Alcohol has been a part of human culture since human culture began–some anthropologists believe stopping to ferment grains (make beer) was one of the factors that caused humans to end hunting and gathering and settle down.

It’s supposed to be enjoyable. But drinking too much is widely recognized as the No. 1 form of drug abuse in the United States.

Universities are faced with a young population that, rather than having been allowed to experiment with moderate drinking at a younger age, arrives intrigued by alcohol’s taboo nature and unfamiliar with how to handle it. So they don’t know how to drink, and then drink too much. If you think you have a problem, or need to learn more, here are highlights from local university Web sites and other places to start looking for help.

Alcohol quiz
True or False: An estimated 85 percent of the adult Americans who drink are alcohol abusers.

False: Of the adult Americans who drink, approximately 15 percent abuse alcohol. The majority of people who drink do so in a responsible manner which does not lead to alcohol-related problems. The 15 percent of drinkers who abuse alcohol account for far more than half of alcohol sales.
Source: UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies

This from UNC’s Center for Healthy Student Behaviors
Alcohol is a depressant that quickly enters the bloodstream from the lining of the stomach and the small intestine. It requires no active digestion process, thereby giving you that “buzzed” feeling.

Your body can metabolize alcohol at a rate of about 1/2 of a drink per hour. One drink is 12 oz. of regular beer (4% alcohol), 1.5 oz. of liquor (80 proof), and 5 oz. of wine. If you are drinking more quickly than 1/2 drink/hour, your body will start feeling the effects.

UNC alcohol policy
No consumption of alcohol is permitted at any outdoor location on campus except as approved in the guidelines. No possession of alcohol on campus is permitted at any outdoor location except for the purpose of transporting closed containers of alcohol. This transportation exception does not apply to athletic events or performances…

Nothing in this student alcohol policy prohibits student groups from holding events off campus at which individual group members aged 21 or older bring or buy their own alcoholic beverages.

NCSU alcohol policy
Possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited: for all persons under the age of 21; in areas of classrooms being used for instructional purposes; and during athletic events.

Consistent with state law, university policy permits possession and consumption of malt beverages, fortified and unfortified wine, spirituous liquor and mixed beverages in one’s own room or the room of another person with the consent of the other person.

Duke University alcohol policy
1. No kegs are permitted in private rooms, student apartments, commons rooms, or other public space. (University-approved bartenders, who will be responsible for carding, may distribute alcohol from kegs in public space at officially approved and registered events.)

2. No alcoholic beverages are permitted in first-year houses (or the surrounding grounds) on East Campus.

3. No alcoholic beverages are permitted within the confines of athletic facilities during sporting events.

Alcoholics Anonymous
Widely known yet somewhat secretive, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups have remained important in the fight against alcoholism. Promoting a 12-step method toward recovery, the organization is a large network of loosely connected chapters throughout the United States and abroad. Some 2 million people worldwide claim membership in AA, although members pay no membership dues.

AA was started in the 1950s by two men–one battling alcoholism and the other cured of it. The two men pioneered the AA philosophy that holds that struggling alcoholics can learn recovery through those who have defeated alcoholism.

Although AA is not allied with any religious group, the 12-step recovery method is still replete with references to finding recovery through God. However, these 12 steps are not mandatory; they are simply the suggested recovery method.

There are two types of meetings: open meetings and closed meetings. At open meetings, anyone may attend, while at closed meetings only alcoholics may attend.

For information on local AA chapters:

  • Wake County:
  • Durham County:
  • Orange County:

    Drinking and driving
    In North Carolina, a DWI charge includes two charges. Usually, a driver pulled over and charged will face both parts of the law. The first is related to “appreciable impairment” while driving–meaning a pattern of driving, the driver’s appearance, and performance on a field sobriety test.

    Second is the “per se” charge, based solely on a Breathalyzer test result of .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) or greater. Suspects have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer test; but the refusal may be used against the driver in court.

    North Carolina also has an open container law, making it illegal for anyone to have open containers of alcohol that are accessible within the vehicle.

    DWI punishments are determined in part by mitigating or aggravating factors. Based on those, a judge can determine what type of sentence to impose, whether it is community service, jail time, fines or a range of other options.