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Alcohol Facts

What is a Drink?

  • One 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler
  • One 5-ounce glass of wine
  • 1 shot of 80 proof (40%) liquor (1.5 ounces)
  • One mixed drink

Note: Different beers have different alcohol content. Malt liquor has a higher alcohol content than most brewed beverages

What is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?

  • The concentration of alcohol in the blood, expressed as the weight of alcohol in a fixed volume of blood and used as a measure of the degree of intoxication in an individual. The concentration depends on body weight, the quantity and rate of alcohol ingestion, and the rates of alcohol absorption and metabolism. Also called blood alcohol level.
  • The legal BAC in New York State is below .08 for a person 21 years of age or older.

A Few Facts About Alcohol

  • Alcohol is a depressant. The more you drink, the more "depressed" your brain activity becomes. As you continue to drink and as alcohol levels increase, vision, movement, and speech are impaired (this can occur at only .01% of blood alcohol levels).
  • Just like other drugs, you can overdose on alcohol. A dangerously high blood alcohol level can cause your heartbeat and breathing to stop altogether and can lead to death
  • Passing out can be life threatening. The amount of alcohol it takes to make you pass out is dangerously close to the amount of alcohol it takes to kill you.
  • Alcohol is not digested like other foods or beverages. It passes directly into theblood stream. Once the alcohol is in your bloodstream, nothing can help break down the alcohol to help you "sober up." (Not caffeine, not food, not water. You might be full, but you will not be any less intoxicated).
  • Only time helps someone become sober.
  • Remember to never take Tylenol (acetaminophen) before you go to bed after drinking. It is metabolized by the liver just like alcohol and can cause serious liver damage.
  • Children of alcoholics are 3-4 times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. So, if you've got a family history of alcoholism, you are at a greater risk for developing alcohol problems.
  • Long term chronic drinking can cause permanent memory loss and/or brain damage.
  • One night of heavy drinking can impair your ability to think abstractly for up to 30 days, limiting your capacity to comprehend or retain what you've read or what you've heard in a lecture and can limit your ability to perform well in any physical activity such as sports.
  • 25% of all emergency room visits are related to mixing alcohol with other medications. More than 150 different medications interact harmfully with alcohol, either increasing or inhibiting the effects of the alcohol and/or the drug causing a harmful chemical reaction.

How to Care for an Intoxicated Person

  • Call 911 and get the person medical attention
  • Call Campus Safety and Security
  • Do not give them food or beverages
  • Have the person lie on his or her side

Alcohol Poisoning

  1. How much alcohol does it take to have alcohol poisoning?

    There is not definitive answer; no one knows what it takes. Any amount of alcohol that gets you "buzzed" one day can poison and possibly kill you the next.
  2. What happens to your body when you get alcohol poisoning?

    Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. It is common for someone who drinks excessively to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiations in a person who is not conscious. Also, a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops consuming, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.
  3. What are the critical signs of alcohol poisoning?
    • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
    • Vomiting.
    • Seizures.
    • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
  4. What should I do if I suspect someone has alcohol poisoning?
    • Know the danger signs.
    • Do not wait for all signs to be present.
    • Be aware that a person who has passed out could die.
    • Call 911.
    • Do not try to guess the individual's level of drunkenness.
  5. What can happen to someone with alcohol poisoning that goes untreated?
    • Victim could choke on his or her own vomit.
    • Breathing could slow, become irregular, or stop.
    • Heart beats irregularly or stops.
    • Hypothermia (low body temperature).
    • Hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar) leads to seizures.
    • Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, or death.
    • Even if a victim lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking is especially dangerous because the victim can ingest a fatal dose before becoming unconscious.
    • Don't be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has had too much to drink. Don't worry that you're friend may become angry or embarrassed-remember, you cared enough to help. Always be safe, not sorry.

(Information obtained from the source www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov)