In 2005, the World Health Organization declared alcohol as an international health issue. Alcohol use is an accepted part of our culture and society, that the harms associated with alcohol use is often overlooked. Harmful alcohol use can lead to accidents, risky sexual behavior, crime violence and conflict with family and friends. Drinking more than your body can handle puts you at risk of passing out, memory loss, impaired judgment, blackouts, vomiting, injury, alcohol overdose and death.
Myths Vs. Reality:
Myth: Eating will sober me up.
Reality: Food will slow down the absorption of alcohol, but it will not help you sober up. The liver can only process one standard drink per hour for men and one and a half –two hours for women. Therefore, only time will sober you up.
Myth: Switching from hard liquor to beer you are able to drink more and not get as drunk.
Reality: The impact of alcohol is unpredictable. However, it is the amount of ethanol (pure alcohol) consumed and how fast you drink that impacts intoxication-not the type of drink. Therefore, if you are still consuming equal amounts of standard drink sizes, it WILL have the same effect.
Myth: Getting wasted is no big deal.
Reality: When speaking with young adults in Nova Scotia, were told that getting smashed, slurring, and stumbling was a turn off. Drinking too much, too fast, can put someone at risk for more than simple embarrassment; it can lead to injury and alcohol overdose.
Myth: You can sleep off alcohol. Driving the next morning is not a concern.
Reality: If you ever had that “still drunk feeling” in the morning, it’s because you probably were. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination and this can last into the next day. It takes approximately one hour for a male to rid itself of each standard drink. Therefore, if enough time hasn’t passed, you’re not okay to drive.
Physical Effects of Alcohol Entering the Bloodstream
Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. Alcohol travels to all parts of the body. When alcohol reaches the brain-it impairs your judgment, slows down your reflexes, can cause blurred vision and harm coordination. Alcohol is broken down by the liver- a portion of the alcohol is then eliminated by the kidneys, lungs, and sweat glands.
Planning ahead- Before drinking:
- Be aware of the standard drink measures.
- Leave your car/boat/off road alterrain vehicle keys behind.
- Put aside a max amount of money to be spent on drinks for the evening.
- Plan ahead on transportation to and from the bar.
- Stay with friends at the pub/bar who support your plan.
- Only drink from bottles and cans you purchased and/or opened yourself.
- Always keep your drink with you.
- Never go to or leave a party alone and make sure you have a friend with you.
- Slow down.
- Alternate water between drinks.
- Resist taking part in drinking games
- Stop at your max drink consumption per sitting.
- Don’t drink on an empty stocmach.
- Don’t operate any machinery or a vehicle.
If Someone Is Drunk:
- Don’t put them into a cold shower.
- Don’t feed them.
- Don’t let them go for a walk alone.
- Don’t allow a person to operate a vehicle/boat/ off road alterain vehicle.
Low - Risk Drinking Guidelines
Maximize Life, Minimize Risk
- 0 : Zero drinks = lowest risk of an alcohol-related problem
- 2 : No more than 2 standard drinks on any one day
- 9 : Women: up to 9 standard drinks a week
- 14 : Men: up to 14 standard drinks a week
One Standard Drink =13.6 g of alcohol
- 5 oz/142 mL of wine (12% alcohol)
- 1.5 oz/43 mL of spirits (40% alcohol)
- 12 oz/341 mL of regular strength beer (5% alcohol).
Higher alcohol beers and coolers have more alcohol than one standard drink.
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning:
- Severe vomiting or vomiting while “sleeping” or passed out and not waking
- Not responding to talking or shouting
- Not responding to being pinched, shaken, or poked
- Slow and laboured breathing
- Turning a purplish colour or having cold, clammy skin
What to do if you suspect alcohol poisoning:
- Call 911, even if the person is underage
- Roll the person on their side into the recovery position so they do not choke if they vomit
Do NOT leave the person alone. Stay with them and monitor their breathing until medical help arrives.
Recovery position: The Bacchus Maneuver