ECU has been labeled a "party school," partly because of the enthusiastic tailgating that occurs despite chronic football losses and because of the annual Halloween celebration; yet, a lot of students choose not to drink excessively or use illegal drugs. ECU Police most often cite students for underage drinking and for possessing marijuana, with misuse of prescription drugs coming in third. ECU Police have issued several DUI citations to students who try to move their cars after going clubbing. Adventurous students sometimes smoke pot in dorms, but the resident advisors usually smell it and turn students in instead of asking to share a smoke. Violations have decreased since a zero-tolerance policy was instated, requiring that students be banned from campus housing after just one reported violation involving illegal substances in the dorms. Under the new policy, even collections of empty alcohol bottles are banned.
Even though drugs are available here, and some students use them, there does not seem to be overwhelming pressure on the general population to use them. Students seem to be developing more lasting problems with alcohol than with illegal drugs. Drug abuse certainly can adversely affect a student's academic career, and many who party too much don't come back for second semester. Students must find a balance between academics and socializing early in college.