Winter break. You made it. After another stressful semester of college you are ready to head home, with free time to spend with family and friends. Over the holidays you unwind and often that means partying with old friends and even family. But what’s the point of catching up if you don’t remember?
- Standard drink equals 12-ounce beer, 10-ounce wine cooler, 4-ounce wine, 1.5-ounce hard liquor. Most people drink more than a standard drink with each pour. When you drink, you should keep track of how much you are drinking and do so in standard drinks.
- Alcohol enters your bloodstream in as little as 10 seconds. About 20 percent of alcohol is absorbed through your stomach, and only 10 percent of the alcohol you consume doesn’t go to your bloodstream. Eating slows down the rate that alcohol is absorbed, but it does not lower your blood-alcohol content.
- The higher the alcohol concentration (hard liquor), the faster your body absorbs alcohol. Effervescent (bubbly) drinks also increase the rate that alcohol is absorbed. Remember that when you toast on New Year’s Eve.
- Blackouts happen at a BAC of 0.15 to 0.25. A lethal dose of alcohol is between 0.3 and 0.45.
- After a night of drinking, the only way to sober up is time. Water, vitamins, and food help the way you feel after a night of drinking, but the only thing that decreases your BAC is time- at a rate of 0.016 percent per hour.
- The U of A adapted the Good Samaritan (UAGOODSAM) Policy which takes the fear of legal ramifications out of an underage caller making the call for a friend who might have alcohol poisoning. Some cities and counties have also adopted this policy (unfortunately, Tucson isn’t one of them). Check out your local policies when you head to break. Regardless, if you think a friend needs medical attention, make the call, you don’t want to have someone’s life on your conscious.
- Men and women are effected by alcohol at different rates. Men have more of the enzyme gastric alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps them break down alcohol faster. Body composition also plays a role, on average, men have more muscle and as a result are about 60 percent water, whereas women have less and are about 50 percent water. Hormone levels also play a role, women’s hormone levels change during the luteal phase (usually days 23-28) of their menstrual cycles, during this period women can become more intoxicated and stay drunk longer. Keep this in mind before you get competitive with a friends at parties.
Plan to Stay Safe
- If you aren’t 21, it is illegal to drink.
- If you are 21, the legal limit for drinking and driving is 0.08 percent. Some states, like Arizona, are 0 tolerance states, meaning you can get a DUI with any level of alcohol in your system.
- The only way to get sober is time. From a BAC of 0.08 percent, it takes five hours to be sober from the time you stop drinking. If you have a BAC of 0.16 percent, it will take 10 hours to become sober from the time you stop drinking. Have you ever had a morning where you wake up feeling drunk? You might have been.
- Always plan ahead before a night of drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or money to take an Uber, Lyft, or taxi home.
Sobering advice, a huge difference between partying at school versus partying at home is proximity. Here at school it is cheap to Uber or Lyft between parties and usually you can find friends to chip in. You might not have that when you go home, but no cost will compare to a DUI or taking a person’s life in a drunk driving accident.
Stay safe WildCats!