Facts about Alcohol
Factors that influence how alcohol will affect someone includes what and how much someone eats before drinking, and whether or not prescription, allergy, or over-the-counter medications are being taken.
The effects of alcohol are measured by blood alcohol content (BAC)—the percent of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood. For example, .20 BAC is 2 parts alcohol for every 1,000 parts blood. Here are some examples of the effects of various BAC levels:
- .02: Mellow feeling. Slight body warmth. Less inhibited. It is illegal for those under 21 to drive at this level of BAC, and doing so can lead to a revoked license.
- .06: Judgment is somewhat impaired. People are less able to make rational decisions about their capacities.
- .08: Definite impairment to driving and illegal to do so in Massachusetts.
- .10: Reaction time and muscle control are impaired. Noisy. Mood swings. Possibly embarrassing behavior.
- .20: Likely alcohol blackout, resulting in person being unable to recall what happened while they were intoxicated.
Recognizing Alcohol Poisoning
No college student even wants to think about alcohol poisoning, let alone experience it. It can, however, become a reality when people consume too much alcohol. Specific signs of alcohol poisoning include:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, unresponsiveness
- Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, or paleness
Know the danger signals of alcohol poisoning, but do not wait for all symptoms to be present. Be aware that a person who has passed out may die. Do not hesitate to call 911 or campus police at 508-831- 5555.
When to be Concerned
Some students drink to relax, because they don’t know how to say no, or because everyone else is doing it. Regardless of your reason, you should know the signals that drinking is becoming a problem. Ask yourself if you are:
- Drinking alone because you’re feeling sad or depressed
- Worrying your family members or friends
- Drinking even after telling yourself you’re not going to
- Getting headaches or hangovers the morning after drinking
- Having difficulties getting to class the morning after drinking
- Drinking more than you want when you do drink
You should consider meeting with a counselor if any of these are true, or if you:
- Drink every day
- Binge drink to get drunk
- Believe alcohol is affecting your grades or relationships with others
- Think a friend has a problem with his or her drinking