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Prevention and Advocacy Education

The Office for Health Promotion creates interactive programming on campus surrounding the topics of mental health, sexual health, substance use, and overall wellness.

Preventing Opioid Overdose: Focus on Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Drug traffickers often mix fentanyl into other drugs because it’s cheaper to produce a high with fentanyl. Fentanyl can take the form of a powder, a capsule, or can be pressed into counterfeit pills that are made to look just like prescription opioids, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®) and hydrocodone (Vicodin®); alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®). As a result, people who use drugs can easily and unknowingly ingest fentanyl. A lethal dose of fentanyl can be as little as two milligrams—that’s a fraction of a raindrop or a few grains of salt. 

Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration reports that 42% of counterfeit pills tested contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. 
Help our community reduce the risk of opioid overdose: Visit our Preventing Opioid Overdose webpage for details about how you and those around you can avoid and respond to overdose.

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Whether or not you’re new to UNC, college is an exciting time to explore and grow. One important decision you’ll make in college is whether or not to drink. You will have friends who may choose to explore alcohol and others that may not. No matter the choice you make, it is important to understand the responsibility that comes along with drinking. So, let’s be aware!

Too often, students underestimate how much they’ve had to drink because they aren’t using standard measurements, and alcohol comes in so many different shapes and sizes. So, what does one standard drink actually mean?

Did you know that 96% of UNC students think their peers are drinking, when in reality only 63% of UNC students drank in the last 30 days. Additionally, one in four UNC students have never even drank!

What is a “standard drink” in the US?

Source: National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

comparison of alcohol drink sizes

Beer: one standard drink equals twelve ounces. This is for a normal beer with 5% alcohol. Certain beers, especially here in Colorado have higher alcohol content, so make sure you read the label to know how much alcohol is in your drink.

Malt Liquor: one standard drink equals eight ounces. This is for malt liquors with 7% alcohol.

Wine: one standard drink equals five ounces. This is for wines with 12% alcohol.

Liquor: one standard drink equals 1.5 ounces. This is for any liquor that’s 40% alcohol, or 80 proof. Don’t be fooled! Tequila, whiskey, rum, vodka…etc, all have the same alcohol content. Also, keep in mind that mixed drinks may not be measured and can contain far more than what we think is in them!

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Understanding your BAC is important, and helps you identify when you or a friend has had too much to drink.

The concentration of alcohol in the blood. If your BAC is .10, this means that there is one part alcohol for every 1,000 parts blood. BAC can be influenced by:

  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • Duration/speed of consumption
  • Body weight
  • Sex assigned at birth
  • Food and medications

Good Samaritan Law

It’s important to educate yourself and ensure you have the tools to be prepared for an emergency. At UNC, we use the Safe Haven Law. Under the Safe Haven Law, if you are underage and drinking and suspect someone is at risk of alcohol and/or drug poisoning, call 911 or the UNC Police Department! If you make the call, you and the person you are calling on will not receive a citation from the police. Below are some tips for using the Safe Haven Law:

  • You and the person you are calling on must be under 21 years old.
  • When you make the call, tell the operator that you are making a Safe Haven call. You will need to provide your name and the person you’re calling on.
  • Be sure to tell the truth and stay with the person that you called on.

Party with a Plan

So, how do we put this knowledge into practice and drink responsibly? If you do decide to go out, it’s important to party with a plan, set a drink limit before going out, and know how you will get home safely. Below are other tips from UNC Bears:

  • Drink slowly and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks (like water!)
  • Make your own drinks and measure the alcohol in them so you know exactly how much you’ve had to drink
  • Keep an eye on your drink and stay with friends all night
  • Eat a meal before going out

Marijuana, Tobacco, Other Substances

Our Bears are Aware! And responsible marijuana use is important at UNC.

  • Marijuana

    Marijuana is the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Cannabis sativa plant. The main active ingredient in marijuana is THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical that causes the user to feel “high”.

    Health Effects

    Lungs: marijuana smoke contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke. Daily or near daily use can result in irritation of the lungs, which can cause a cough, bronchitis, mucus, and wheezing. Heavy marijuana smoking has been linked with tissue damage in the lungs, although we need more research to determine if this tissue damage increases the chances of developing lung cancer.

    Mental Health: daily or near-daily use of marijuana can have an effect on memory, and if used in large amounts can cause hallucinations and paranoia (also known as a “bad trip”).

    Secondhand Smoke: secondhand marijuana smoke still contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke. It’s important to be mindful of who is around you when you decide to light up.

    Under 21: young adults who use marijuana daily or near daily are more likely to have difficulty learning, experience memory issues, and have lower test scores.


    • Must be 21 or older to possess or consume marijuana
    • Can only legally possess 1 ounce of TCH
    • Marijuana is prohibited on UNC’s campus (regardless of age, amount, or medical needs)
    • Possible loss of financial aid and legal charges if found on UNC’s campus
    • Selling or giving marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 is considered a felony
  • Vaping and Nicotine

    E-cigarettes (also knowns as vapes or JUULs), have grown in popularity in the last few years. E-cigarettes are a battery-powered device that heats a liquid to form vapors that the user inhales. These liquids contain flavorings, nicotine, marijuana, or other potentially harmful substances. Because clinical studies about the safety of e-cigarettes have not been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you have no way of knowing which chemicals they contain, if they are safe, or how much nicotine you are inhaling.

    What we DO know

    • The brain is still growing and developing until the age 25. As the brain develops and continues to create memories or learns new skills, synapses are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Addiction is considered a form of learning, which means younger people are more apt to become addicted to nicotine.
    • Some substances found in e-cigarette vapor have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
    • Teens who vape are more likely to begin smoking cigarettes.

    The Surgeon General states:

    “The aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavoring such diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. Scientists are still working to understand more fully the health effects and harmful doses of e-cigarette contents when they are heated and turned into an aerosol, both for active users who inhale from a device and for those who are exposed to the aerosol secondhand. Another risk to consider involves defective e-cigarette batteries that have been known to cause fires and explosions, some of which have resulted in serious injuries. Most of the explosions happened when the e-cigarette batteries were being charged.”

Sexual Health


Birth control is used to prevent pregnancy. There are lots of different options out there – make sure to talk with your doctor about which is right for you!

  • Birth Control Implant
    99% effective and lasts up to 5 years.
  • IUD
    99% effective and lasts 3-12 years.
  • Birth Control Pill
    91% effective (with typical use). Take daily.
  • External (Male) Condom
    85% effective (with typical use). Use every time.
  • Abstinence
    100% effective. Used every time.

Sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections also know as a STI spread from one person to another during sexual activity. STI’s are more common than you think, and lots of people who have them don’t have any symptoms - which is why it’s so important to get tested! Getting tested is simple and easy.

Local resources that offer STI testing

Order a Bedside Box

The Bedside box offers sexual health resources to UNC students free of charge and discretely delivered right to your door. Just select the resource you’d like included in your Bedside box, followed by your name and mailing address. All submissions will remain private, and personal information (name, hall #, email) will not be used for any other purpose aside from providing these awesome resources to you!

Students can request one free package of safer sex supplies per semester. If you have any questions, please reach out to healthpromotion@unco.edu or follow us Instagram @UNCO_OHP. Orders will be delivered or available for pickup in approximately 5 business days after ordering.