When it comes to drugs and drinking, the general consensus is that students are free to choose what they want to take part in, and there will be no consequences for choosing to be sober. As for drugs, the most common, by far, is pot. If that’s your thing, you are likely to find others to light up with, but if not, there is no pressure to partake. Pot is mostly found in social settings, like off-campus parties, but even so, it’s usually in a back room somewhere, hidden from the general public. The smell tends to emanate throughout the party, but if you want to smoke, you have to go find it. A few students also use prescription “study drugs” like Adderall and Ritalin, but again, if that’s your thing, seek it out. If it’s not, you can go your entire career at Northwestern and never come across it. Drugs like these are used entirely by choice and will never be forced upon those who aren't interested.
However, the ultimate campus drug of choice is alcohol. The social drinking scene is pretty noticeable, and alcohol is fairly easy to obtain for underage students. But the drinking is mostly contained to off-campus apartments or fraternity parties. If you’re looking to drink, just walk into a frat party, and you will find mixed drinks and shots galore, not to mention the kegs and refrigerators full of beer found at many off-campus parties. But again, you choose your experience. You have to go to the alcohol if you want it; it won’t approach you. If you want to drink yourself into a stupor every Friday night, there are plenty of opportunities for that, but if you want a more toned-down experience, you are able to find that, as well.