Alcohol and other Drugs

Standard Drink
Understanding BAC
Reducing your risks
When not to drink
Alcohol Poisoning
University Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs
Fredonia CARES


One of the keys to a positive experience with alcohol is dosage. Like any other drug, you want to feel the optimal effect with the least amount. If you had a headache, you might take one or two aspirin - not ten! The same concept applies to alcohol.

Standard Drink

Standard Drink

12 oz. of Beer
1 (10-12oz) Alcopop (mike’s hard lemonade, Smirnoff ice)
4 oz. of Wine
1 oz. of 80 Proof Liquor

All of these drinks contain the same amount of alcohol. Your body can process one standard drink per hour.

Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

How do you know the right amount for you? We recommend that you check out a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) calculator and make sure that your BAC never goes above a .06. Note that gender affects BAC.

To Stay Under .06 % Blood Alcohol Concentration
About one standard drink per hour
You can feel relaxed and social; and puts you at less risk for suffering negative consequences.

BAC chart


Mellow feeling. Slight body warmth. Less inhibited. It is illegal for those under 21 to drive at this level of BAC, and can lead to a revoked license.


Driving while ability impaired.


Judgment is somewhat impaired. People are less able to make rational decisions about their capacities.


Definite impairment to driving and illegal in NYS (DUI).


Reaction time and muscle control is impaired. Social drinkers rarely, if ever, reach this BAC level. Noisy. Mood swings. Possibly embarrassing behavior.


Balance and movement are substantially impaired. The person has difficulty with normal walking or talking although a person may think they are fine. Risk of injury. Risk of choking on vomit.


“Alcohol blackout” likely in which person is unable to recall what happened while they were intoxicated.


All mental, physical, and sensory functions impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on your own vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falling or other accidents.


Little comprehension of where you are. Many people lose consciousness, either falling asleep or passing out.


This BAC is similar to surgical anesthesia.


Most people lose consciousness. Nerve centers controlling the heart slow down.


Fatal BAC in about 50% of the population. Alcohol at this level can paralyze the portion of the brain that controls breathing and heart rate. Vital functions cease and the person dies of respiratory or cardiovascular failure. This can happen even when someone has passed out after drinking a large amount of alcohol very rapidly. Though the person is passed out, the alcohol in the stomach continues to be absorbed in the bloodstream causing a fatal dose to accumulate.

The ups and downs of alcohol

When a person consumes moderate amounts of alcohol slowly, the alcohol produces a mild “up” feeling—we call this a “good buzz.” There is a point when drinking—the point of diminishing returns, which is a BAC no higher than .06—when the buzz will not get better with more alcohol. In fact, drinking more alcohol at this point can lead to more negative feelings—like fatigue. This “up” feeling, followed by a “down” feeling if you drink too much, has been described as the biphasic response to alcohol.



Reducing your risks

If you choose to consume alcohol, the way to drink for your optimal high is to reach your buzz slowly and maintain it. This will also reduce the negative consequences from drinking. Here are some strategies other students who drink have found helpful for optimizing the positive effects of alcohol and avoiding negative consequences:

  • Space and pace your drinking to about one per hour
  • Decide before you go out how much you are going to drink
  • Count your drinks
  • Alternate between non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
  • Drink for quality, not quantity
  • Eat before and during drinking
  • Make a decision about sex that night before you go out
  • Avoid drinking games
  • Avoid shots and/or mixed drinks
  • Stop drinking when you feel dizzy, nauseous, or tired
  • Use a designated driver, walk, or bring cab fare
  • Do not mix energy drinks with alcohol - caffeine makes you feel “less drunk” than you really are, you may drink more than you should-increasing your risk of alcohol poisoning.


When not to drink

HALT stands for feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, as a general rule if you feel any of these things you should not drink . We may know to HALT intuitively but it can be easy to forget why HALT is a good idea once the weekend comes.

  • Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to getting too drunk too quickly, so taking time to eat before drinking is a good strategy.
  • Drinking when you are feeling angry or lonely may initially seem like a good idea but as the intellectual processes in your brain are sedated by alcohol, your underlying emotions will come forward. This means that drinking when you are feeling in a good mood will generally lead to a good time but drinking when you are feeling blue will generally lead to feeling worse.
  • Drinking when you are run down or tired is never a good idea. Because alcohol is a depressant, adding alcohol to an already tired body can lead to feeling too drunk and passing out.

Finally, many prescription medications require that you do not drink alcohol at all, or only very moderately. For example, some antibiotics and medications for pain (e.g., Vicodin and codeine) must never be used with alcohol. Also, clinicians recommend alcohol be used only very moderately (no more than two drinks per week), if at all, when taking anti-depressants. We recommend that you talk with your medical provider about how much and how frequently you drink so that together you can create plans for safe drinking.

Alcohol Poisoning

Click here for more information on Alcohol Poisoning


University Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs

Click here for the University’s Policy on Alcohol and other Drugs

Fredonia C.A.R.E.S. [Choice |Acceptance | Responsibility | Experience | Success]

Fredonia C.A.R.E.S. is a Counseling Center initiative designed to address alcohol and other drug (AOD) concerns on our campus. The program responds to the individual needs of students who have been charged with a second violation of the Fredonia Alcohol and Drug Policy. Additionally, students who believe they might benefit from examining their substance use may take part in the program. Students will participate in a private and confidential consultation regarding their substance use and will participate in individual follow-up sessions that focus on self-assessment to help better understand the risks and impacts substance use plays in one's life. The program respects an individuals' values and personal choices regarding substance use, while recognizing that with new information, time to process it, and support for change, most people benefit from considering behavior change and exploring new beliefs.


The Counseling Center provides a number of support services for those students dealing with alcohol and other substance abuse issues. For more information on any of these services please contact the Counseling Center.

Local (Northern Chautauqua County) resources for alcohol and substance abuse. Check this schedule to find times and places for Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help meetings in Chautauqua County. Learn more about how AA works.

New York Addiction Treatment Center Directory provides information about alcohol and substance abuse treatment centers throughout New York state. It is an online community where individuals can ask questions to qualified clinicians and participate in forums and blogs.

College Drinking Prevention: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) - An excellent resource page on college student alcohol use dedicated to Changing the Culture of College Drinking.

Rethinking Drinking (NIAAA interactive self-help guide to responsible alcohol use)

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