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Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol Use

For many Villanova students, study abroad may be the first time that they can legally consume alcohol. Villanova University will not prohibit students from drinking alcoholic beverages if the student is of legal drinking age overseas. However, with this additional right there is increased responsibility to use alcohol in a conscientious manner. As a study abroad student, you are responsible for compliance with the laws of the country where you choose to live and study, and you are also expected to show prudence in all of your behavior while abroad, including the consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

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Responsible use of alcohol occurs when:

  • You abide by the laws of the country or state in which you are living.
  • You do not miss any scheduled event because of the effects of alcohol consumption.
  • You do not become ill due to the effects of alcohol consumption.
  • You do not engage in inappropriate behavior toward other individuals as a result of alcohol consumption.
  • You do not engage in destructive behavior toward property as a result of alcohol consumption.
  • You do not engage in behavior that causes embarrassment to the other members of your group, the faculty members or the in-country hosts as a result of alcohol consumption.
  • You do not facilitate or encourage or ignore a fellow student who is abusing alcohol.
  • You refrain from transporting quantities of alcohol to program sites with the intent of sharing the alcohol with members of the group.
  • You utilize good judgment when consuming alcohol at private homes or other accommodations during non-program hours.

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Consequences of Drinking Too Much

Alcohol and drug use is the major factor in the development of health problems, crimes, injuries and even death overseas, particularly in study abroad programs. This includes serious injuries, sexual assault and drowning. Alcohol and drug use can affect one's ability to comprehend dangerous situations and decrease awareness in an unfamiliar setting. This danger and risk is only compounded by language and cultural differences. Students must understand that they will be living in a different culture with different laws governing drinking and drugs.

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Accidents and Injuries

Accidents and injuries are common among those who consume too much alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, perception, and concentration. Impairment of these skills can result in a range of accidents, including falling down a flight of stairs or tripping on the sidewalk. The injuries resulting from such accidents can be minor or they can be severe. There are many examples of college students who have died in accidents while intoxicated. These accidental deaths include several students who have fallen from balconies or bedroom windows, drowned in lakes or ponds on the way home from a party, or tripped on the sidewalk.

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Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol, when consumed in excess, can cause alcohol poisoning. The effects of alcohol poisoning can range from vomiting to falling into a coma and may even result in death. Too much alcohol can cause vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, to slow down and even stop, which results in death. Very often someone who dies from alcohol poisoning passes out and is allowed to 'sleep it off.' This is a mistake. Anyone who drinks so much that they become unconscious or exhibit any of the signs below should receive immediate medical attention.

Warning signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
  • Slow rate of respiration (eight breaths per minute or less)
  • Irregular rate of respiration (ten seconds or more between breaths)
  • Vomiting while 'sleeping' or passed out without waking up
  • Disoriented to time and place and does not know where they are
  • Unconsciousness and inability to be awakened

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Unprotected Sex and Sexual Assault

Alcohol use can result in a number of sexual consequences, including unprotected sex and sexual assault. Many sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol on the part of the perpetrator or the victim. Alcohol misuse can result in impaired judgement, which can put you at risk for becoming involved in a sexual assault.

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Illegal Drugs

Villanova University prohibits the unlawful possession, distribution, or use of illicit drugs and/or controlled substances on any property owned or rented by the University or in any program or activity sponsored by the University in any location. Any student violating policy regarding illicit drugs, and/or controlled substances will be subject to disciplinary action and may face additional actions by the overseas courts.

American visitors abroad are particularly vulnerable when it concerns violations - intentional or unintentional - of local rules and regulations concerning alcohol and, in particular, drugs. Be aware that the use, purchase, sale, or possession of illegal drugs can result in imprisonment and/or fines. All visitors will be subject to the laws of the host country and there is little that can be done by the U.S. Embassy to secure a release. The process of law and punishment can be far more arbitrary overseas than within the United States and more often than not may lead to prolonged imprisonment under substandard conditions. Hundreds of Americans are jailed each year for illegal drug use and this type of behavior is not worth the risk.

Any student who uses, buys, or sells illegal drugs can be expelled from the program by the host university, program provider, resident director or faculty program coordinator, and will be immediately returned to the United States at his/her own expense. One violation will be cause for removal from the program. Separation from the program will result in loss of academic credit. The costs of legal advice, fines, and return travel must be borne by the violator.

Alcohol and Drug Information Source: University of Minnesota, Learning Abroad Center.

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Contact Us!

Office of Education Abroad

Villanova University
Top Floor, Garey Hall
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610-519-6412
Fax: 610-519-7649

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Take the first step: Register for an Information Session

Meet with a Study Abroad Adviser: Schedule an Individual Meeting

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