Tips on how to drink and be safe
For many college students, drinking is an essential activity at any party or bar. However, it is important for students to practice basic safe drinking techniques especially for St. Patrick’s Day. These techniques will help students have fun and avoid dangerous situations:
Eat before you drink
Eat food while or before drinking to help slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system. Some good protein foods are cheese and peanuts. Drinking on an empty stomach will make the body’s blood alcohol content (BAC) rise quickly and may cause blackouts.
Having fun with friends at clubs or bars is a good time, but make sure there is nothing important planned for the following day. Partying is not worth blowing off an exam and showing up to work with a hangover. It is not professional.
Know your limit
For people who are not used to drinking, it’s a good idea to try it at home with parents or a friend. Explain to them what you are attempting to learn about yourself. Try different alcoholic beverages; check the ingredients and the amount of alcohol in each. This way you will know which drinks you like most, and how many drinks it takes to get intoxicated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a standard drink in the United States is a 12-ounce beer, eight ounces of malt liquor, five ounces of wine or one and half an ounce (a shot) of 80-proof distilled liquors. It is recommended to not exceed one alcoholic beverage per hour.
Sip your drink
If you get drunk easily, stay away from any form of shots including jello shots and beer bongs. Excessive drinking can lead to blackouts and vomiting. Drinking too fast leaves many people feeling normal right after the shots, but about 10 to 20 minutes later, the effects kick in. Fruit drinks are also easy to drink because the taste can be deceiving. It is best to sip the drink to cultivate the taste.
Always carry condoms when drinking. Unplanned pregnancy or an STD is not worth the risk. The CDC says drinking lowers inhibition and leads to poor judgment.
It is important when drinking to always have water or soda. Alcohol draws vitamins out of the body, and staying hydrated restores those vitamins. Consider taking vitamins daily. Some people alternate drinks, starting off with an alcoholic beverage and then following it with a non-alcoholic beverage such as soda or juice.
Be aware of your surroundings
Always have an exit strategy, whether at a house party or a club. It is important to know where all the restrooms and exit doors are located in case of an emergency. Also know where the nearest cab company or public transportation system is located.
Use the buddy system
Make sure you know at least two people when drinking. Having people look out for you is vital. A friend can take the measures needed to prevent you from getting robbed or assaulted. Have a friend watch your drink if you leave it unattended, and let them know if you are heading to the restroom or another section of the club. Don’t let strangers pour your drinks; leave that up to the bartenders.
Appoint a designated driver
Never drive to a drinking event if you know you are going to drink. If at a friend’s house, make arrangements to sleep over so the alcohol can wear off by morning. If at a club, assign a designated driver to be sober for the night and make sure everyone gets home safely. Take turns with your friends so that everyone can enjoy drinking at different events.
Avoid using alcohol with other drugs
Excessive drinking can result in blackouts, vomiting, harmful situations and alcohol poisoning. Mixing alcoholic beverages with prescriptions or other drugs can increase these risks.