired. Euphoria.

0.13 - 0.15%    Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred
                                    vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced, and
                                    dysphoria is beginning to appear.

0.16 - 0.20%    Dysphoria predominates; nausea may appear. The drinker has
                                    the appearance of a "sloppy drunk."

0.25%                     Needs assistance in walking; total mental confusion.
                                    Dysphoria with nausea and some vomiting.

0.30%                   Loss of consciousness.

0.40% and up    Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory arrest.

Adapted from Drug Use in America Society, 2nd ed., 1988 by William J. Bailey (Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Company). Used with permission.

Alcoholism Risk Factors
The presence of one of these risk factors is suggestive of an increased risk of alcoholism.

  1. Family history of alcoholism or other drug abuse.
  2. Heavy alcohol abuse for more than one year.
  3. Drinking to intoxication before the age of 15.
  4. More than two drinking incidents per year that result in serious adverse consequences, such as an arrest, fight, blackout, nausea, etc.
  5. Consumption of tobacco in any form.
  6. Seeking out events at which alcohol will be served.
  7. Most of your friends are heavy drinkers.
An over consumption of alcohol can have very serious and dangerous effects. We encourage students who are of drinking age to be responsible when drinking. All students regardless of age should become familiar with the effects that drinking can cause.

Below, we have outlined several alcohol related problems and causes. We will discuss the general, short-term and long-term effects alcohol can have on your life.

General Effect:
Alcohol is a depressant drug that reduces activity in the central nervous system. The alcohol intoxicated person exhibits loose muscle tone, loss of fine motor coordination, and often has a staggering drunken gait. The eyes may appear somewhat glossy, and pupils may be slow to respond to stimulus. At high doses, pupils may become constricted. At high doses, alcohol can decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure and respiration rate, and result in decreased reflex responses and slower reaction time.

Short-Term Intoxication:
Consumption of more than two average sized servings of alcohol within several hours will produce measurable impairment of motor coordination and reasoning. The more alcohol consumed the greater the impairment. Although many states (including Indiana) set a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% by volume as a presumptive level of intoxication for certain purposes, intoxication and impairment begin at a much lower level. It is safest to avoid all alcohol if operating a vehicle or engaging in risky recreational activities. Intoxication at levels of 0.20% BAC and above presents risks of loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, injuries, and even overdose and death.

Although the average lethal dose is about 0.40%, overdose deaths occur in some situations with BACs near 0.20%.

Long-Term Heavy Drinking:
Drinking to the point of intoxication one or two times per week or more frequently over a period of several years can cause serious health consequences, including: liver disease and cirrhosis, circulatory problems and cardiomyopathy, nervous system damage and polyneuropathy, alcohol dependence, and psychosis. Alcohol abuse can increase the risks of certain types of cancers, including cancer of the tongue, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, and liver. The cancer-producing effects of alcohol abuse are increased by use of tobacco.

Laws Concerning Drinking or Serving Alcohol

The summary below is intended to provide an overview of some of the sections most relevant to university students. It is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Those needing legal advice should consult an attorney.

Alcohol Use by Persons Under the Age of 21

Indiana alcoholic beverages laws define the term "minor" as "a person less than twenty-one (21) years of age." Under Indiana Law, it is illegal for a minor:
• To possess an alcoholic beverage (even to hold a sealed container for another person).
• To consume an alcoholic beverage.
• To misrepresent his or her age for the purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages.
• To furnish false or altered identification of any type for purpose of providing evidence of age to obtain alcohol.
• To have in his or her possession false or fraudulent evidence of age.
• To drive an automobile being used to transport alcoholic beverages, unless the minor's parent or legal guardian is present in the car. (Note: When a minor operates a motor vehicle containing ANY alcoholic beverages she/he is subject to arrest, unless a parent or legal guardian is in the car. A 21 year-old-friend does NOT qualify a minor to operate a vehicle containing an alcoholic beverage. It is no defense that the beverage belongs to someone else or is unopened.)
• To "be in a tavern, bar, or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, provided, or furnished."

Criminal sanctions for such violations include a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment in a local jail for up to 60 days. In addition to the criminal sanctions, Indiana law mandates a 90 day to one year driver's license suspension for any minor who is convicted of using any type of fake ID, or of entering a bar or tavern or purchasing or procuring an alcoholic beverage (with or without using false or altered driver's license). Under certain circumstances, local prosecutors have used the "criminal code," rather than the "alcoholic beverage code," to prosecute users of fake ID's. Class A misdemeanor charges of "deception" and class C felony charges of "forgery" have sometimes been filed. Also under a new federal law, possession or use of fake or altered driver's licenses or state or federal ID cards can be punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and/or a five year jail term.

