Office of Student Life

Party Smart

Partying smart is all about staying safe while having fun. Whether you choose to drink or not, use the Party Smart tools and tips to keep you and your friends safe and healthy.  

On this site, you will find information to help you and your friends stay safe while partying. Included you will find information on:

  • Facts on Ohio State students Partying Smart (See: Everybody's Doing It) 
  • 12 Ways to Party Smart
  • 12 Ways to Host a Smart Party 
  • Alcohol Poisoning and Drug Overdosing 
  • Blood Alcohol Content
  • Rights and Responsibilities 
  • Policies
  • Important Numbers

While drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, we know that it is not uncommon for individuals to drink alcohol socially. Did you know that young adults tend to experience a higher rate of substance use as they age – and young adults who attend college tend to use more frequently than peers who do not attend college. 

While many folks who decide to use substances will do so responsibly, one in seven people over the age of 18 will have a problematic relationship with substances at some point in their life (one in four when it comes to 18-24 year olds in college). (Surgeon General's Report, 2016) 

Decisions you make regarding drinking and using drugs can lead to negative experiences during your time at Ohio State and can even progress into a problem you experience for the rest of your life. That’s why it is important to understand how to engage in a safe and responsible manner if you do decide to use substances as a Buckeye.  

While it is important to be aware of how to have fun responsibly, it is also important to know that over 30% of Ohio State’s students report that they have never used alcohol. If you choose to not use substances you will find that you are not alone – there are plenty of ways to have fun, and Ohio State has something for everyone!

Everybody's Doing It

Despite what people may think, many Ohio State students are choosing to Party Smart. 

Did you know: Nearly two out of three Ohio State students choose not to binge drink (consume five or more drinks in a sitting). Actually, the majority of Ohio State students (80%) had between zero and five drinks the last time they partied. 

Did you know: 87.8% of Ohio State students always use a designated driver or choose not to drive at all after consuming any amount of alcohol. 

Did you know: Alcohol and drugs (illicit, prescription and over the counter) can mix in unpredictable ways. If you are taking medication, be sure to pay attention to the warnings on the labels to determine if it’s safe to drink while taking. 

Did you know: It is always each person’s responsibility to gain consent before moving forward with a sexual act, and being intoxicated or drunk is never an excuse to not get consent. If a person feels they have been violated or assaulted while intoxicated, it is important to believe them and take those feelings seriously. Sexual Assault Response Network of Ohio (SARNCO) is a confidential resource to support victims/survivors of sexual assault. You can also learn more about Ohio State policies on misconduct here.

12 Ways to Party Smart 

Keep Track of Your Drinks: Plan for how much you are going to drink, and stick to it. There are lots of apps that you can use to track your drinks, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and alcohol-related caloric intake. 

Take Your Time: Don’t consume large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.  Aim for drinking one drink per hour. 

Drink Water and Eat: Drink water and eat food before, during and after consuming alcoholic drinks. It can help to control your buzz and rehydrate your body while reducing the risk of a hangover. 

Do You: Don’t try to keep up with others who are drinking more. Do your thing and enjoy the night. Try an alternative like soda with lime if you want to take a break while keeping up appearances. 

Plan Your Rides Ahead of Time: Partying smart means planning safe transportation, and never driving after drinking. Always plan how you will get to and from the spot. Lyft Ride Smart is a smart plan!  

Know Where Your Drink Is and Where It’s Been: Always keep your drink with you and only accept drinks you’ve poured or bought.  

Be Careful When Mixing Alcohol and Drugs: Make informed decisions. If you don’t know how alcohol interacts with a substance, it’s not worth the risk. If you have a new prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how it will interact with alcohol. 

Keep Your Friends Close: Go out with people you trust and stick together. When it’s time to leave, make sure the entire group is still together. 

Avoid Drinking When You’re Upset: Using alcohol or drugs to deal with unwanted emotions is a slippery slope. There are plenty of positive ways to cope. View a list of support resources here.  

