Jeremy Papasso / Colorado Daily
University of Colorado police officers Emily Smyly, left, and Amy Pratt confront a student suspected of drinking in Libby Hall during a patrol on campus.
Campus resources

Wardenburg Health Center

Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sunday


Community Health, Division of Wardenburg

UMC 411

Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Center for Community S440

Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Psychological Health & Psychiatry

Wardenburg Health Center, first floor

Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sunday


Information on alcohol and other drug programs:

Students face myriad choices during their time at the University of Colorado. In addition to what classes to take and which extracurricular groups to join, students can also choose to abstain from alcohol—and many do.

“A good third of students come here drinking very little or not at all,” said Lee Scriggins, strategies and communication for Community Health at CU’s Wardenburg Health Center. “Our goal is to support people on every path, including the ones who don’t drink or drink in moderation.”

But some students don’t abstain, and those who don’t should know the risks.

Alcohol abuse, toxicity

The effects of mass consumption of beer and liquor are not always confined to a drinker’s body.

“Alcohol abuse is the single most dangerous public health hazard on campus,” said Donald Misch, senior assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness at CU.

“If you look at the extent that alcohol is involved in issues like sexual assaults, physical assaults, property damage, unprotected sex and lower grades, the odds are good that alcohol abuse will get you into trouble.”

Even if you don’t drink, keep an eye on your friends at parties. Knowing how to interpret alcohol toxicity, Scriggins said, is important for recognizing when one has had too much.

The signs of alcohol toxicity are indicators that the ill health effects of drinking are taking place: Vomiting while passed out, developing pale and bluish or cold and clammy skin and slowed breathing are just a few signs of alcohol overindulgence.

If you think someone has alcohol toxicity, stay with the person and call 911. You might be saving a life.

Recovery Center

Given the many negative consequences of heavy drinking and dependence, the university is “committed to helping people who want to recover,” Misch said.

“As long as you’re willing to work with us, we’ll do everything in our power to help you get well.”

The newest resource for students living a sober lifestyle is the CU Collegiate Recovery Center, which opened in the University Memorial Center in the fall of 2013. Anyone—no matter if they are struggling with addiction—is welcome at the center, as long as they’ve been clean and sober for 24 hours.


In addition to negative short- and long-term effects on the body, alcohol abuse can affect the mind, too. Drinking can exacerbate existing mental health issues, leading to even more problems.

“Depression, home-sickness and anxiety can all be exacerbated by substance use,” said Stephen Bentley, Alcohol and Other Drug Program coordinator at the Psychological Health & Psychiatry (PHP) clinic in CU’s Wardenburg Health Center.

PHP is a preferred provider for CU’s Student Gold Health Insurance Plan. Offering mental health and substance abuse screenings and individual counseling options, the clinic also hosts classes students might have to take for court and Office of Student Conduct proceedings related to alcohol.

Another on-campus resource for students dealing with substance abuse is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). CAPS offers up to six free sessions of individual counseling per academic year, as well as a wide range of group therapy options.

Because counseling might be intimidating, talking to someone like a friend, resident assistant or staff member is a good first step for determining whether you have a problem and deciding to pursue professional help.

“The key is to get outside of yourself,” Bentley said. “Say to someone you can confide in, ‘This is what’s going on, what was it like for you?'”

Contact writer Adam Rowan at

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