Safety Abroad: Alcohol
Although alcohol misuse may not carry the same legal penalties as use of illegal drugs, it can create dire circumstances for you, your participation in the program, your safety on site, and the future of the program. Remember that you are serving as an ambassador of UM-Flint, Michigan, and the United States.
Although there may be no minimum or a lower drinking age in your host country, the customs regarding alcohol use may be very different from ours. You may be tempted to slip into – or maintain – patterns of alcohol misuse while abroad. Such use may occur for a variety of reasons: a mistaken impression of how alcohol is used in your new surroundings; lower costs in some countries; a lower minimum drinking age; more lenient laws against drunkenness; or a desire to experiment or fit in. Alcohol abuse and misuse are not tolerated anywhere in the world and will not be tolerated on UM-Flint study abroad programs.
Violation of local laws and/or UM-Flint regulations or policies may result in (i) immediate dismissal from the program; (ii) academic withdrawal from the University for the term in progress; and (iii) disciplinary action upon return to campus. During your orientation you will be informed of program requirements and host country laws regarding alcohol consumption, as well as the consequences for misuse. Most countries, with the exception of those with religious prohibitions, tolerate social drinking. Intoxication, public drunkenness and inebriating behavior, however, are seldom allowed under any circumstances. If you are covered by additional insurance for an extended stay, note that many insurance policies will not cover expenses incurred for injury resulting from your being legally intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol misuse is defined as any use that is harmful or potentially harmful to self or others. Alcohol abuse is planned, systematic misuse of alcohol. Alcohol misuse is present when:
- A student misses any scheduled event because of the effects of alcohol consumption;
- A student becomes ill due to the effects of alcohol consumption;
- A student is disrespectful of others sharing the same or neighboring housing, due to the effects of alcohol consumption;
- A student engages in inappropriate behavior toward other individuals that is the result of alcohol consumption;
- A student engages in destructive behavior toward property that is the result of alcohol consumption;
- A student does not abide by the alcoholic beverage laws of the country in which he or she is staying;
- A student engages in behavior that causes embarrassment to the other members of the group, the faculty member(s) or the in-country host(s) as a result of alcohol consumption;
- Students in a group encourage or ignore a fellow student who is misusing or abusing alcohol; or
- A student transports quantities of alcohol to program sites with the intent of sharing the alcohol with members of the group.
Students are encouraged to use good judgment if consuming alcohol at private homes or other accommodations during non-program hours. Student groups are encouraged to discuss issues related to alcohol abuse by other members of their group with the faculty leader or resident director. Peers should look out for each other and keep each other safe.
Alcohol Overdose Emergency
If a student becomes incapacitated due to alcohol overuse, or if he/she is in need of medical attention, other students are strongly encouraged to contact a local emergency medical service, faculty leader or resident director immediately, in order to protect the health and well-being of the affected student.
The individual needing medical attention will not receive disciplinary sanction in these circumstances, but rather will be referred for assistance to address issues of chemical use/abuse. Peers are encouraged to make the responsible choice to notify program or emergency personnel quickly.