Too much of a good thing?

substance use iconSubstance use is common in our society, with just over half of the US population 12 years of age and older, having had a drink in the past month (according to SAMHSA data).

Unfortunately, substance abuse is, too. And that can look a lot of different ways. If you choose to use substances, consider the following tips to stay on top of things, and stay safe.


For all substances

Use the buddy system

Be sure you’re with at least one person you trust. Most substances reduce our inhibitions and raise our tolerance of risk (think of “liquid courage”). Having a buddy with you—someone who knows you when you’re sober, and who cares about you, will help you make decisions you won’t regret.


Remember that it’s not consent when you or your sexual partner(s) are inebriated.

Pace yourself

Just pace yourself. Remember the whole point is to have a good time. Overdoing it is never a good time. Skip a round, drink water, take breaks.

Exit strategy

Before you go out, make sure you have a plan for how to get home safely.

Stay hydrated

Most substances have a dehydrating effect. Many also distort our bodily senses, making it harder to know when we’re thirsty. Bring water and drink it.

Sit one out

Your friends will respect and support your well-being. If you want a night off, honor yourself with it.

Alcohol use

Buffer with food

Eat a meal before drinking. The food in your stomach will ease your body’s absorption of alcohol and help keep you from getting too drunk too fast.

All drinks are not equal

Pay attention to what and how much alcohol is in your drinks. The basic rule is that a can of beer (12 oz), a glass of wine (5 oz), and a shot of liquor (1.5 oz) have roughly a similar amount of alcohol in them. However, taking a shot typically goes a lot fast than drinking a beer, and this impacts how drunk you get. What's more, there's a lot of variation between beers, from 3% to 10% alcohol, and in liquors and mixed drinks, too.



Titrate your dose

While many commercially available edibles come in 10mg doses, make sure you check the label. And give edibles time to kick in. It takes a lot longer for THC to get into your bloodstream when you eat it.

Smoking, dabbing, vaping, edibles

Different methods of inhaling cannabis can carry different levels of potency. Take it easy, take it slow, and get familiar with your own thresholds. And when you eat cannabis, it takes a lot longer to kick in (like 45 minutes to an hour) and it comes on gradually, so start small, and give it time. Smoking and vaping are prohibited on FLC’s campus.

Limits to legality

While recreational cannabis is once again legal in Colorado for adults, it remains criminalized at the federal level, and in neighboring states. Be aware of your stash when you cross borders into federal land (e.g. US Forest Service land) or into adjacent states. Treat decriminalization with respect.

Take the quiz

How's your substance use? Too much of a good thing? Keeping it reasonable? Take this quick, anonymous quiz to assess your substance use, courtesy of Student Wellness.

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