Only Drink When You Really Want To: Not sure if you’re feeling it tonight? Don't drink or use! Check out something else to do around campus, enjoy a night in or simply go out and have a good time without drinking or using.  

If You Decide to Use Drugs, Test Them: Powders and pills that are purchased from a dealer can be contaminated. Fentanyl test strips are available at no cost for Ohio State students at the Wilce Student Health Center Pharmacy.

Never Use Alone: Using any drug that you purchase somewhere other than a pharmacy comes with risk of contamination. If you are planning to use a drug that wasn’t prescribed to you, make sure that someone else is around in case they need to administer naloxone. Naloxone is available at no cost for Ohio State students at the Wilce Student Health Center Pharmacy.

Source: Spring 2020 American College Health Association, National College Health Assessment 

12 Ways to Host a Smart Party

Have a guest list: Don’t host open invitation parties. You want to make sure you know everyone in and around your home. The more people you don't know at your party, the greater potential for unexpected outcomes. 

Provide Alternatives and Food: Help your guests have a great night by providing water, alternatives to alcohol and food that will help them control their buzz and feel better the next day. 

Help Your Guests Make a Plan to Get Home: Remind guests about safe transportation like Lyft Ride Smart, other rideshare programs and buses. 

At the End of The Night, You’re Ultimately Responsible: Remember you’re responsible for your guests. If they aren’t respecting you, your property and the community, it may be time for them to go. 

Alcohol and Heights Don’t Mix: Don’t overcrowd balconies or someone could fall off or the balcony collapse. And, keep guests off the roof! 

Be a Good Neighbor: Prior to your party, make sure to notify neighbors and consider exchanging phone numbers if it feels safe, so they can reach you if anything comes up. 

Don’t Let the Party Become a Nuisance: Keep guests and music at a reasonable volume. 

Be Mindful of Where the Party Goes: Make sure the party stays in your yard and not on the sidewalk, in alleyways or on your neighbors' property. Consider what barriers can be used to ensure guests remain safe. 

Your Party Your Mess: Respect your neighbors, your landlord and the community by cleaning up after the party. 

Put Your Things Up: Secure all your valuables before guests arrive. If possible, lock all private bedrooms, and ask guests to remain in spaces you’re comfortable sharing with them.

Have Naloxone Available: While most Ohio State students choose not to use drugs at party’s, some do. Having naloxone available helps to make the great night you’ve planned with friends not become regrettable. Pick up a naloxone kit from the Wilce Student Health pharmacy and watch this video before the party as a reminder on how to use it. 

Perfect Your Craft of Crafting Great Parties: You can take a free course designed to help party hosts learn the best ways to help your guests have a great time. Take “The Craft of Creating a Fun Party” before hosting.

Alcohol Poisoning and Drug Overdosing

What You Need to Know 

Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to a coma and death. 

Signs of alcohol poisoning: 

  • The person is unconscious or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened.
  • The person's skin is cold or clammy and has a pale or bluish color. 
  • Slow breathing - less than eight breaths per minute or lapses between breaths of more than eight seconds. 
  • Vomiting while passed out. If they are just sleeping, vomiting will certainly wake them up. If not, this is a medical emergency.

If a person has ANY of these symptoms, call 911 right away. 

  • Call 911 first, before making any calls or doing anything else. This is a medical emergency, and that person needs help right away. Time is critical in these situations! 
  • Once you have called for help, turn the person on their side, if possible, to prevent choking in case of vomiting. 
  • Avoid leaving the person alone. 
  • Do not try to give your friend food or water. You may be trying to help, but if the person is unconscious or vomiting this could lead to a blocked airway. 

Drug overdoses occur when a person takes more than the recommended amount of a drug or a drug they use has been contaminated with an unknown cutting agent. 

