Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring Break: Alcohol 411


Spring Break is nearly here, and students everywhere are gearing up for a week-long party. Alcohol is often a large part of these festivities, so I think this is a great time to review some facts about alcohol dangers. In recent years, studies show that about a third of college students admit to binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks in a row.) The good news is that this number is down over 15% from over the last two decades, and actually, drinking trends in ALL categories are decreasing- whether the measurement is annual consumption, monthly, weekly or number of binging episodes. A great website to educate yourself (or your favorite college student) is  http://www.b4udrink.org/statistics - complete with a virtual bar where you can enter in your gender, age and weight, and then "pour" yourself drinks and watch your blood alcohol levels rise...

Another wonderfully informative program/website is Aware Awake Alive. Check out their table with drinks/blood alcohol concentrations, and SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS. Ultimately, know that if you have a THIRD drink, you are most likely legally drunk. AND, please note, this is a third drink measured by the book (not a "college pour" of alcohol into a plastic red cup- those cups hold several servings in just one glass). The biggest mistake friends make is leaving their intoxicated friends alone to "sleep it off".  If someone has "passed out," they NEED supervision. The alcohol level in their bloodstream will continue to rise, which can cause them to either vomit (and potentially choke, because their gag reflex is dulled by the alcohol) or to stop breathing. If their breathing is less than 8 breaths/minute, CALL 911 immediately.

Pain killers often find their way to spring break as well, whether that is courtesy of a knee injury skiing, or simply part of someone's personal medicine cabinet. Please take note: Pain Killers (narcotics- think codeine or vicodin) + ALCOHOL= DEATH. This combination accounts for far too many accidental suicides per year- don't do it.

BOTTOM LINE: Enjoy spring break, but if your festivities include alcohol, make sure you know your limit AND know exactly what to do if one of your friends drinks too much. 

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