General Alcohol Laws (these apply to all persons regardless of age):

It is illegal:
• To be in a public place in a state of intoxication (also known as "public intoxication").
• To sell, barter, exchange, provide, or furnish an alcoholic beverage to a minor.
• To sell, barter, deliver, or give away an alcoholic beverage to a person who is intoxicated.
• To sell, barter, exchange, give, provide, or furnish an alcoholic beverage to a person known to be an alcohol abuser.
• To hinder, obstruct, interfere with, or prevent the observance or enforcement of the Indiana Alcohol Beverage Code. For a person 21 years of age or over to encourage, aid, or induce a minor to unlawfully possess or use an alcoholic beverage.
• To take an alcoholic beverage into bar, restaurant, or place of public entertainment. (Indiana Law prohibits patrons from taking any alcoholic beverage into any bar or other place without liquor license. It also prohibits taking liquor into any restaurant or place of public entertainment.)
• To possess alcoholic beverages on which Indiana tax has been unpaid or to transport untaxed beverages into the state.
• To directly or indirectly charge for alcoholic beverages without a license (including charging for food, entertainment, cups, napkins, tokens, etc. where alcoholic beverages are distributed-there are no loopholes). (NOTE: A one-day temporary permit is easily obtained. This permit allows you to charge for beer or wine but also allows police inspection of the premises without a warrant. Rules on minors, intoxicated guests, etc., would still apply.)

Criminal sanctions for such violations include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in a local jail for up to six months.

Alcohol or Other Drug Impaired Driving

It is illegal:
• To operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol, any controlled substance, any other drug, or any combination of alcohol, controlled substances, and other drugs).
• To operate a motor vehicle with 0.08% or more alcohol in the blood, even if intoxication is not proven.
• To operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with 0.08% or more alcohol in the blood if said operation results in serious bodily injury to another person.(FELONY)
• To operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with 0.08% or more alcohol in the blood if said operation results in the death of another person. (FELONY)
Indiana law states that anyone operating a motor vehicle within the state gives "implied consent" to submit to a chemical test of intoxication (breath, blood, or urine). Failure to submit to the test may be presented as evidence against the driver in court and will result in a longer driver's license suspension than if the driver took the test and failed it. The courts have ruled that failure to cooperate with a test will constitute refusal in the eyes of the court. (NOTE: It is illegal to drive a car while impaired - even at blood alcohol levels below 0.08) Criminal sanctions for such violations include fines and imprisonment, license suspensions, and can include mandatory education or treatment programs.

Parties, Permits, and "Common Nuisances"

Indiana law requires a license to "...Ship, barter, give away, exchange, furnish, or otherwise handle or dispose of an alcoholic beverage..." (except to give it to a family member or invited guest who is of legal age). This has been interpreted to mean that it is all right to serve over-21 friends a beer or two but one may not sell it or receive anything of value in exchange for it. If a party gets larger than "invited guests," or if admission is charged (or "donations" accepted), a temporary permit is required. Without a permit, one can be charged with
• Serving alcohol without a permit (a class B misdemeanor) or
• Maintaining a common nuisance (a class D felony)

Social Host Liability

Under civil law in Indiana, the host of a party might be sued for damage caused by a guest who was served alcohol negligently. Negligence is determined by juries, so it is hard to predict, but the following steps will reduce liability for negligent serving of alcohol: enforce state laws and don't serve minors or intoxicated people; limit consumption to reasonable levels and provide safe rides or a place for intoxicated people to stay until they are sober; avoid high risk activities like drunk driving. Use common sense.

A Caution for Guests...

Even non-drinking guests at parties where alcohol is being served could be at risk for an arrest or conviction. It is a crime to "visit a common nuisance" (i.e. an unlicensed big party). Minors could also be charged with "constructive possession" of alcohol if they are close enough to alcohol that it is "within their dominion for control."
Drug Information

Illegal drugs are defined in terms of their chemical formulas. To circumvent these legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs. These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. The narcotic analogs can cause symptoms such as those seen in Parkinson's disease--uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, and irreversible brain damage.

Analogs of amphetamines and methamphetamines cause nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, depression, and paranoia.

As little as one dose can cause brain damage. The analogs of phencyclidine cause illusions, hallucinations, and impaired perception.

