As a parent of a future or current college student, we know that two of the biggest concerns you have are whether your student will be safe and whether or not your student will succeed academically. Both of these concerns are understandable and are often closely tied to the use of alcohol and other drugs in the college environment.

Partners in Prevention is an organization of institutions dedicated to reducing high risk drinking among Missouri’s college students. We think it is important for you to know the extent of the problem at Missouri’s colleges and universities and how you can help us be a part of the solution.

Alcohol use and abuse among students is a serious problem on college campuses with many risks and consequences.

Physical Consequences

Many students don’t know standard drink sizes and accidentally drink more than intended, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.

one drink

Academic Consequences

Partying during the week and drinking irresponsibly can lead to missing classes, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.

Legal Consequences

In Missouri, there are many laws and campus policies that regulate the use of alcohol. Violating these laws/policies could result in prosecution in the courts as well as through campus judicial offices, which could impose a student suspension or probation from campus. Educate yourself and your student on these laws.

Future Career Consequences

Many companies today are conducting background checks on potential employees. For college students convicted of drug and drinking-related offenses, it could prove difficult to find employment or admittance into graduate and professional programs, such as medical or law school.

As a parent, it is very important that you discuss the risks and consequences associated with alcohol abuse and alcohol use by those under 21. Looking for the right words to bring up the topic of alcohol in college?

Remind your student that not everyone drinks in college

About 1/3 of Missouri college students don’t drink!* There are plenty of ways to have fun in college that don’t include alcohol. Encourage your student to get involved in extracurricular activities and organizations!

Remind your student to keep themself safe

It is illegal to drink while under the age of 21 in Missouri. Talk to your student about avoiding drinking to get drunk, remind them that you can still enjoy the positive benefits of socializing with alcohol without the negative consequences.

Remind your student to keep their friends safe

93% of Missouri college students would call 911 or take a friend to the hospital if they thought they had alcohol poisoning.*

Most Missouri college students use a designated driver.

Encourage your student to have at least one sober friend for every four consuming alcohol.

Share your expectations with your student

Talk with them about balancing academic work and social life. Talk with them about the legal and student conduct consequences of getting an alcohol violation and share with them that you expect that they conduct themselves responsibility while in college. Hold them accountable for these expectations.

While alcohol is a major concern on college campuses, there are a number of other concerns your student may deal with during their time in college.

It is important that you encourage your student to seek help for these issues and consult the many resources your campus may offer (health services, counseling services, wellness centers, tutoring). It is also important that you support your student without being judgmental, as the stigma surrounding some of these issues can prevent them from asking for help.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence and stalking are taken very seriously. Our campuses are educating, preventing and responding to violence; however, as parents you can do something, too! Talk to your student about consent, how to get and give clear consent and how to be a supportive friend.


80% of Missouri college students believe the typical student uses marijuana, when in reality 76% do not! Talk with your student about the pressures of drug use and the many health and legal consequences that come with marijuana use.

Mental Health

Stress will likely be something your student faces while at college. Proper time management can help relieve some stress, but figuring out stress-relief techniques is important for all students. If issues with mental health extend beyond stress, encourage your student to visit the campus mental health services or counseling center. Remain supportive and check in with your student regularly.

Rx misuse

Prescription drug misuse, addiction, and overdose is growing issue on college campuses and the pressure to take these drugs is real. Talk to your student about keeping medications safe and out of sight and properly dispose of any unused medication in your home.

*MCHBS 2014