Skip to main content

Navigating Important Conversations

Home Navigating Important Conversations

Your wisdom and guidance have informed your students’ decisions up until this point in their lives and will continue to play a critical role in supporting their overall health and well-being throughout their time on campus and beyond.

We’ve found that having conversations about substance use with family members prior to their arrival on campus contributes to an increase in student safety, ownership of their choices, and more positive experiences throughout their time at Duke.

Students who have already thought about their own boundaries, social priorities, values, and familial expectations feel more confident in responding to challenges and scenarios that a new environment can bring, including those involving alcohol and other drugs.

We offer the following suggestions below to help get the conversation started:

  • If you choose not to drink or use other drugs, what will you do to avoid peer pressure?
  • If you decide to drink or use other drugs, how might it impact the goals you’ve set?
  • What are reasonable limits (speed and quantity) for alcohol consumption?
  • How will you know if you have had too much to drink?
  • How will you avoid, or use caution, around liquor knowing it is involved in most alcohol poisoning situations?
  • How will you respond if a friend needs assistance after drinking or using other drugs?

In addition to the conversations you have with your student, they will also participate in the online, Wellness at Duke Module to gain additional knowledge and become aware of campus resources related to overall health and wellness and substance use. The module and orientation-week discussions will provide them with additional tools to make healthy, value-based decisions and build upon the concepts that you and your student will have already discussed.

While you may not be a part of every decision that your student makes at Duke, we encourage you to be clear about what expectations you have for your student. Discussing expectations—whatever those may be—brings a sense of transparency and reminds students of their responsibility for their own education. Your conversations with your student are an important part of their preparation for college.

For more information about substance use education on campus, contact DuWell ( and/or encourage your student to reach out if they want to talk to someone on campus about substance use.