Controlled Substance Public Disposal Location
Medicine take back options are the best way to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription and nonprescription (for example, over the counter) medicines.
Before disposing of prescription medicines, be sure to remove all personal information on pill bottle labels and medicine packaging. All of your medicines dropped off at the take back locations will be destroyed.
For information on local disposal locations, follow this link:
Cannabis information and research is ever-evolving as use nationwide is on the rise. We are here to help you be as safe as possible at all times while at UMaine.
While recreational use and sale was made legal in the state of Maine, cannabis, including medicinal, is banned in all UMaine facilities.
Statistics have found that use has been decreasing in recent years, but alcohol is still the most used drug on college campuses. The Student Wellness Resource Center employs a risk reduction philosophy to everything, especially relating to alcohol consumption.
Parents: SAMHSA released a guide to help you discuss alcohol consumption. You can read it here.
Alcohol cannot be purchased or consumed by anyone under the age of 21 per Maine state law.
University Policies and Regulations
Blood Alcohol Content
A person’s BAC informs them how intoxicated they are from alcohol. There is not a firm link between a person’s exact BAC and how each person is affected by that BAC, but there are some general concepts to be taken from BAC levels. Someone may say they don’t feel intoxicated, but their BAC will still be high. A safe goal is to keep your BAC below 0.06. Many factors will affect your BAC including how fast you’ve drank, how much you’ve eaten, and body composition.
Click here for an interactive BAC calculator. Remember that all BAC calculators cannot be exact, but they are useful to help you create a plan for yourself.
Why should I keep my BAC that low? Well, there are a few reasons. it will greatly reduce your risk of feeling hungover in the following days. Your sleep won’t be impaired. Your coordination and attention span also won’t be as affected.
What can I do to keep my BAC low?
The easiest way is your pace. The old adage “one drink per hour” still holds true to this day. Also, you should always get your own drink. It is the only way to know that your drink contains exactly what you want it to contain and contains the proper serving of alcohol.
Also, the things you consume that don’t contain alcohol play a huge role. Aim for carb-rich or fatty foods, and avoid salty foods as much as possible. This helps with hydration. Hydration is not only important in a general sense, but drinking water while drinking alcohol will help mitigate the diuretic effect of alcohol.
As stated below, you should never mix any cold medicine and alcohol. Alcohol is known to lower your inhibitions, which can lead to ingestion of other drugs. Any CNS depressant taken with alcohol can have dangerous effects on your breathing and heart rate.
Overconsumption can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Brief Alcohol Screening Intervention for College Students (BASICS)
This program is designed for students to explore their drinking in a non-judgmental environment. This program is delivered in two ways, either as a class or as a one-on-one meeting with a licensed counselor.
Binge Drinking is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more for men. The difference is due to lower amounts of body water in women than in men of similar weight on average.
The average person’s liver can process a standard drink of alcohol in 1-2 hours. Every drink consumed before the previous one is processed increases the time it takes your body to process all of the alcohol in your blood. In many cases, this leads to Alcohol Overdose, commonly referred to as alcohol poisoning. This requires immediate medical attention at a hospital.
All of the tips mentioned above will help you avoid alcohol poisoning. Also, having a buddy you trust will help you maintain a safe pace and avoid negative outcomes.
Extended use of alcohol can lead to dependency and addiction. More resources are available about misuse and addiction:
- NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse – Although this is a government website, NIDA strives to be objective, citing factual research-based information.
- Alcohol MD – Research-based information on alcohol and medication
- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- Alcohol Problems and Solutions – This site takes a surprisingly oppositional view of many of the current beliefs.
Alcohol Anonymous (AA) Meetings:
- Virtual AA Meetings: https://bangorrecovery.org/files/2020/12/Maine_AA_meeting_codes.pdf
- Local AA Meetings: https://betteraddictioncare.com/support/maine/bangor/aa-meetings/
- Northern Illinois Recovery
- Blueprints for Recovery
- Center for Disease Control
- About DayQuil
- DailyMed – National Library of Medicine
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
PHA: Medication and Alcohol
In a world with COVID-19 and the flu, knowledge of the medicine you are taking is more important than ever. Many over the counter medications, such as DayQuil have serious consequences when taken with alcohol. Many students follow the typical precautions of drinking water and eating food when taking medication, but some are more reckless and engage in drinking behaviors. Below is a Q&A about the dangers of mixing medications and alcohol.
