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Substance Misuse Prevention

These pages are designed to provide information on substance misuse prevention efforts at Virginia Tech. You will find a number of suggestions regarding what you can do to prevent negative consequences resulting from alcohol use. If, after exploring this site, you would like further information or have questions concerning substance misuse prevention at Virginia Tech, please contact Hokie Wellness at 540-231-2233.

Alcohol Judicial Policy and Practice

Virginia Tech is an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia and, as such, enforces the laws of the Commonwealth, including the prohibition of underage consumption of alcoholic beverages. Students who violate that law (also a university policy) will face appropriate action and sanctions. Some educational materials on this site promote low-risk alcohol consumption for those who choose to consume alcohol and should not be construed as endorsing or promoting underage consumption.

Educational Philosophy

Virginia Tech believes that decisions concerning alcohol consumption are a personal choice, and that students should make informed alcohol use decisions. For those students who are not 21, the only legal choice is to abstain from drinking. However, for those who choose to consume alcohol, we recommend that they consume alcohol in a low-risk and legal manner to reduce or eliminate negative outcomes associated with alcohol use.

Choice Equals Accountability

While we believe that decisions concerning alcohol consumption are a personal choice, we encourage students to make legal and low-risk decisions concerning their alcohol use decisions. When students make illegal or high-risk choices concerning alcohol, we hold them accountable for their actions. For more information, visit the Virginia Tech Alcohol Policies section.

We also encourage students to speak up when their friends, peers and neighbors make choices that have a negative impact on their lives. To learn more about this program, visit the Speak Up - Speak Out section.

Why teach low risk drinking?

While it is important for the university to enforce Commonwealth Alcohol Laws, we also have a duty to implement effective alcohol abuse prevention programs and strategies. Some of the most effective strategies are based on the concept of "harm reduction." Harm reduction refers to strategies that attempt to reduce the frequency and severity of negative outcomes related to alcohol use. Research indicates that harm-reduction strategies are one of the most effective approaches for reducing alcohol use and abuse among college students. Thus, one of the major strategies we use is to provide information that will assist those students who choose to drink to reduce alcohol-related negative outcomes.