Drinking Safely In College

September 9, 2020

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Cocktail on a table
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Understanding Safe Drinking 

On any given weekend during a college semester, most people think of things such as parties, socializing, and alcohol. Although there are many new changes surrounding safety protocols this semester due to the pandemic, it is still crucial that we understand what it means to “drink safely,” even if you choose not to attend parties or go out to bars. To understand safe drinking, we need to know what a standard serving of alcohol looks like, how many drinks the body can breakdown per hour, and what binge and high-risk drinking are. 

Standard Serving: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism classifies a “standard drink” in the United States as one that contains approximately “14 grams of pure alcohol per serving.” This would look like one 12 ounce regular or light beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5 ounce shot of distilled spirits such as tequila or vodka.

Drinks Per Hour: The liver breaks down alcohol in our bodies. For most people, on average, the liver can break down “one unit” or one standard drink per hour. Any more than one standard drink consumed per hour will make the alcohol affect different systems in our body and causes us to feel the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

High-Risk And Binge Drinking: According to the Mayo Clinic, high-risk drinking is consuming more than 3 drinks per day or more than 7 drinks per week for females. For males, high-risk drinking is consuming more than 4 drinks per day or more than 14 drinks per week. Binge drinking is consuming 4 or more drinks in two hours for females, and consuming 5 or more drinks in two hours for males. Both binge drinking and high-risk drinking can lead to things such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart muscle damage, and liver disease.

There is a lot of information that goes along with what safe and dangerous drinking looks like. If you think you may struggle with drinking and want help, you can reach out to Health & Wellness and PACS for more information and counseling. 

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