Whether 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
- Factors affecting reaction to alcohol
- Signs of acute intoxication
- BACCHUS maneuver
- Alcohol poisoning
- Date rape
- Hosting a party
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The less food you have in your stomach before consuming alcohol, the more you will be affected by the alcohol you are consuming.
- 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.
- Being uncoordinated (ex. inability to walk straight or bumping into things).
- 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.
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.
- Raise the person's closest arm above their head. Prepare to roll them towards you.
- Gently roll the person as a unit. Guide their head as you roll them.
- Tilt their head to maintain airway. Tuck nearest hand under the cheek to help maintain head tilt.
- 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.
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.
What are signs of alcohol poisoning?
- Drinking excessively (four or five drinks in one sitting).
- Drinking in combination with medications or other drugs.
- Does not respond when being talked to or shouted at.
- Does not respond when being pinched, prodded or poked.
- Vomits while sleeping or passed out and does not wake up after vomiting.
- Cannot stand up and remain standing unless aided by others.
- Unable to wake up despite multiple attempts.
- Has slow or irregular breathing (fewer than 6-8 breaths per minute).
- Skin appears very flushed or is a bluish or purplish colour.
- Skin is clammy or feels cool to the touch.
- Pulse rate is irregular or is slower than 40 beats per minute.
- The heart is beating unusually slowly or quickly (irregular heart beat).
What to do if someone has alcohol poisoning?
- Call 911 for an ambulance.
- If sober and close to a hospital, drive the victim to the hospital.
- Remain with the victim.
- Keep victim from choking on their vomit (BACCHUS maneuver).
- Tell the medics about all the symptoms you have observed.
- Be honest with medics about how much the victim has drank.
- Being prompt may save the life of a friend.
What not to do when someone has alcohol poisoning?
- Give the victim food.
- Give the victim a cold shower.
- Leave the victim unattended.
- Give the victim coffee.
- Tell the victim to "walk it off".
- Tell the victim to "sleep it off".
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.
The perpetrator is often someone you know and they will pretend to be the "rescuer" when the effects of the drug set in.
A variety of the following effects may occur:
- Intoxicating and sedating effects.
- Sense of euphoria.
- Feeling drowsy and/or dizzy.
- Vomiting or nausea.
- Inhibition and judgement have been reduced.
- Inability to feel pain.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Loss of time or having amnesia.
What are my options?
It is always your choice what procedure you would like to go with. It is always best to understand all your options first.
- Go to a nearby hospital to address possible physical injuries and get tested for STI and pregnancy.
- Wear or bring in the clothing you wore at the time of the assault.
- Contact the police at any time to press charges.
- Talk to someone you trust.
- Contact support lines like Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo.
- It is very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Make sure to take care of yourself physically and mentally.
10 great tips to reduce your risk when hosting
- Don't drink too much! It is a lot easier to notice potential problems when you can think clearly and act quickly.
- Plan ahead so you have time to try the following tips. If any legal problems arise, having tried these may help resolve some issues.
- Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party. It is best to bring out alcohol-free drinks and food.
- 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.
- Make a plan for how you will deal with guests who drink too much. Ask someone ahead of time to help you out.
- 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.
- Be prepared to have guests stay overnight.
- 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.
- Make low-alcohol and alcohol-free cocktails and drinks available.
- Don't plan physical activities while serving alcohol. Accidents are more frequent when guests have been drinking.
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?