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LoGrasso Hall Health Center Health and Wellness

Think Before You Drink

Alcohol: What You Don't Know Can Harm You

Going off to college is a monumental step in the life of a young adult. It is a stage of life marked by change and exploration. You move from your parents home into a dormitory or student housing unit, meet new friends, and discover what it truly is to be out on your own, making your own decisions, including the decision to drink alcohol. For many students, drinking is seen as a rite of passage, as part of having fun, of lowering social inhibitions.

Alcohol abuse is now a widespread problem on the nation's college campuses. The consequences of excessive drinking by college students are more significant, more destructive and more costly than many parents realize. Studies show that four out of five college students drink alcohol. Two out of five report binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more for women in one sitting). One in five students report three or more binge episodes over a period of two weeks.

Statistics to make you think before you take another drink.....

Each year in the United States:

  • 1,825 college students (aged 18-­‐24) die from alcohol-­‐related injuries;
  • 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking;
  • 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-­‐related sexual assault or date rape;
  • 400,000 students had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex;
  • About 25% of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall;
  • More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-­‐related health problem;
  • 110,000 students are arrested for an alcohol-­‐related violation.

Finally, 95% of crimes committed on college campuses in the U.S. involve alcohol, including 90% of all rapes.

Alcohol Does the Body Bad.......

Brain: Before a person feels "drunk", alcohol has already stopped messages from going to the brain. Even small amounts of alcohol affect judgment and reaction time. When you can't think clearly, it's hard to make good decisions. Your brain may take as long as 48 hours to return to normal after a big night of drinking. Long term, heavy drinking can cause permanent damage to the brain. It can cause problems with memory, thinking and concentration.

Coordination and Balance: Even small amounts of alcohol can affect coordination and balance. This makes it easier to fall or get into an accident.

Lungs: Heavy drinking affects the immune system, making it easier to get lung infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Liver: The liver cleans poisons, including alcohol from the body. The more alcohol a person drinks, the harder the liver has to work. People who drink regularly for many years can have serious liver damage and may even get liver cancer. If the liver is damaged badly enough, it can stop working, causing the person to die.

Stomach : Alcohol irritates the stomach. A little can cause nausea. A lot can make you vomit. Excessive drinking can cause ulcers in the stomach which may eventually bleed.

Pancreas: The pancreas helps regulate the body's blood sugar levels. Long term heavy drinking can lead to inflammation of the pancreas causing severe abdominal pain, malfunction, and eventually death.

Do you really know how much you had to drink???

Most people don't know what counts as a standard drink, and therefore, don't realize how many standard drinks are in the containers in which these drinks are sold.

For beer, the approximate number of standard drinks in:

12 oz can/bottle = 1 standard drink
16 oz can/bottle = 1.3 standard drinks
22 oz can/bottle = 2 standard drinks
40 oz can/bottle = 3.3 standard drinks  

For malt liquor, the approximate number of standard drinks in:

12 oz malt liquor = 1.5 standard drinks
16 oz malt liquor = 2 standard drinks
22 oz malt liquor = 2.5 standard drinks
40 oz malt liquor = 4.5 standard drink

For table wine, the approximate number of standard dinks in:

A standard 750 ml (25 oz) bottle of wine = 5 standard drinks

For 80-proof spirits or "hard liquor", the approximate number of standard dinks in:

a mixed drink = 1 or more standard drinks
a fifth (25 oz) = 17 standard drinks
a pint (16oz) = 11 standard drinks
1.75 L (59 oz) = 39 standard drinks

What does the BAL (Blood alcohol Level) level really mean?

You might know that a .10% BAL puts you over the legal limit for driving, but do you know how alcohol effects your body in the .05-06% range?  At what percent do blackouts start to occur?  And if you are a 140-lb. woman who has 5 drinks in two hours, how do you know exactly what you BAL is, anyway? For answers to all of these questions and more, take a look at this Blood Alcohol Level Table.  These questions are important ones when deciding to drink.

Here are some hints for maintaining a moderate blood alcohol concentration (this information has been adapted from How Alcohol Effects Us):

  • Educate yourself. The contents of a bottle or can of beer, glass of wine, or liquor drink (mixed drink or straight liquor) each contain the same amounts of pure alcohol. When it comes to alcohol, a drink is a drink is a drink and are they all the same to a breathalyzer.
  • Know your limit. If you are not sure, experiment at home with your spouse or some other responsible individual. Explain what you are attempting to learn.
  • Eat food while you drink. Food, especially high protein food such as meat and cheese will help slow the absorption of alcohol into your body.
  • Sip your drink. If you gulp a drink, you will tend to drink more.
  • Accept a drink only when you really want one. If someone tries to force a drink on you, ask for a non-alcohol beverage instead.
  • Skip a drink now and then. Having a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones will help keep your blood alcohol content level down, as does spacing out your alcoholic drinks
  • Limit consumption of alcohol beverages to one drink per hour, a general guideline which works well for most.
  • Keep active; don't just sit around and drink. If you stay active you tend to drink less and to be more aware of any effects alcohol may be having on you.
  • Beware of unfamiliar drinks. Some drinks, such as zombies and other fruit drinks, can be deceiving as the alcohol content is not detectable. Therefore, it is difficult to space them properly.
  • Use alcohol carefully in connection with pharmaceuticals. Ask your physician or pharmacist about any precautions or prohibitions and follow any advice received.
  • Avoid "chugging" contests or other drinking games.

Past the point of possible no return......

Excessive drinking can be hazardous to everyone's health!!! Some people laugh at the behavior of others who are drunk. Some think that it's even funnier when they pass out. As you are laughing about the drunk who has passed out in the corner, there a couple of things that you should know.

It is common for someone who has indulged in an excessive amount of alcohol to vomit since the alcohol is an irritant. Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the ability to gag (which prevent choking). Typically, one of the biggest concerns when someone vomits, and is unable to control their gag reflex to prevent choking, is aspiration of the vomit. When vomit is aspirated, the lungs are flooded with foul material which blocks the ability for oxygen to get in and out. If not treated, this could eventually lead to death .

Common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or sleeping it off or walking it off. These are just myths. The only thing that reduces the affects of alcohol in your system is TIME. And time is something that you do not have enough of when you are suffering from alcohol poisoning.

Critical Signs for Alcohol Poisoning

-Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.



-Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).

-Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).

-Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.

Don't be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has been drinking. 

In the long run, you could be saving their life.


If you or someone you know needs help or more information, contact:


Alcoholics Anonymous 

Page modified 12/7/15