Not everyone drinks? Really?!
Imagine you are attending a post-exam celebration, and you bring along five close friends for an unforgettable night. You start talking to an acquaintance who you met briefly in class a few days ago, and they hand you a drink while your friends step outside for a few minutes. Other people who you also don’t recognize gather around and are encouraging you to drink, even though you are not entirely comfortable in this situation. What would you do?
Some McMaster students in this situation may choose not to drink. According to the National College Health Assessment data at McMaster from 2013, almost 20% of students surveyed never used alcohol in the past month. If they did choose to drink in a given evening, on average, students surveyed had 3 or less drinks in the course of that evening. Surprising? It is true that not everyone drinks, and when they do, they do not necessarily overindulge.
To ensure you and your friends have a great night out, consider the following:
FACT: A standard drink is: 1-355ml (12 oz) bottle/can or beer (5% alcohol) = 1-146ml (5oz) glass of wine (10-12% alcohol) = 1-44ml (1.5oz) shot of hard liquor/spirit (40% alcohol)
DID YOU KNOW: The popular “red cups” you see everywhere are actually marked for standard drink sizes? The bottom line is for liquor and spirits, the second line from the bottom is for wine and the line second from the top is for beer!
Is it easy to drink responsibly? Absolutely!
- Consider how much you drink per day/week. The low-risk drinking guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks within a day, and less than 14 drinks per week for men, and less than 9 drinks per week for women.
- Eat before you drink to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
- Keep hydrated with water.
- Stay with your friends throughout the night.
- Have a designated driver or have a taxi number on hand before going out.
- Pour your own drinks and keep your drink with you at all times.
Hosting a fun (and safe) party
- Provide plenty of food to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and water to keep guests hydrated.
- Plan activities that engage your guests so that they have more to do than just drink!
- Keep on hand the number for a taxi service, and help arrange for transportation for guests. Make some room at your place in case friends have to stay overnight.
- Watch out for guests who are overusing – check for signs of alcohol poisoning (blue and cold skin, less than 8 breaths per minute, vomiting without waking up) and contact Emergency Services immediately if your guest is not responsive.