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Alcohol & Drugs Impact

Alcohol & Drugs

While some believe that experimenting with alcohol and drug use are an essential part of the traditional college experience, the following statistics may give a more accurate picture of what “normal” is:

  • 28.5% of Fairmont State students have NEVER used alcohol
  • 2.2% of Fairmont State students are in recovery from alcohol or other drugs. 
  • 23.8% of Fairmont State students had 7 or more drinks the last time they consumed alcohol. 
  • 70%% of Fairmont State students have NEVER used marijuana
  • 22% of Fairmont State students report vaping in the last 3 months
  • 2.3% of Fairmont State students report ever using an opiod for nonmedical use. 

Getting Help

Fairmont State is committed to providing students with drug and alcohol education, supportive counseling, and referral for treatment or rehabilitation.

Various Fairmont State departments provide substance misuse prevention programs throughout the academic year –please check your email frequently. Activities are typically held during Welcome Weekend, during the months of October and April.  

Counseling Services provides supportive counseling for recovery, psycho-educational substance misuse groups, and a variety of on-line tools. Students in need of substance misuse treatment have a variety of treatment and assistance options available:

Join Recovery Group Meetings - Mondays at 2 pm 316 Turley Center

Standards of Conduct

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students or employees on University property or as part of any other University regulated activities is prohibited.

Disciplinary Sanctions

The University will impose disciplinary sanctions on students who violate the above standards of conduct. Students should recognize the fact that for violation of these standards they will be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University and referral for prosecution. Read Fairmont State’s campus wide Policy on Drugs, Alcohol and Firearms.
Residence Life specific policies can be found in the Residence Life Guidebook provided to all on campus residents.

Health Risks Associated with Use of Illicit Drugs and Alcohol

The effects of alcohol and other drugs can be devastating, and include death, assault, sexual abuse, injury, academic problems, suicide attempts, and other health problems. Read more from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse

The use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol carry significant social, physical, and emotional health risks. Users may suffer damage to key body organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Drugs can kill the user, and the use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy may cause birth defects or death of unborn babies. Drug users may experience difficulties with concentration and memory that impair learning. They can exhibit mood swings, impaired judgment, isolation, and depression, all of which can contribute to impaired driving, injuries, accidents, domestic or random violence, and sexual assault. Drugs can be instrumental in the deterioration of family units and the breakdown of friendships and other support systems.

Possible Long-Term Effects

Marijuana and Hashish

Marijuana and hashish are deleterious to the health and impair the short-term memory and comprehension of the user. When used, they alter the sense of time and reduce the ability of the user to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination. They increase the heart rate and appetite. Motivation and thinking can be altered, making learning and retaining new information difficult. Long-term users may develop psychological dependence as well as paranoia and psychosis. Because these drugs are inhaled as unfiltered smoke, they damage the lungs and pulmonary system and contain more cancer-causing agents than tobacco.

Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine and crack stimulate the central nervous system and are extremely addictive. They can cause psychological and physical dependency which can lead to dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, paranoia, and seizures. They can also cause death by disrupting the brain's control of the heart and respiration.

Stimulants and Amphetamines

Other stimulant and amphetamine use have the same effect as cocaine and cause increased heart rates and blood pressure that can result in a stroke or heart failure. Symptoms include dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Use can also lead to psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, and even a physical collapse.

Depressants and Barbiturates

Depressants and barbiturates can cause physical and psychological dependence that can lead to respiratory depression, coma and death, especially when used in concert with alcohol. Withdrawal can lead to restlessness, insomnia, convulsions, and possibly death.


LSD, PCP, mescaline, and peyote are classified as hallucinogens. Hallucinogens interrupt the brain messages that control the intellect and keep instincts in check. Large doses can produce convulsions and coma or heart and lung failure. Persons who misue hallucinogens complain of persistent memory problems and speech difficulties for up to a year after their use. Because the drug stops the brain's pain sensors, drug experiences may result in severe self-inflicted injuries. Persistent memory problems and speech difficulties may linger.


Users of narcotics, such as heroin, codeine, morphine, and opium, develop dependence and increase the likelihood of an overdose that can lead to convulsions, coma, and death.


Alcohol is chemically classified as a mind-altering drug because it contains ethanol and has the chemical power to depress the action of the nervous control system. This depression affects motor coordination, speech, and vision. In great amounts, it can affect respiration and heart rate control. Death can result when the level of blood alcohol exceeds 0.40%. Prolonged use of alcohol can lead to alcoholism, malnutrition and cirrhosis. Up to 80% of sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol.

Learn more about the effects of Alcohol and Drug Use and Abuse.