Signs of an overdose: 

  • Loss of consciousness and unresponsive to stimulation 
  • Breathing is slow, shallow, erratic or stopped 
  • Pulse is slow, erratic or not detectable 
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish/black 
  • Vomiting 
  • Skin tone turns bluish purple or grayish/ashen 
  • Choking sounds, snore-like gurgling noise (AKA the “death rattle”) 
  • Dizziness or confusion 

If a person has ANY of these symptoms, call 911 right away. 

  • Call 911 first, before making any calls or doing anything else. This is a medical emergency, and that person needs help right away. Time is critical in these situations! 
  • Administer Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) if available. 
  • Once you have called for help, turn the person on their side, if possible, to prevent choking in case of vomiting. 
  • Avoid leaving the person alone. 

If you or someone you spend time with uses opioids or any other drugs not provided medically, consider picking up a free Naloxone kit on campus. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical center, Office of Student Life and College of Public Health have partnered with Project DAWN (Deaths Avoid With Naloxone) to provide training and free naloxone kits on campus through the Wilce Student Health Pharmacy. Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin, fentanyl or prescription pain medications). A prescription is not necessary to receive training or to pick up the medication. 

Using Naloxone will not harm an individual if it is administered and they are not experiencing an overdose caused by an opioid drug. Remember to call 911 before administering Naloxone! 

Blood Alcohol Content

If you choose to drink, you should be aware of your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). BAC is a measurement of alcohol in your body based on weight, the total number of drinks consumed and the time in which they were consumed.   

.02% to .03% 

Light-headed - Mildly relaxed, mood may be mildly intensified. 

.05% to .07% 

Buzzed - Feel warm and relaxed, good moods are better and bad moods are worse, euphoria, may talk louder/act bolder than usual. This is the peak BAC range that often correlates with the state that most people who drink aim to achieve. Anything beyond this point will cause more harm than good.

.08% to .10% 


Legally Impaired - May slur speech, balance/motor skills become impaired, sight/hearing ability clearly diminished, judgment/self-control impaired, may make poor/risky sexual choices. 

.11% to .15% 


Drunk - "High", balance very impaired, judgment, memory and motor skills impaired, may forget how many drinks you have had past this point, men may have trouble functioning sexually.

.16% to .19% 


Very Drunk - Euphoria may give way to unpleasant feelings (depression), difficulty talking/walking/standing, sharp increase in chances of physically injuring yourself or others, may experience a blackout at this level or higher, nausea, dizzy, blurred vision. 



Confusion and Disorientation - May need help to stand or walk, if you hurt yourself, you probably won't realize it because the alcohol has numbed your pain and your judgment is so impaired you might not do anything about it. Nausea and vomiting are common and very dangerous because gag reflex is impaired, so you could choke if you do throw up (especially if you pass out). Blackouts may occur at this BAC. 




Stupor - Likely to pass out involuntarily (as opposed to lower BAC where you may decide to stop drinking and go to sleep). If passed out, may be difficult for others to wake you, possible to die from alcohol poisoning or choking on vomit at this level and higher. Anytime someone passes out from consuming too much alcohol there is a risk of coma and death. Please help your friends (by calling 911) if you see that they have passed out. 



Equivalent to general anesthesia. Breathing may stop.



Coma likely. Breathing and heartbeat slowed to dangerous levels due to slowdown in nerve activity. 

Did you know? 

The average biological male’s BAC will go up .02% for each standard drink he consumes, while the average biological female’s BAC will go up .035% for each standard drink she consumes. 

Biological female’s BAC rises almost double that of a biological male due to having more estrogen, less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol (alcohol dehydrogenase) and typically having smaller body mass.   

Rights and Responsibilities

When you make the choice to consume alcohol or drugs, you should consider the consequences of that decision and how being under the influence may impact other decisions you may make that night. It’s important to know what your rights and responsibilities are as a student so that you can choose to Party Smart. Understanding your rights, responsibilities and policies around substance use and student behavior will help you make the best decision for yourself and avoid unwanted negative consequences associated with substance use.  

