Alcohol and Other Drugs

How normal is it?

The Office of Health Promotion supports students’ ability to make healthy decisions about alcohol and other drug use on and off campus by providing resources and information. While drinking and substance use do occur among college students, the actual rate of use is considerably lower than students perceive.

Every two years, Lewis & Clark students participate in the National College Health Assessment (NCHA), which surveys students on a variety of health issues. A recent assessment asked Lewis and Clark students how often they think their fellow classmates drink alcohol or use cannabis. The survey found that there are myths regarding the social norms of alcohol and other drug use. While we may believe everyone is doing it, there are more abstaining than we think.

Myth: Everybody drinks at least some of the time.

  • Most Lewis & Clark students assume only about 1% of their fellow classmates abstain completely from alcohol.
  • In reality, almost 10% of Lewis & Clark students never drink.

Myth: Everybody has smoked pot, at least once.

  • Students also assume that less than 1% of their fellow students have never used cannabis.
  • In reality nearly one-third of students had never used cannabis. 

Keeping a healthy and accurate perspective on alcohol and drug use can promote better decision making. Alcohol and other drug abuse can negatively impact body and mind in many ways, from memory, to sleep patterns, to decision making. Excessive use can directly impact a student’s ability to perform well academically. Abstaining from alcohol and drug use is the only way to completely protect oneself from these risks. Excessive use does not only impact the user. Students should consider how their alcohol and drug use affects their relationships with others and the community.

If you feel you may have a problem with drug or alcohol use, visit our Resources page for a list of campus and community resources.