Alcohol Awareness Tips

Drunk Driving

  • Young drivers are over-represented in both alcohol and non-alcohol-related fatality rates. Alcohol-related fatality rates are nearly twice as great for 18-, 19-, and 20-year olds as for the population over 21.
  • More than 40 percent of 18-, 19-, and 20-years old crash fatalities are alcohol-related.
  • A young person dies in an alcohol-related traffic crash an average of once every three hours a day.

Designated Driver

A Designated Driver is a person who agrees not to drink any alcoholic beverages and to safely transport the other group members home. If it's a large group, more than one Designated Driver may be needed. Designated Drivers should not drink any alcoholic beverages and are therefore never the person least drunk. Designated Drivers are also important if someone is taking medication that makes them drowsy or otherwise impaired and not fit to drive.

Does Everybody Do It?—All Students

  • Four out of ten college freshmen don't drink.
  • Most college students drink moderately or not at all.

How Much Is Too Much?

Sometimes people wonder: Do I drink too much? Am I in control of my drinking? Am I setting myself up for drinking-related problems? The following questions are designed to help you identify drinking habits that may cause problems for you. Answer honestly; no one but you will know the score.

  1. Have you cut afternoon classes so you can party?
  2. Have you missed morning classes because of a hangover?
  3. Have you done poorly on an exam because you drank too much the night before?
  4. When drinking, have you ever done something for which you were later sorry or embarrassed?
  5. Have you ever "blacked out" while drinking (not been able to remember things you said or did)?
  6. Do you frequently drink until you are drunk? Do you drink to get drunk?
  7. Do you choose friends on the basis of how much they drink?
  8. Have you ever had problems with friends, family, roommates, boy/girlfriend, college authorities, or the law as the result of drinking?
  9. Is drinking affection your reputation?
  10. Does it bother you when other people say you drink too much?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, stop and think for a moment. You may be doing yourself some harm. Maybe it's time to talk to someone, get some information. People at the student health or counseling center will be happy to give you confidential information.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: "What causes a problem is a problem."

Top Ten Ways To Turn Down A Drink

One of these should work for you, whether you're shy, confident, or just looking to be really cool!

"Thanks, but no thanks!"
"I've had enough."
"Thanks, but I've got a ton of work to do later."
"I'd rather get my own, thanks."
"Not for me, I have to work tomorrow morning."
"I'm driving tonight."
"I have a game/practice tomorrow."
"I'm O.K. for now, maybe later."
"No thanks, I'm taking medication."
"I'm dieting...alcohol's got too many calories."

Saying No With A Different Twist

With an invitation...

Leave the door open for the future.
"Not now, but maybe later"
"Another time"

With a pretend friend...
"Sorry, I promised someone else that honor."

With an attitude...
"You know what your problem is? You think too much about others. Can I get you another drink?"

Have a quick one liner, like...
"No thanks, I'm still a little partied out from the last party."
"Sorry, I am getting ready to leave out of here."
"No thank you, I'm allergic to alcohol and it's not a pretty picture."

Handling A Medical Emergency

Here's a checklist to remember when you party and encounter someone who is semi-conscious or unconscious:

  • Danger Signs
    1. Try to wake the person. Are they unconscious? Does he or she respond to pinching of the skin or shouting their name?
    2. Check their skin color and temperature. If the person is pale or bluish, or if the skin is cold or clammy, he or she may not be getting enough oxygen.
    3. Check their breathing. If he or she is breathing irregularly, with a few breaths and then nothing for a while, or if he or she are breathing very slowly or shallowly, this is a sign that medical attention is necessary.
  • What To Do.
    1. Seek emergency medical help if your friend shows any of the above signs.
    2. Turn the person on their side and leave them only if necessary to call for medical assistance. If the person is on his or her side they may not choke if they get sick and vomit. Don't let them roll over onto their back.
  • What Not To Do.
    1. Don't assume your semi-conscious or unconscious friend will be O.K. sleeping it off.
    2. Don't let fear about how your friend may respond tomorrow prevent you from acting and getting help when they need it. It may be the greatest thing you could ever do in the name of friendship.
    3. The best way to handle the situation is to stop it before it happens to a friend or to yourself.

Safety Tips

You're of legal age and you plan to drink

  • Set a "Party Safe" goal for how many drinks you are going to have. Tell a friend the limit, count your drinks and stick to you goal.
  • Remember that famous expression, HALT. Don't drink if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. HALT drinking if any of those apply.
  • Don't gulp your drinks; you'll get drunk faster. Plus it doesn't look cool. Drink slowly and make it last.
  • Don't drink on an empty stomach. Always eat before you drink...a full meal.
  • Alternate between alcohol and non-alcohol beverages.. Designer water is always a good choice.
  • Don't encourage or approve reckless and irresponsible behavior caused by intoxication.
  • Before you celebrate, designate. Take turns with friends so everyone gets to be it!
  • Remember, saying "No" is absolutely fine. Look around; you will be surprised that a lot of folks choose not to drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Remember, you are responsible for your decisions about when to drink and how much to drink. You are equally responsible for all of the consequences that may result from making poor decisions when it comes to drinking alcohol.

Physical Effects

  • Alcohol promotes water loss.
  • Water loss caused by alcohol consumption involves the additional loss of important mineral such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. That means you will be less coordinated and your muscles will not work as well.
  • Alcohol will raise your blood pressure.
  • The consumption of alcohol result in becoming exhausted quicker when you exercise.
  • Almost one third of student reported that one or more times they performed poorly in practice or a game due to drinking
  • Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns.
  • Athletes like strong muscles and alcohol screws up the release of those important growth hormones.
  • Alcohol is bad for your memory and makes it harder to remember

Mood

  • Think before you drink. Alcohol may not always affect you in the same way. If you are upset, stressed out, tired or angry, alcohol may have a stronger impact than it might normally have.
  • What is your mood as you get ready to go to a party? If you are feeling OK, it's a much safer time to drink. Drinking when you're bummed out is an escape and could even be an indicator of problem drinking.
  • Ask yourself how drinking will affect your body tonight. If you're a woman there are additional things to consider time of the month, whether you are using oral contraceptives. All of this can play a role in how alcohol will affect you.

How Does Intoxication Occur?

Almost all of the alcohol consumed is metabolized by the liver at a rate of about one half ounce of pure ethyl alcohol per hours (about the amount contained in one drink). This rate will vary from person at which it is metabolized. You're probably going to find yourself starting to feel the effects of drinking too much to quickly. Alcohol continues to circulate through all parts of the body until the liver has had enough time to work. That tipsy feeling occurs because the brain is the organ most affected by the alcohol you consume.

The Real Buzz

  • Most of you don't drink excessively when you "party."
  • Most of you disapprove of drunkenness, which interferes with other responsibilities and others' rights.
  • Most students don't drink so much that they cause physical harm to themselves or others.
  • On campuses where excessive drinking is more common, the vast majority of college students have experienced one or more problems as a result of their buddies' abusive drinking behavior. These problems include all assault, sexual harassment and loss of sleep and study time.

Mixing

Always make and measure your own mixed drinks in order to control what type of alcohol—and how much alcohol—you are drinking. This way you are responsible for what's in your drink. Drinking games, slammers, punches or weird concoctions are not the way to go; you just can't control what you're going to get. There are some folks out there putting some pretty funky stuff in drinks these days, so watch out and know who mixed you what.

Prescription Drugs

  • Many prescription drugs are definitely not to be mixed with alcohol. Make sure you've checked this out. Also, many over-the-counter cold and flu medications should not be mixed with alcohol. Women also are likely to be more susceptible to the effects of alcohol when taking birth control pills or other medications containing estrogen.
  • Think twice before taking aspirin or other headache remedies before you drink to prevent a hangover. Studies show that men's BAC after taking aspirin can be 40 to 100 percent higher than for the same amount of alcohol without aspirin. These higher BAC levels last for nearly 90 minutes after the drink. (no work yet on whether the same thin happens to women.) the reason is that aspirin in the stomach suppresses the enzyme that helps the body break down alcohol before it gets into the blood. Similar results have been seen with acetaminophen, the pain-killing ingredient in Tylenol and other over-the-counter medications.
  • In both men and women, alcohol exaggerates the effects of antihistamines, which are a key ingredient in many over-the –counter cold, flu and allergy remedies. The combination of alcohol and antihistamines can cause severe central nervous system depression. Things get even more complicated when the flu/cold/allergy remedies contain aspirin or acetaminophen (the pain-killing ingredient in Tylenol). That's because these painkillers can increase you BAC, which means an ever greater risk of the alcohol exaggerating the effect of the antihistamines.

Nausea

  • Some people don't realize that alcohol is an irritant as well as a sedative. In excessive doses it can do quite a number on your digestive system. The bottom line is that you're more likely to get nauseous drinking on an empty stomach than on a full stomach.
  • Alcohol can irritate the lining of your stomach enough to produce nausea or vomiting. The problem is the pyloric valve, which regulates the passage of the stomach's contents into the small intestine. It's sensitive to the presence of alcohol. A large concentration of alcohol can cause the pyloric valve to spasm, or get "stuck" in the closed position temporarily. This will keep the alcohol from passing from the stomach to the small intestine and result in nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Food Effects

  • Don't drink on an empty stomach. Always eat before you drink, a full meal if possible. Because food delays the passage of alcohol into the small intestine, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly when there is food in the stomach. Substantial food will work better than, say, a tossed green salad. Take advantage of that meal plan. The food may not be the greatest, but it's one place you can get a balanced, full meal.
  • The chances are the foods available at the party will be pretty salty. If you get really thirsty, a non-alcohol drink like soda or juice might quench you thirst better than one with alcohol. Remember, alternation alcohol will a non-alcohol drink works really well.
  • When drinking at a party, try snacking on foods that are low in salt, like bread sticks or cheese and crackers.
  • Remember that a 1.5 oz. shot of liquor, a 5 oz. glass of wine, and a 12 oz. can of beer all contain about the same amount of alcohol and, assuming you drink them in the same time period, all will have a similar effect.

Sobering Up

  • Remember this: All the ways you've heard to sober up fast are bogus. It's a matter of time...and only time. Not coffee, not exercise, not even a cold shower will accelerate the process. They'll only make you a wide-awake, wet drunk. There just isn't any way to speed up the sobering-up process.
  • Sobering up takes time! That magnificent liver of yours can only metabolize about half an ounce of pure ethyl alcohol per hour, which is roughly the same as ONE DRINK per hour. Three drinks – three hours. The time it takes to sober up may vary among people depending on age, weight, gender, health, tolerance and lots of other things, but the end result is the same; there's no way to sober up quickly.

Hangover

  • In spite of all your useless efforts to sober up last night, you have a wicked hangover. If you drink too much, there is a good chance you are going to suffer the effects of the "morning after the night before."
  • There are a lot of theories about why hangovers occur, but there is no simple explanation...so here are some of the not-so-simple ones. An accumulation of acetaldehyde...dehydration of the tissues...depletion of important enzyme systems needed to maintain routine functioning...metabolism of different types of alcohol beverages. There are also these things called "congeners," which are the natural by-products of the fermentation and preparation of alcohol beverages. Congeners are responsible for the different smells, tastes, and colors of alcohol beverages. Many believe that the reactions different people have to these congeners might have something to do with the potential hangover effect.

Stay Active When You Party

Keep active at a party. Don't just sit and drink all night. If you keep active, you will probably drink less and pace your drinking. This will help keep you at a safe and moderate level. And monitor your own drink. If you put it down to go do something, don't pick it up again. Who knows what's in it now?

Time

  • Wear a watch—and stop drinking at least one hour before you leave a party, longer if you've been drinking heavily. Remember that your blood alcohol level continues to rise for 20 to 40 minutes after you've had your last drink, as alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstreams.
  • Set a time when you will leave the party. County your drinks and pace yourself: make sure you leave sober. Stop drinking at least an hour before the time you have set to leave. Stay with your plan.
  • If you drink faster, if you drink longer, and if you drink stuff that would peel the polish off a fender watch out! The faster the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, the greater the impairment. This is where you're going to run into problems with that aberrant part of college culture: drinking games. Per hour, the liver can only metabolize about the amount of alcohol contained in one drink, one beer, or one glass of wine. This rate varies among individuals.
  • Here's a tip: Remember the word HALT. Don't drink if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Your body and your mind are much more susceptible to the effects of alcohol when you are in these states.
  • You'll need rest and time for recovery. For most college students, rest and time are two things not often in your daily schedule. A lot of students who drink too much and wake up with hangovers end up suffering academically...skipping classes, blowing off assignments and ultimately winding up with poor grades.
  • And if you don't have a hangover after a night of excessive drinking, you may exhibit risk factors that suggest a very serious problem.