Think Before You Drink
For many adults, enjoying a drink can be a welcomed way to spend time with friends. Whether you go to a local bar or micro-brewery, a party, or just hanging out at homes with friends, it is important to remember if you overindulge, it can lead to some not-so-good effects. To make sure that you and your friends have fun and stay safe, try following these simple tips…
1. Plan Ahead
Talk to someone with a DUI and they’ll likely say they didn’t intend to drink and drive. Deciding in advance to either have a non-drinking designated driver, using a rideshare (like Uber or Lyft), or spending the night can mean you can avoid one of the most dangerous aspects of drinking.
However, sometimes people still end up drinking too much to the point where alcohol is no longer enjoyable. They may move on up the BAC curve to the not-so-good feelings and outcomes.
So for those of you who may be drinking…
2.Eat food before and during drinking
Eating a meal before drinking can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol and help to avoid a spike in your blood alcohol content (BAC).
3.Track how much you consume
Depending on the type and size of the drink, the amount of alcohol can vary. Here are the standard drink sizes for the four most common drinks:
- 12 fluid ounces of beer with %5 alcohol (darker beers often have higher alcohol content)
- 8 – 9 fluid ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of table wine (dessert wines such as Port have more alcohol content than table wine)
- 5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirts (like vodka and tequila)
Source: (NIH, National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)
Keep in mind that mixed drinks, like a margarita or a mojito, contain more than one drink. If you are unsure, look up the recipes before you order and watch how it is prepared.
4.Use the one drink per hour rule
Pacing your drinking is an excellent way to maintain your buzz without overconsuming. It takes your body approximately 1 hour to absorb and eliminate each standard drink of alcohol. Also, remember that many craft beers, a large glass of wine, or a strong mixed drink are likely more than one standard drink!
5.Do not mix alcohol and drugs
The mixing of alcohol and drugs can have adverse and unpredictable effects. There is an increased chance of liver problems, difficulty breathing, confusion, and dizziness. There is even an increase chance of overdose and death in some cases. Your best bet is not to mix and to avoid illegal drugs altogether.
Be safe, know your limits, and have a Happy Halloween!
By Russell Argenal, Graduate Health Promotion Intern, MPH canidate
- J. McKnight et al., “Why People Drink and Drive: The Bases of Drinking-and-Driving Decisions,” Final Report (Springfield, VA: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1995).