Anabolic Steroids:
Anabolic steroids are often misused in an attempt to artificially induce increases in muscle strength or bulk. Serious health consequences may result from use of even small amounts of anabolic steroids, including problems such as: liver dysfunction, cysts, and tumors; high blood pressure and changes in blood chemistry; hardening of the arteries; weakness in heart muscle tissue; and cancer of the breast, prostate, and bladder.

Males may suffer from premature baldness, decreased testicle size and function, lower sperm count, decreased sex drive or impotence, and breast enlargement. Females may suffer from masculinization, decreased breast size, decreased sex drive, and unwanted body hair. Steroid use by adolescents may cause premature stoppage of bone growth resulting in smaller, shorter body size. Other side effects include acne, decreased immune system response, aggressiveness, and personality changes.

Chronic use of nicotine, through smoking, chewing, or snuff dipping, causes more deaths and disability than all other forms of drug abuse combined. Nearly one-fourth of all deaths in the United States are attributed to abuse of nicotine. The Surgeon General has determined that nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, and other chronic respiratory diseases; heart attacks and other circulatory problems; high blood pressure; stroke; cancers of the mouth, throat, stomach, bladder, and liver; ulcers and other digestive disorders; and a wide range of other conditions including increased dental cavities. There is no safe level of nicotine use. Recent government reports confirm that breathing other people's cigarette smoke causes thousands of additional deaths per year in nonsmokers. Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) use causes changes in the mouth, including sores that do not heal, erosion of gum tissue, increases in dental problems, leukoplakia, and oral cancers. The nicotine in smokeless tobacco causes heart attacks and other circulatory problems, high blood pressure, stroke, and digestive disorders. There is no safe level of nicotine use.

Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Users also may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes, and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.

Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly, and dependence is likely. The use of blood contaminated needles may result in diseases such as AIDS, endocarditis, and hepatitis. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn, or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Other Stimulants:
Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, and decreased appetite. In addition, users may experience sweating, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Extremely high doses can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and even physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, very high fever, or heart failure.

In addition to the physical effects, users reported feeling restless, anxious, and moody. Higher doses intensify the effects. Persons who use large amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. These symptoms usually disappear when drug use ceases.

Other Depressants:
The effects of depressants are in many ways similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness and relaxed muscles, but somewhat larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering gait, and altered perception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby multiplying the risks.

The use of depressants can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Regular use over time may result in a tolerance to the drug, leading the user to increase the quantity consumed. When regular users suddenly stop taking large doses, they may develop withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety to convulsions and death.

Aside from alcohol, there are several drugs that can also cause severe damage to your body.

We ask that you read and become familiar with these drugs so that you can make an informed decision. Again, Ball State does not tolerate drug use of any kind.

The follow information was adapted in part from U. S. Department of Education, Schools Without Drugs, 1987.

Marijuana, Hashish, and Hash Oil:
All forms of marijuana have negative physical and mental effects. Several regularly observed effects of marijuana are a substantial increase in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and throat, and increased appetite.
Use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce the ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car. Research also shows that students do not retain knowledge when they are "high." Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis.
Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible, marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco. Long-term users of marijuana may develop psychological dependence and require more of the drug to get the same effect. The drug can become the center of their lives.

Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose while chronic use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose.

Injecting cocaine with un-sterile equipment is known to transmit the virus that causes AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases. Preparation of freebase, which involves the use of volatile solvents, can result in death or injury from fire or explosion. Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency, a feeling that the user cannot function without the drug. In addition, tolerance develops rapidly. Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive, and its effects are felt within 10 seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures. The use of cocaine can cause death by disrupting the brain's control of the heart and respiration.

Phencyclidine (PCP) interrupts the functions of the neocortex, the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries. The effects of PCP vary, but users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body movements are slowed down. Muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. Speech is blocked and incoherent.

Chronic users of PCP report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties. Some of these effects may last six months to a year following prolonged daily use. Mood disorders--depression, anxiety, and violent behavior--also occur. In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations. Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, heart and lung failure, or ruptured blood vessels in the brain. Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and tremors.

Sensations and feelings may change rapidly. It is common to have a bad psychological reaction to LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Delayed effects or flashbacks can occur even after use has ceased.

Safe and Drug-Free Campus

The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101-226) requires that the university adopt and implement a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by employees and students.  This document is being published to comply with the provisions of this act.

Ball State has and continues to provide programs, services, and activities designed to encourage you to develop and practice a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. The information provides summary information on laws, health risks, expectations and consequences, and resources that have been created to educate about and discourage abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs.

The use, possession, sale, or transfer of narcotics, drugs or hallucinogens is prohibited on campus, except as permitted by law. Ball State's drug policy appears in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as Appendix B.

