Drinking & Drugs

When traveling overseas, it's important to obey the laws and regulations of the country you're visiting, especially those pertaining to drug and alcohol use. Every year, many U.S. citizen students are arrested abroad on drug charges or because of their behavior under the influence. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so be informed.

Avoid underage and excessive alcohol consumption. While abroad, driving under the influence and drinking on the street or on public transportation may be considered criminal activities by local authorities, as they would be in many places in the United States.

Make sure your prescription medication is not considered an illegal narcotic. If you are going abroad with a preexisting medical condition, you should carry a letter from your doctor describing your condition and medications, including the generic names of prescribed drugs. Any medications carried overseas should be in their original containers and clearly labeled. Check with the foreign country's embassy here in the U.S. to make sure your medications are not considered illegal narcotics. A listing of foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. is available on the Department of State's website.

Don't accept packages from anyone. Some U.S. citizens think it's a good idea to take advantage of an offer for an all-expense paid vacation abroad in exchange for carrying a small package in their luggage. This is often a scam to trick you into smuggling drugs or contraband. If the package contains illegal drugs or substances, the fact that you didn't know that you were carrying it will not reduce the charges. You could miss your flight, your exams, or the rest of your life during a stay behind bars.

Don't import, purchase, use, or have drugs in your possession. Drug charges can carry severe consequences, including imprisonment without bail for up to a year before a case is tried and sentences ranging from fines and jail time to years of hard labor. Some crimes even carry the penalty of death. Contraband or paraphernalia associated with illegal drug use can also get you in trouble.