Depending on the type of medication being taken, many individuals often state they experience drowsiness, dizziness, and to a certain extent, some measure of motor impairment or difficulty in normal movements. These effects could be significantly amplified when combining cold medicine and alcohol.
Cold medications containing dextromethorphan, an active ingredient in DayQuil and Nyquil, could cause heavy sedation and respiratory depression when it mixes with alcohol in the body. (NyQuil also contains 10% alcohol!) This could knock a person out completely and also slow a person’s breathing to dangerous levels, potentially even being lethal at some point.
Cold medicines are commonly used to treat symptoms of a cold such as nasal congestion, cough, and headache/body aches. The more potent ingredients, such as those found in DayQuil, include; dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant and sedative), phenylephrine (a decongestant commonly added in nasal sprays), and acetaminophen (a moderate pain reliever and fever reducer). DayQuil’s counterpart, NyQuil, contains alcohol as an inactive ingredient on top of those other drugs.
Alcohol and medications are not recommended to be taken together. Alcohol and many medications have sedative properties which can result in serious medical injury, including long-term liver damage. Furthermore, alcohol suppresses the immune system which results in prolonged, more severe cold, and flu symptoms. One other strong recommendation is to avoid alcohol until you have completed your prescription for antibiotics.
The quick answer is that you should not consume alcohol while taking cold medicine. Most active ingredients in cold medicines are active in the system for 4-6 hours depending on individual health variables. While mixing alcohol and cold medicine is not advised; you could have a drink after 4-6 hours from your last medication dosage. However, a single drink of alcohol can last in the body for 3 hours.
Any other substance taken during this period could also interact with the cold medicine already in the system. Different people have different thresholds, whatever period passes for a “safe” time to take alcohol after taking cold medicine, or vice versa, is completely relative to the person.
There is too much room for error, so it is best to wait to consume alcohol until the day after you have ceased taking cold medicine.
There are always risks of damage when two potent substances combine in the body. Regardless of a person’s tolerance or threshold, the damage could be anywhere from severe to life-threatening, and could take effect anywhere in between shortly after being taken or after quite some time, mainly due to accumulated effects.
The type of reaction and severity could depend upon the person and the particular components of the medication taken with alcohol. In the case of mixing cold medicine with alcohol, the more prominent dangers include:
- Liver Damage
- Severe Abdominal Pain
- Sever Vomiting
- Extreme Lethargy
- Risk of Developing Alcohol/Cough Medicine Dependency
- Increases Risk of Hypertension
- Loss of Motor Skills
- Disrupted Sleep
- Overdose and/or Death
The long-term dangers of cold medicine and alcohol’s side effects are well researched; specifically, the dangers of liver damage, hypertension, and convulsions. Because of the many effects of mixing cold medicine and alcohol, an overdose can occur in even the healthiest of individuals. Mixing cold medicine and alcohol is never advised.
Binge drinking (defined by the CDC as consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women) is already dangerous as inebriation causes numerous damaging effects on the body, including:
- Neurological Issues
- Diminished Physical Coordination
- Alcoholic Hepatitis
- Liver Fibrosis
Chances of developing one or more of these issues are significantly increased when overconsumption of alcohol is paired with substance use. In the case of cold medicine, as it typically induces feelings of sleepiness and deep relaxation due to its narcotic effect, some people might find that pairing it with alcohol produces an even greater experience.
Similar to cold medicines, mixing alcohol with any medication (whether it is over the counter or prescribed by a doctor) can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. It can also put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. In addition to these dangers, alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication harmful or toxic to your body.
Even if they are not taken at the same time, the chemicals and ingredients can have negative effects when mixed with alcohol for the so called ‘effective time’ a medication is active in your body. Protect yourself by avoiding alcohol if you are taking a medication and don’t know its effect.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has an FAQ sheet with some of the more common medications and their reaction when taken with alcohol.
Drug and alcohol treatment is the first step on the road to recovery. If you or anyone you know requires rehabilitation, help is available. Contact your doctor or an addiction treatment facility for information or visit our Resource Page for more help.