Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Having more knowledge around substances informs the decisions that you make. If you have questions or concerns around any substance, including alcohol and tobacco do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.


Standard Drink Size

standard drink size





Strategies to Reduce the Risk of High Risk Alcohol Use

  • Don’t drink alcohol, alcohol isn’t necessary to have fun!
  • Keep track of how much your drink.
  • Avoid drinking games and ‘mystery punches’. Both are likely to lead to overconsumption of alcohol.
  • Alternate alcohol with non alcoholic drinks.
  • LImit drinks to one an hour.
  • Set a limit before you start drinking.
  • Eat before and while consuming alcohol.

Alcohol Poisoning Signs

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

If you are concerned that someone may be experiencing alcohol poisoning please contact Campus Safety IMMEDIATELY at SOS or Ext. 767 from a campus phone or dial (802) 447-4250.

Alcohol Leniency Policy

Please remember that Bennington College has an alcohol leniency policy. Sometimes, individuals are reluctant to come forward to report students in need out of fear that they, the reporter, may be charged with violations of Student Conduct standards (for example, the reporter is also drinking underage). Safety is of paramount importance to the College and our community. It is imperative that excessive consumption is reported, and medical assistance given. Therefore, in order to facilitate reporting, the College may choose to not charge students who report violations of this policy with violations of Student Conduct standards.


This includes smoking cigarettes, e-cigs, cigars, cigarellos, pipes,  hookahs, or using chewing tobacco. 

Short term consequence of use may include:

  • Bad breath.
  • Bad taste in mouth.
  • Smelly hair and clothes.
  • Yellow and brown stains on teeth.
  • Lost athletic ability.
  • Damage to the respiratory system.
  • Addiction to nicotine.
  • Risk of other drug use.
  • Decreased lung capacity.
  • Limited lung growth and function if used in youth.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Increased incidence of bronchitis.
  • Increased incidence of asthma and more severe asthma.

Long term consequences of use may include:

  • Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Cancer, increased risk of almost every type of cancer.
  • Lung Disease, such as emphysema and COPD
  • Reproductive Damage, including change to menstrual cycles, impotence and difficulty getting and remaining pregnant.
  • Birth Defects
  • Prematurely wrinkled skin.
  • Permanent gum and tooth loss.
  • Lost or weakened sense of taste.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Unwanted weight loss.

Other Drugs

Information below includes alternate names, descriptions, possible short term effects, and possible long term effects of each drug listed. This is by no means an exhaustive list of drugs, but includes the most commonly abused drugs.


Other Names: blow, bump, snow, coke

Description: Addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant. Can be snorted, injected or smoked.

Possible Short Term Effects: Narrowed blood vessels, enlarged pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure; headache; abdominal pain and nausea; euphoric feeling; increased energy, alertness; insomnia, restlessness; anxiety, erratic behavior, feelings of panic; possible paranoia, psychosis, heart rhythm problems, heart attack, stroke, seizure and coma.

Possible Long Term Effects: Loss of sense of smell, nose bleeds, nasal damage and trouble swallowing; infection and death of bowel tissue from loss narrowed blood vessels, poor nutrition and weight loss from decrease appetite. Lung damage from smoking.


Other Names: G, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X

Description: A depressant approved for use in the treatment of narcolepsy, a disorder that causes daytime "sleep attacks." Typically taken as a pill.

Possible Short Term Effects: Euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, memory loss, unconsciousness, slowed heart rate and breathing, lower body temperature, seizures, coma, death.

Possible Long Term Effects: Unknown



Other Names: China white, smack, tar, dope

Description: An opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants. Can be smoked, snorted or injected.

Possible Short Term Effects: Euphoria; dry mouth; itching; nausea; vomiting; analgesia; slowed breathing and heart rate.

Possible Long Term Effects: Collapsed veins; abscesses (swollen tissue with pus); infection of the lining and valves in the heart; constipation and stomach cramps; liver or kidney disease; pneumonia.



Other Names: Kit Kat, K, special K, vitamin K

Description: A dissociative drug used as an anesthetic in veterinary practice. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality. Can be be smoked (as a powder added to tobacco cigarettes or marijuana cigarettes), snorted, injected, or swallowed.

Possible Short Term Effects: Problems with attention, learning, and memory; dreamlike states, hallucinations; sedation; confusion; loss of memory; raised blood pressure; unconsciousness; dangerously slowed breathing.

