Low Risk Drinking

Low-risk drinking means drinking in a way that minimizes negative consequences, in the short or long term. It does not mean “safe” drinking. Check out our video for more real-life tips.

4 Steps to Low-risk Drinking

1. Make Choices

  • The choice NOT to drink is always a low-risk choice.
  • Decide how you are going to drink before you are in a drinking situation.
  • If you are tired, sick or even upset, alcohol can affect you more than usual.
  • Don't mix alcohol with drugs, non-prescription medications, prescriptions, or illicit drugs.
  • Follow campus, local and state laws. Do the crime… Do the time!
  • Remember that any amount of alcohol is high-risk legally, if the person is under the age of 21.
  • Make a choice each time you drink.
  • Just because you choose to drink in one setting, doesn't mean you have to drink in every setting.
  • A single drink can impair your judgment. Know your limits, stick to them!
  • Drinking within the limits of the FDA guide lines reduces the chance of having an alcohol use disorder and related health problems.
  • It’s not all or nothing.
  • You can choose to drink a beer and switch to soda or vice versa.

2. Learn About Alcohol

  • Know what counts as a drink - Some people think they can have more beer than other kinds of alcohol because they think it has less alcohol. False! The total amount of alcohol in a serving is what counts. Each of the drinks below contains the same amount of alcohol
  • Count your drinks accurately - If a drink is made strong, it could be more than 1 standard drink which could lead to greater intoxication than usual.  Avoid drinking punches or drinking out of a liquor bottle. Use a shot glass to measure liquor whenever possible. Straight Liquor shots are absorbed rapidly into the body which can lead to dangerous levels of intoxication and impaired judgment very quickly.

3. Know Your Limit

  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) - BAC is the ratio of alcohol to blood in your body, usually expressed as a percent. Most states set .08 % BAC as the legal limit for drivers over 21 years old. Any measurable amount of alcohol is unlawful for those under 21.
  • Factors that influence BAC:
    • Amount of Alcohol Consumed
    • Rate at Which a Person Drinks - Your body can handle ONE standard drink per hour. Spread your drinks out
    • Weight and Body Mass- The amount of blood available to mix with the alcohol
    • Gender - Women have 33% less enzymes to metabolize alcohol and less blood volume even at equal weight
    • Amount of Food in the stomach - A full stomach slows absorption of alcohol. Eat before and while drinking.
    • Being dehydrated, tired or sick can affect your reaction to alcohol
    • Prescription medicine or any other drugs can have dangerous interactions. Always check with your doctor.

4. Have a Plan

Some suggested strategies are:

  • It is always ok to say "no."
  • Preset a personal drinking limit every time you choose to drink.
  • Eat before and while you drink.
  • Count and pace your drinks by drinking slowly and not having more than one drink each hour.
  • Purchase water, soda or other nonalcoholic beverages to drink between drinks.
  • Do not combine caffeinated energy drinks and alcohol.
  • Stop when you have reached your pre set limit.
  • Plan how you will get home safely. Never mix drinking and driving.

Also see: Being Alcohol Free at UNH