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AWARE|University Counseling Center

Harm Reduction

AWARE promotes the message of personal wellness via guidance, education, research and collaboration focusing on healthy choices regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs. The AWARE program promotes this message through a positive approach focused on reducing harm for individuals who choose to drink and those around them. College students have the intellectual capacity to make responsible, informed decisions regarding personal substance use. It is not the role of the AWARE program to eliminate drinking, our goal is to provide students with accurate information regarding substance use and the skills necessary to reduce or eliminate harm.

UW Students
Although lifetime abstinence from alcohol and drugs may be the goal for particular individuals, it is not the goal for the majority of college students we see. We see students with various goals for their drinking, such as decreasing amount consumed per occasion, decreasing the frequency drinking occurs, or changing personal factors increasing safe behaviors. No matter what a student's goal is, our role is to meet them where they are and help them get to where they want to be.

Below are some harm reduction strategies to help keep you and those surrounding you safe.

  1. Switch between alcohol and non-alcohol beverages.
  2. Determine, in advance, not to exceed a set number of drinks.
  3. Choose not to drink alcohol.
  4. Use a designated driver.
  5. Eat before and/or during drinking.
  6. Keep track of how many drinks you have had.
  7. Be the designated driver.
  8. Suggest to a friend that they slow down or stop for the night.
  9. Refuse a ride from someone who has been drinking or is high.
  10. Keep a friend from leaving a party with someone they just met or did not come with, if they have been drinking.
  11. Have a friend let you know when you've had enough.
  12. Pace yourself to 1 or fewer drinks per hour.
  13. Avoid drinking games.
  14. Drink an alcohol look-alike (non-alcohol beer, punch), juice, or water.
  15. Call Safe Ride (766-RIDE).

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