Although some hardcore drugs may be used on campus, it’s definitely kept private and hidden from mainstream campus life. Smoking cigarettes is not very common, but many students seem to almost brag about their drinking ability. However, partying at Bowdoin is relatively calm because it is primarily limited to the weekends—the rigorous academic schedule does not really allow otherwise.
Most students feel little pressure to join in drinking or use drugs. Bowdoin students respect the wishes of others and will not put them in situations in which they are not comfortable. If you are looking for a night of heavy alcohol consumption, it will be available, at least on Fridays and Saturdays. But if you aren't interested in drinking, there are usually other events going such as performances in Pickard Theater, movies at Frontier Café, or various lectures from visiting professors. Students at Bowdoin would never think of making anyone get involved in something that is not their thing—they will just hope you are having a good time doing whatever you plan on doing.