Underage consumption, purchasing or possession of alcohol: 

The legal drinking age in Ohio for consumption of an alcoholic beverage is 21. Purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol prior to your 21st birthday is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. A 20-year-old student, therefore, risks being imprisoned and fined when they decide to drink alcohol at a party or elsewhere. 

Drug Offenses 

In the Ohio Revised Code, chapter 2925, offenses related to the dispensing, distributing, manufacturing, possessing, or misuse of a controlled substance are listed and described. It is important to understand that using, selling, or sharing drugs with another person can lead you being arrested. Not only is it illegal to possess drugs, but it is also illegal to possess equipment that can be used to do drugs, also known as paraphernalia.    

Providing alcohol to an underage person: 

A person who furnishes alcohol to an underage person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty associated with this offense is six months imprisonment or $1,000 fine or both. A social host, therefore, risks being fined and imprisoned when they furnish alcohol to a person who is not 21 years of age. Keep in mind that the bigger your party, the more people there that you don't know, the greater the chance of getting caught and/or charged. 

Fake ID: 

Possession or display of a fictitious operator's license is a first-degree misdemeanor. The offense includes mere possession of a fictitious license or display of someone else's valid operator's license. The maximum penalties for this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. Moreover, if the fictitious operator's license is utilized to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment that serves alcohol, the minimum fine must be at least $250 and the person displaying the fictitious operator's license may have their valid operator's license suspended for two years. 

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI): 

In Ohio, a person may not operate a motor vehicle if they are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The maximum penalty for operating a vehicle while under the influence is six months imprisonment (mandatory at least three days in jail) or a $1,000 fine (a mandatory minimum fine of $250 or three-day alcohol treatment program) or both. Additionally, the operator must forfeit their driving privileges for six months. Driving under the influence is treated very seriously at Ohio State. Driving under the influence not only risks the safety of the driver, but it also risks the safety of the Ohio State community. Any student involved in a DUI/OVI may be subject to university disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct, including the possibility of suspension or dismissal from the university. If a police officer has sufficient evidence to believe that a person operated a vehicle while impaired and that person either refuses to take a test to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs or tests above the legal limit (.08% BAC for alcohol), the officer can take that person's driver's license on the spot and the suspension begins immediately.  

Open Container: 

Unless explicitly stated, it is illegal to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both. 

Disorderly Conduct: 

Disorderly conduct while intoxicated is a minor misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Disorderly conduct can be elevated to a fourth-degree misdemeanor (for example, if the person persists after a request to desist). Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct also occurs when one makes unreasonable noise or engages in conduct that is detrimental to the life and health of any individual. 


State and local laws prohibit depositing cups, cans or other waste on public property. Violators are guilty of a third-degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. 

Prevent or hamper police, fire or EMS personnel from doing their jobs: 

The Columbus City Code prohibits misconduct at an emergency. This means hampering police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and other public officials while they are doing their jobs at the scene of a fire, accident, riot or emergency of any kind. You must obey all lawful orders given by such persons at an emergency site. Misconduct at an emergency is a fourth-degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of a $250 fine and up to 30 days in jail. 

Rioting and Aggravated Rioting: 

Rioting is defined as four or more persons engaged in disorderly conduct and it is "aggravated" if those involved commit or act with the purpose to commit a felony or an act of violence. Aggravated Riot also includes situations where those involved are carrying weapons. Aggravated Riot is a felony and Riot is a first-degree misdemeanor. Under a law passed in 2003, if you are convicted of rioting or aggravated rioting, you will be immediately expelled for one year from all state-supported colleges in Ohio and will be ineligible for state financial aid for two years. 

