API Policies on

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol Policy

  • Before going on a program with API, participants must sign our API Participant Agreement and Code of Conduct which includes more specifics on our Alcohol and Drug policies.
  • In many API program sites, most university students are of legal drinking age. At the on-site orientation, the correlation between drinking and unsafe or risky behavior is specifically addressed. Participants are encouraged to carefully monitor their own alcohol consumption and act responsibly.
  • If you are of legal dringing age, drink only in the company of trusted friends and host locals and never drink to the point of inebriation or loss of control. Remember that you are not in a familiar environment of your home campus anymore, so it is wise to be extra cautious. You should also keep your eyes on your drink at all times, and do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • The API Participant Agreement and Code of Conduct prohibit alcohol consumption during API-sponsored events (i.e. group dinners or activities), and they also expressly prohibit alcohol abuse.
  • If you engage in behaviors that put your own safety or that of your program peers at risk, you could be dismissed from the API program, and under these circumstances you would need to return home at your own expense, potentially forfeiting academic credit and/or financial aid.
  • API strives to make all participants aware that many dangers abroad are avoidable through careful monitoring of one’s consumption of alcohol and by making prudent choices about socializing and traveling.

We are often asked if it is safe to drink at night in the host country:

Nightlife is a vibrant part of many cultures abroad and experiencing it will be part of the fun and enjoyment of living in your host country. The key is to be smart about participating in the local nighttime activities. API highly recommends that you give yourself time to acclimate to your host city and benefit from our extensive on-site orientations before exploring the nightlife too much. In other words, you need to know where to go and where not to go, and you need to know how to get around and how to back home late at night. Our orientation sessions include tours of the host city and host institution, as well as overviews of the cityscape. You are encouraged to explore the city in small groups with other participants during the day in order to become more familiar with their neighborhoods. Take it easy with nighttime socializing until you’ve had time to figure things out.

Past participants have reported that the on-site orientation helped them to better understand the layout of their city, gain familiarity with the local transportation system and feel overall more comfortable in their new home away from home so that they felt comfortable when going out at night.

If you are concerned about your drinking (or that of your peers), resources exist around the world through Alcoholics Anonymous:

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services
P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station
New York, NY 10163
Tel: 212-870-3400

Illegal Substance Policy

  • API policy prohibits drug use for program participants.
  • If participants are found to be using drugs in or out of program housing, consequences will range from a written warning to dismissal from housing or the program, depending on the severity of the incident.
  • Drug use includes misuse of prescription medication (e.g., sharing your ADHD medication with friends or using anti-anxiety medication like XANAX recreationally).
  • Cannabis products are illegal in many countries, and penalties for possession can be severe. Even if you use them for medicinal purposes, it is vital that you research the laws of your host country before traveling to avoid any problems. Do not assume that the host country will have lighter consequences if you show a medicinal card/prescription.
  • Drug laws differ from country to country, as they differ from state to state in the U.S. In many countries, the penalties for using, dealing or being caught with drugs that are not prescribed to you can be serious, including fines, imprisonment, or worse. If you are arrested for the use or possession of drugs you are subject to the laws of your host country and there is nothing API or the U.S. Embassy can do to modify the consequences.
  • You are responsible for complying with local drug laws whether or not you know what the law is. Don’t take chances – avoid them completely.
  • Never carry an unknown package for a new friend or stranger. If you are arrested with drugs, you can be found guilty whether or not you knew what you possessed. This is not just a cautionary tale based on a Hollywood story like Brokedown Palace. The risk is real.

Use of Prescription Drugs

  • API does not allow sharing of prescription drugs with others.
  • Prescription medication is given specifically for the prescribed party, under the supervision of that party’s doctor, taking into consideration other health concerns and medical history.
  • Sharing your medicine with a friend, without knowing that person’s medical history, allergies, other medication being taken at the time, etc., can have severe unintended consequences, and is strictly prohibited by API.
  • If you are with a friend who appears to be having a reaction to a prescription drug, call the local equivalent of 911 (your API representative will share the local number during orientation) and your on-site representative.