Partying in a Socially Distant Way

(March 15) During the last 12 months, the pandemic – and the social distancing guidelines that accompanied it – has changed the way many college students interact.  
But now because of warmer temperatures, Spring Break, and St. Patrick’s Day – this is a typically active social time of year for many college students. In fact, in recent weeks, a few schools have had to crack down on large gatherings where many attendees are not wearing masks to protect against COVID-19. 
Unfortunately, the return of these parties could lead to other unsafe behavior: binge drinking and substance misuse. Almost 40% of 18 to 25 year-olds admitted to using illicit drugs within the past year, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).  
Drug use overall has increased during the pandemic. And people with substance misuse disorder can be more susceptible to COVID 19
As a campus prevention professional, you know two things: 1) Having a social life is an important part of the college experience, and 2) There are plenty safe ways to do so. 
If you know students who are looking for healthy, social ways to have fun, check out the ideas below: 
Head Outdoors: Get a few of your close friends together for an outdoor activity! Whether it’s a cook-out, an outdoor dance or yoga class, a paintball game, a water balloon fight – you're almost guaranteed to have fun and create lasting memories. Just be sure to follow social distancing guidelines.
Video get-togethers: While many people may be tired of online platforms (like Zoom or FaceTime to name a couple) they are good options for staying connected in a safe way. You could use them to chat and catch up with your friends, or play a game (like a scavenger hunt, “Never Have I Ever,” or some kind of trivia game). 
Watch party: Get a few friends to choose a date, time, and movie.  After watching the movie, get together – virtually – right after to talk about your favorite parts or hate on it. 


Get more resources on virtual prevention 

Virtual resources for campus professionals 
Reimagining AOD Prevention: Making the Transition to the Virtual Space

Resources to Help Your Patients with SUD During the COVID-19 Pandemic