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Responsible drinking

bottles and glasses of alcoholic drinksWhether you're first year or fourth year, you may be settling in, making new friends, meeting your room-mates, buying your books and arranging your schedule. Drinking may or may not be a part of your life here on campus. If you do choose to drink, drink responsibly.

How to drink safely

  • Plan ahead. Don't let your friends intimidate you into drinking more than you want.
  • Pot and alcohol don't mix. Mixing any drug with alcohol is not smart.
  • Make sure you eat before and while you drink. It will make a big difference on how quickly you absorb the alcohol and feel the effects.
  • Pour (and measure) your own drinks and limit yourself to one drink per hour.
  • Count the number of drinks you are drinking.
  • Don't leave your drink unattended.
  • Everyone at the party is not over drinking. 
  • Alternate alcohol with pop or water. 
  • Don't drive after drinking.
  • Don't leave a party with someone you don't know.
  • Don't leave your friend alone if you think he/she is too intoxicated. Recognize the signs of severe intoxication. Get help. 

Factors affecting reaction to alcohol

Alcohol content

  • It isn't the amount of drinks you have, it is how much alcohol you consume that determines your blood alcohol content.

Body weight and type

  • Most of the time, the less you weigh, the more alcohol will affect you.
  • Even if you weigh the same as someone else, someone who has more muscle will be less affected than someone who has more body fat.

Fatigue

  • If you have not slept enough or if you are very tired, the alcohol will affect you a lot stronger than if you were well rested.

Gender

  • Females have a greater amount of body fat and less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme used to break down alcohol) than males do.
  • The majority of the time, females tend to absorb alcohol a lot more quickly than male drinkers do.

Emotional state of mind

  • Your mood can make a huge difference in how you will react to alcohol. It will not affect your blood alcohol content though.

Drinking time

  • The longer you take to consume a drink, and the more time passes between drinks, the less effects you will feel.
  • Alcohol needs time to metabolize in your body. About one standard drink per hour for most people. 

Food

  • The less food you have in your stomach before consuming alcohol, the more you will be affected by the alcohol you are consuming.

Medication

  • Prescription medicines and over-the-counter medication may intensify the effects of alcohol.
  • Always follow advice given by your health care professional or pharmacist.
  • Many medications carry a warning against drinking any alcohol while using the medication.

Signs of acute intoxication

  • Being uncoordinated (ex. inability to walk straight or bumping into things).
  • Confusion.
  • Becoming much louder, bragging, or swearing.
  • Sudden mood changes.
  • Speech becomes slower or slurred.
  • Changes in attention or memory.
  • Sliding in and out of consciousness.
  • Inability to focus, glassy eyes, or dilated pupils.

BACCHUS maneuver

The BACCHUS maneuver is a very important thing to know. If someone you know passes out from drinking, you can prevent this person from choking if they vomit by positioning them in the BACCHUS maneuver. 

Bacchus maneuverSteps

  1. Raise the person's closest arm above their head. Prepare to roll them towards you.
  2. Gently roll the person as a unit. Guide their head as you roll them.
  3. Tilt their head to maintain airway. Tuck nearest hand under the cheek to help maintain head tilt.
  4. Check on them often.

If you are worried that someone may be in danger, get medical attention. The person may have combined alcohol with drugs or they may have a medical condition you are not aware of.

Alcohol poisoning

What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is a severe elevation of the blood alcohol content (BAC) due to consumption of large amounts of alcohol. The BAC reaches a level that the body cannot process the alcohol quickly enough and therefore resulting in alcohol poisoning/overdose. A BAC level of 0.26-0.40% is potentially lethal to anyone as the body is unable to manage such excessive amounts of alcohol.

Date rape

Date rape drugs are drugs used to assist in committing a sexual assault. These drugs are easily unknowingly slipped into the victim's drink and therefore impairing them when they ingest it. Date rape drugs often have no taste or smell and are colourless. The most common date rape drug used is alcohol. Other common drugs include GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol.

Hosting a party

10 great tips to reduce your risk when hosting

  1. Don't drink too much! It is a lot easier to notice potential problems when you can think clearly and act quickly.
  2. Plan ahead so you have time to try the following tips. If any legal problems arise, having tried these may help resolve some issues.
  3. Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party. It is best to bring out alcohol-free drinks and food.
  4. Find out how your guests will be going home from your party. Be prepared to have to take away car keys from your guests. Know who the designated drivers are and always have cash and phone numbers ready for taxis.
  5. Make a plan for how you will deal with guests who drink too much. Ask someone ahead of time to help you out.
  6. Serve drinks instead of having an open bar. Guests are more likely to drink a lot more when they are able to serve themselves or have no limit to alcohol.
  7. Be prepared to have guests stay overnight. 
  8. Serve snacks so that guests will not be drinking on an empty stomach. Stay away from salty, sweet or greasy foods as they will make your guests thirsty.
  9. Make low-alcohol and alcohol-free cocktails and drinks available.
  10. Don't plan physical activities while serving alcohol. Accidents are more frequent when guests have been drinking.

strawberry mojito mocktailMocktails

You don't need to serve alcohol to have a great party! Why not serve normal punch or even try some great mocktail recipes below at your next party?

 

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Responsible drinking resources

Drink Smart

Drug and Alcohol Helpline