You arrive at your college campus of choice, summer’s heat giving way to cooler nights. The school marching band practices nearby, snares and brass echoing between dorms. Then Friday night comes (or, let’s be honest, it could be any night of the week), and your friends decide to head to a party with kegs and a makeshift cocktail bar. Everyone proceeds to drink excessively. You want to partake in the fun, but how can you imbibe without good times turning to regret? Or worse.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that each year 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related, unintended injuries, including motor vehicle accidents. In the same time frame, about 696,000 college students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
Binge drinking, defined by NIAAA is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08g/dL or above, is particularly problematic, and if you spend a lot of time drunk or hungover, can send your grades, health, and relationships into a tailspin.
Scary stuff, right? You can, however, reduce your chances of bad things happening when you consume alcohol by following The Gordie Center’s safe drinking guidelines:
1. Drink slowly and space your drinks to no more than one per hour. On average, it takes nearly 3 hours for most people to eliminate the amount of alcohol in 2 standard drinks.
2. Eat before and while drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
3. Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs that might amplify (cold medicine) or mask (caffeine) alcohol’s effects.
4. Be careful if you’re sleep deprived or ill because this will cause alcohol to enter the body more quickly.
Other tips for controlling consumption include avoiding drinks given to you by a stranger, appointing a designated driver or taking advantage of Uber or Lyft apps, and steering clear of drinking games.
You don’t have to abstain completely from a cold one with friends or a nice glass of wine, but maybe skip the beer pong and keg stands. As you’re partying, remember the reason you came to college in the first place and the dreams you have yet to fulfill.