The summary below is intended to provide an overview of some of the sections relevant to university students. It is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Those needing legal advice should consult an attorney.

Laws Concerning Controlled Substances

Controlled Substances
"Controlled Substances" are regulated drugs that have been determined to have special "abuse potential." Such drugs include; marijuana, hashish or hash oil, cocaine, LSD and other hallucinogens, barbiturates and other sedative-hypnotics, amphetamines and other prescription stimulants, MDMA (Ecstasy), PCP, and similar drugs. It is illegal under both state and federal to:

• Manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance.
• Deal in a substance represented to be a controlled substance (including counterfeit, "look-alike" drugs).
• Manufacture, advertise, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, advertise or distribute a substance represented to be a controlled substance.
• Possess, without a valid prescription, a controlled substance.
• Visit a building, structure, vehicle, or other place used by person to unlawfully use a controlled substance.
• Possess, manufacture, deal in, or deliver drug paraphernalia (an instrument, device, or other object intended for use for introducing a controlled substance into a body or for enhancing the effect or testing a controlled substance).

Criminal sanctions for such violations can include fines from $5,000 to $10,000 under state law and up to $25,000 under federal law, and imprisonment in a state prison for up to 50 years or in a federal prison for up to life. The sanction imposed will be determined by; (1) the classification of the controlled substance, (2) the quantity involved, (3) the nature of the offense (sale, use, etc.), (4) the age of the recipient (higher penalties for possession, sale or delivery near a school, etc.), and (5) the prior criminal record of the offender. More detailed information may be obtained by consulting the Indiana Criminal Code or the Federal Controlled Substances Act, as amended.

Anabolic Steroids
Under Indiana law, it is a criminal offense to manufacture, deliver, possess, or use an anabolic steroid without a valid and legal prescription. It is illegal for a physician or other licensed practitioner to issue a prescription for an anabolic steroid for enhancing performance in an exercise, sport, or game, or to increase muscle mass, strength, or weight without a medical necessity. Criminal sanctions for such violations can include fines and/or imprisonment. More detailed information may be obtained by consulting the Indiana Code.

Indiana Tobacco Laws
It is illegal for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or possess tobacco, and it is illegal to sell tobacco to a person under the age of 18. A person purchasing a tobacco product must have proper identification for proof of age. A fine of up to $500 may be imposed for such violations. Indiana law also prohibits smoking in public buildings (including all Ball State properties), except in designated smoking areas and private residence rooms (this includes some apartments in Scheidler Apartments but no residence hall rooms). A fine up to $500 may be imposed for such violations. 

Federal Student Financial Aid Recipients
Students who receive federal aid are required to disclose on the FAFSA any drug convictions that occurred while receiving federal aid. A drug conviction while receiving federal aid can result in suspension of eligibility and a requirement to return financial aid received during a period of ineligibility. Students who lose eligibility due to a drug conviction can seek restoration of eligibility.

In response to former President George H. W. Bush's national drug control strategy, Congress passed legislation to require schools, colleges, and universities to implement and enforce drug prevention programs and policies as a condition of eligibility to receive federal financial assistance.

On December 12, 1989, President Bush signed the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Amendments) Public Law 101-226. Section 22 of the Amendments amends provisions for the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require that, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program after Oct. 1, 1990, a university or college must submit certification that it has adopted and implemented a drug prevention program.

As set forth in the above referenced statute, Ball State is required to provide at a minimum, an annual distribution in writing to each employee and student the following information.

  1. Standards of conduct that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by employees and students on its property or as part of its activities;
  2. A description of applicable legal sanctions under local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol;
  3. A description of health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol;
  4. A description of available drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation or re-entry programs;
  5. A clear statement of the disciplinary sanctions that Ball State will impose on employees and students and a description of termination of employment and referral for prosecution for the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. Disciplinary sanctions may also include completing an appropriate rehabilitation program; and
  6. A biennial review by Ball State of its program to determine the effectiveness, implement needed changes, and ensure that disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.

What is Narcan?

FDA-approved nasal spray used to treat a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency.

To learn how to identify overdose, contact emergency personnel, and administer Narcan, utilize the Addictions Coalition of Delaware County's Narcan Simulation.

What are Fentanyl Test Strips? 

A low cost method of helping to prevent drug overdoses and reducing harm by testing for unknown fentanyl in other substances

To learn how to use fentanyl test strips and where to access them, utilize the Addictions Coalition of Delaware County's Fentanyl Test Strip Simulation.