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Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use

While many of the countries where students will be studying abroad may have a legal drinking age lower than that in the United States, some countries may have very strict laws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol altogether. You should take the time to understand the laws and cultures of your host country, and if you choose to drink, you should do so in a moderate and culturally sensitive manner and should ensure that you are in compliance with all local laws.

However, alcohol misuse will not be tolerated by AU Abroad and could lead to removal from the program at your expense. Alcohol misuse is defined as any use that is harmful or potentially harmful to you or to others. Examples of alcohol misuse include but are not limited to:
  • Missing classes or any scheduled event because of the effects of alcohol consumption;
  • Engaging in inappropriate behavior toward other individuals that is the result of alcohol consumption;
  • Engaging in destructive behavior toward property that is the result of alcohol consumption;
  • Not abiding by the laws of the country in which you are staying;
  • Engaging in behavior that causes embarrassment to the other members of the group, the program leader(s), or the in-country host(s) as a result of alcohol consumption;
  • Engaging in behavior that causes your companions concern for your safety or that of the group;
As for illegal drugs, you should avoid them completely. AU Abroad has a no tolerance approach to illegal drug use abroad and students using illegal drugs will be removed from their program at their own cost. In addition, most countries abroad have drugs laws that are much stricter than the United States. For example, in several countries, possession of a relatively small amount of illegal drugs can be grounds for mandatory sentences or even the death penalty. In some countries it can be illegal even to enter the country with drugs still in your system. If you are purchasing prescription medications in quantities larger than considered necessary for personal use, you could be arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking.

A few words of advice before you depart:

  • Research the laws concerning alcohol in your host country and know the legal drinking age.
  • Understand how alcohol and the consumption of alcohol is viewed from a cultural perspective in your host country.
  • Understand how your body is affected by alcohol. 
  • Understand that drinking too much is one of the primary causes of accidents and injuries abroad. There have been cases in the last few years where alcohol has contributed to the accidental death of study abroad students. 

and while you are abroad:

  • If you plan to drink - do it moderately and in a culturally sensitive manner and never alone. 
  • Never leave your drink unattended at a party or in a bar, and do not accept drinks from people that you do not know well.  There is a possibility that someone may attempt to drug you by pouring Rohypnol (also called "ruffies" or the “date rape” drug) and GHB into your drink. These two drugs that are often implicated in sexual assaults.
  • If you drink too much and become ill, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not buy, sell or use drugs.

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