Possible Long Term Effects: Ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; poor memory.




Other Names: Chronic, bud, dope, grass, weed, reefer, herb

Description: Marijuana is made from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Can be smoked or ingested.

Possible Short Term Effects: Enhanced sensory perception and euphoria followed by drowsiness/relaxation; slowed reaction time; problems with balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; problems with learning and memory; anxiety.

Possible Long Term Effects: Mental health problems, chronic cough, frequent respiratory infections.



Other Names: X, molly, E, XTC

Description: A synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA is an abbreviation of the scientific name 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. Can be swallowed or snorted. 

Possible Short Term Effects: Lowered inhibition; enhanced sensory perception; increased heart rate and blood pressure; muscle tension; nausea; faintness; chills or sweating; sharp rise in body temperature leading to kidney failure or death.

Possible Long Term Effects: Long-lasting confusion, depression, problems with attention, memory, and sleep; increased anxiety, impulsiveness; less interest in sex.



Other Names: Crack, crystal, crank, ice, meth

Description: An extremely addictive stimulant amphetamine drug. Can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. 

Possible Short Term Effects: Increased wakefulness and physical activity; decreased appetite; increased breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature; irregular heartbeat.

Possible Long Term Effects: Anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood problems, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching.


Prescription Opiates

Other Names: Commonly abused opiates include: hydrocodone, oxycodone, Morphine, Codeine

Description: Pain relievers with an origin similar to that of heroin. Opioids can cause euphoria and are often used non-medically, leading to overdose deaths. Can be swallowed, snorted or injected. 

Possible Short Term Effects: Pain relief, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, euphoria, slowed breathing, death.

Possible Long Term Effects: Increased risk of overdose or abuse if misused.



Prescription Sedatives

Other Names: Commonly abused sedatives include: Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonipin 

Description: Medications that slow brain activity, which makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep problems. Can be swallowed, snorted or injected.

Possible Short Term Effects: Drowsiness, slurred speech, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, problems with movement and memory, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing.

Possible Long Term Effects: Unknown.



Prescription Stimulants  

Other Names: Commonly abused stimulants include: Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta 

Description: Medications that increase alertness, attention, energy, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. Can be swallowed, snorted, smoked and injected.

Possible Short Term Effects: Increased alertness, attention, energy; increased blood pressure and heart rate; narrowed blood vessels; increased blood sugar; opened-up breathing passages.

High doses: dangerously high body temperature and irregular heartbeat; heart disease; seizures.

Possible Long Term Effects: Heart problems, psychosis, anger, paranoia.




Other Names: Common slang terms include: acid, blotters, dots, cubes, window pane 

Description: A hallucinogen manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is an abbreviation of the scientific name lysergic acid diethylamide. Can be swallowed or absorbed through the skin.

Possible Short Term Effects: Rapid emotional swings; distortion of a person’s ability to recognize reality, think rationally, or communicate with others; raised blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature; dizziness; loss of appetite; tremors; enlarged pupils.

Possible Long Term Effects: Frightening flashbacks (called Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder [HPPD]); ongoing visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, paranoia, and mood swings.



Psilocybin Mushrooms

Other Names: Magic Mushrooms, shrooms, purple passion 

Description: A hallucinogen in certain types of mushrooms that grow in parts of South America, Mexico, and the United States. Swallowed/ingested.

Possible Short Term Effects: Hallucinations, altered perception of time, inability to tell fantasy from reality, panic, muscle relaxation or weakness, problems with movement, enlarged pupils, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness.

Possible Long Term Effects: Risk of flashbacks and memory problems.




Other Names: Peyote, mesc, buttons 

Description: A hallucinogen found in disk-shaped “buttons” in the crown of several cacti, including peyote. Swallowed/ingested.

Possible Short Term Effects: Enhanced perception and feeling; hallucinations; euphoria; anxiety; increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; sweating; problems with movement.

Possible Long Term Effects: Unknown

Asking for help

If you are worried about your use or a friend’s use of alcohol or drugs, contact the Office of Student Health Promotion. We are here to help you and guide you to resources on campus and in the community. Did you know that Ali, the director of student health promotion is a trained tobacco cessation counselor? If you would like to stop using tobacco or would just like to talk about it, schedule and appointment and she would be happy to assist you!