Order to Disperse/Riot Act: 

You must immediately disperse (leave the area) when ordered to do so by police in a riot or other emergency situation. You must follow the orders of police and leave the area. If you fail to obey an order to disperse, you may be arrested, subjected to riot control procedures (such as use of pepper spray) or both. 

If you find yourself in trouble you should contact Student Legal Services. You may have the opportunity to participate in a diversionary program to have the violation removed from your record. If so, you can meet the educational requirement by participating in the Ohio State University Diversion Program (OSUDP). 

OSUDP serves as a learning opportunity and intervention for those who have experienced negative consequences because of alcohol use. Using a blend of both group and online prevention and education, OSUDP provides a personalized, educational intervention for college students that aims to curb risky drinking within our communities. 

To schedule a session, check out the Student Life Student Wellness Center site here


Ohio State Code of Conduct 

It is a violation of The Ohio State University Code of Student Conduct to participate in off-campus behavior that causes substantial property damage or serious harm to the health or safety of members of the university community. Some examples would be hosting an out-of-control party, setting fires, setting off fireworks, standing on or rocking cars, throwing glass bottles or other dangerous items and rioting (four or more persons engaged in disorderly conduct). 

Failure to obey orders to disperse from law enforcement or university authorities is a code violation. Bystanders and "cheerleaders" at disturbances may be subject to university discipline. In addition to any civil or criminal charges you might face for these behaviors, you will also be subject to university judicial action and could be suspended or dismissed from Ohio State. 

It is a violation of The Ohio State University Code of Student Conduct to engage in sexual misconduct. This includes physical contact or other non-physical conduct of a sexual nature in the absence of clear, knowing and voluntary consent. Consent is defined as the act of knowingly and affirmatively agreeing to engage in a sexual activity. An individual cannot consent who is substantially impaired by any drug or intoxicant. Consent may be withdrawn at any time. 

For additional information specific to The Ohio State University Sexual Misconduct Policy, view the full Sexual Misconduct policy here. 

For more information, contact Student Conduct, at 614-292-0748 or view the full Student Code of Conduct online

Ohio State Alcohol Policy 

The university prohibits the illegal use of alcohol and complies fully with federal, state and local regulations regarding the sale, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages. All members of the university community are held responsible for their behavior and for respecting the rights of others. The university is committed to providing the community with education regarding high-risk alcohol use and to making health-enhancing experiences a priority. 

The university's full policy can be found here. 

Amnesty Policy

At the university’s discretion, amnesty may be extended to students who may be hesitant to report a violation of the code to university officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, including but not limited to underage drinking, at the time of the incident. If a student is granted amnesty, an educational discussion or other informal resolution may be considered, but no university conduct proceedings under this code will result. 

At the university’s discretion, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis for minor policy violations when students request assistance for others in need, including the person receiving assistance. If a student is granted amnesty, an educational discussion or other informal resolution may be considered, but no university conduct proceedings under this code will result. In cases of academic misconduct, need does not include the inability of a student to complete an assignment without assistance. 

Important Numbers

Here are numbers and resources to help you better plan to Party Smart and to contact if a risky situation arises. 

Remember to ALWAYS call 911 in an EMERGENCY! 

24/7 Resources 



Columbus Police non-emergency (24/7) 




Ohio State Police non-emergency (24/7) 





Ohio Department of Public Safety Liquor Enforcement Hotline 


614-644-2415 (after hours call #677) 



Central Ohio Poison Center (24/7) 



Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) Franklin County Line 








Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA)                                                                        





Campus Resources 



Campus Area Bus (CABS)                                                       

 Lyft Ride Smart 

The Student Wellness Center 


Student Health Services 


Student Advocacy 


Off Campus and Commuter Student Engagement 


Ohio State Public Safety 


Student Legal Services


SARNCO Campus Advocate  


Important information for Alcohol Education and Assistance: 




Personalized and confidential coaching appointments with peers. 

ScreenU is an alcohol risk assessment based on evidence-based strategies called SBIRT Technology

(Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment)