HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

Table of Contents

 Section II–Playing It Safe Caution

Previous Topic | Next Topic

Alcohol & Alcohol Safety

Before drinking, think about its possible consequences (e.g., academic and health problems, unsafe sex, assault, injury, and even death). These consequences affect the person who drinks as well as other students (whether they choose to drink or not) and the community as a whole. See “Effects of Alcohol in your Blood” below.

Effects of Alcohol in Your Blood

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. How drinking affects your body and mind depends upon your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is related to how much alcohol you drink in a given period of time and your body weight.

% of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Body Weight Number of Drinks in Two Hours*
(lbs)  2 4 6   8  10
120 0.06 0.12 0.19 0.25 0.31
140 0.05 0.11 0.16 0.21 0.27
160 0.05 0.09 0.14 0.19 0.23
180 0.04 0.08 0.13 0.17 0.21
200 0.04 0.08 0.11 0.15 0.19
BAC Effects
0.05% Relaxed state. Judgment is not as sharp. Release of tension; carefree feeling.
0.08%** Inhibitions are lessened.
0.10%** Movements and speech are clumsy.
0.20% Very drunk. Can be hard to understand. Emotions can be unstable. 100 times greater risk for traffic accident.
0.40% Deep sleep. Hard to wake up. Not able to make voluntary actions.
0.50% Can result in coma and/or death
* 1 drink equals 11/2 ounces 80-proof hard liquor, 12 ounces beer, or 5 ounces wine.

** Some states use 0.08 as the lowest indicator of driving while intoxicated. Some use 0.10.

Alcohol Poisoning

Call 9-1-1 for one or more of the following signs of alcohol poisoning or combining alcohol and other drugs, such as sedatives or tranquilizers. Act quickly. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal.

  • Unconsciousness. This means the person is hard to rouse and can’t be made aware of his or her surroundings. This can be brief, such as with fainting or blacking out. It can put a person into a coma.
  • No breathing or slow and shallow breathing. This means 10 or fewer breaths per minute or time lapses of more than 8 seconds between breaths.
  • Slow pulse rate (40 or fewer beats per minute)
  • Skin that is cold, clammy, and/or pale or blue in color

{Note: Before emergency care arrives, place the person on his or her side with the knees bent, to prevent choking, if he or she vomits. Loosen the person’s clothing around the neck and check the mouth and back of the throat to see that nothing obstructs the person’s breathing. Stay with the person.}

Alcohol Safety Tips

bullet Choose substance-free housing, if available and desired.
bullet Be aware and think about the risks and consequences of drinking, including getting arrested, getting sick, contracting an STD, etc. One incident of alcohol use could cause you to do something you will regret for the rest of your life. Alcohol plays a part in most sexual assaults.
bullet Don’t mix drinking with driving, drugs, or operating machines. Doing so can be fatal. Designate a sober driver.
bullet Don’t give in to peer pressure or drink because “everyone else does it.” Not everyone drinks. Be with people who drink non alcoholic beverages or ones that look like “drinks,” such as non alcoholic beer in a glass. Also, it is better to get medical help for a person who needs it instead of worrying about getting a friend in trouble.
bullet Drink alcohol only if you want to, and if you do:
  • Know your limit and stick to it or don’t drink any alcohol.
  • Drink slowly. You are apt to drink less. Nurse one drink during a party. Take fake sips, if necessary. In reality, anything over two drinks does not increase the feeling of pleasure. Drinking too much leads to being unable to enjoy yourself.
  • Eat when you drink. Food helps to slow alcohol absorption.
  • Alternate an alcoholic beverage with a non alcoholic one. Use non alcohol or reduced alcohol beverages. Don’t drink distilled beverages straight. Dilute them. Use more and more mixer and less and less alcohol. After two drinks, your taste buds are dulled and you won’t be able to notice much difference.
  • Don’t participate in drinking contests and games.

ComputerFor Information, Contact:

Emergency Medical Service (Call 9-1-1) if you suspect alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose

Your school’s Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, or Alcohol and other Drug Program

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline
800.ALCOHOL (252.6465)

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters (includes Alateen)
888.4AL.ANON (425.2666)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Drug Treatment Referral Routing Service
800.662.HELP (4357)

Facts on Tap Web site

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information (NCADI)

©2005, 6th edition. American Institute for Preventive Medicine All rights reserved.
The content on this website is proprietary.

December 08, 2005