Office of Student Life

Parent and Family Relations

Making Healthy Choices

As with all young people, college students take in many messages from society and culture about what is expected around college and substance use. Often the representations encourage substance use by glamorizing the experience, treating it as normal and insinuating that you will miss out if you do not partake. For a college student eagerly looking for community, these messages can be particularly enticing. In fact, many students often believe that alcohol and substance use among their peers is far greater than what it . For those that do use alcohol, they believe that other students use more than they do. It is important to dispel myths around substance use and be honest about the risks and potential consequences for using alcohol or other drugs. 

The following reports include information about substance use amongst the Ohio State community.    

2021-2022 Wellness Assessment Data

80.6% of undergrad respondents state they do not use cannabis

29.7% of undergrad respondents report having used alcohol to manage stress (sometimes, often or always)


80.3% of Ohio State Students chose not to binge drink the last time they drank in a social setting

17.5% of Ohio State students report never having consumed alcohol

What are high-risk behaviors?

High-risk behaviors are defined as acts that increase the risk of adverse or negative impacts on your students health and well-being. 

Examples of high-risk behaviors around alcohol and other druges are:

  • Drinking alcohol or using cannabis under the age of 21
  • Chugging alcohol, taking shots or participating in drinking games
  • Drinking something without knowing its’ contents or where it came from
  • Drinking with the purpose of getting drunk
  • Going out without a plan to get home safely
  • Mixing alcohol with medications, energy drinks or illegal drugs
  • Drinking to facilitate social interactions or for peer acceptance
  • Misusing prescription drugs
  • Engaging in sexual behaviors while intoxicated

How can parents encourage low-risk behaviors and healthy choices?

  • Remind your student that it is illegal to consume alcohol or use cannabis if they are under 21 and that there are numerous consequences, both academic and legal, that can result from choosing to drink alcohol or use other drugs
  • Remind your student to take charge of their well-being. This means prioritizing things like sleep, nutrition, stress management and physical activity. Students who take care of their well-being and who have good self-care practices are more likely to be successful
  • Continue to set good examples of moderation at home or while visiting your student on-campus.
  • Spend time together looking over our Alcohol Use policies, that way everyone is on the same page as to what to expect as a part of the Buckeye community

Encourage your student to:

  • Choose fun, alternative activities that do not involve alcohol
  • Make realistic and safe plans whenever they plan to go out
  • Identify ways to cope with inevitable stressors of the transition to college
  • Share their goals and expectations for their college experience
  • Use strategies such as drinking water between alcoholic drinks, eating before going out and counting drinks if they do drink.