Alcohol and drinking are often considered part of the culture of college. Many students perceive drinking almost to be required while at college. According to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, most (78.5%) MSUB students drank only 0-4 drinks the last time they partied or socialized. For those students that choose to use alcohol, there is some basic information that all students should know to increase their health and safety while using alcohol.
Blood Alcohol Concentration or Blood Alcohol Level (BAC/BAL) is the ratio of alcohol to blood in the bloodstream. BAC can be used as an indicator to measure level of intoxication and anticipate some of the physical, mental and behavioral responses to alcohol use.
Alcohol Poisoning is a dangerous and sometimes deadly consequence of drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period of time.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
- Breathing is slowed, weakened, or may stop
- Skin color becomes blue, especially in the lips and fingernails
- Skin is cold and clammy to the touch
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficult to wake up (unconscious/passed out)
- Vomiting does not cause the person to wake up
What to do if someone has had too much to drink
- Call 911 and stay with them until help arrives
- DON’T leave them alone
- DON’T give them any medication, food or liquid
- Keep them comfortable and position them on their side (the recovery position)
- Check their breathing and skin color
- Try to wake them
*Do not be afraid to call for help. You can never know if someone has mixed drugs with alcohol, has a prescription that reacts poorly when mixed with alcohol, or has been drugged. You will never regret the decision to take action and save a life!
How to monitor your alcohol intake and lower your risk of negative consequences
- Keep track of your drinks
- Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Set limits in advance
- Avoid drinking games
- Pace drinks to one or fewer per hour
- Eat before and during drinking
- Stick with only one kind of alcohol
Do you know what a DUI will cost you?
In overall costs, a DUI will cost a first offender $5,000 to $10,000.
- Fines: $600-$1,000
- Court costs/fees: $135 (if there is no trial)
- Jury/witness costs: $400-$500 (for a trial)
- Attorney fees: $150 for public defender and $70/hour if it goes to trial or about $100-$300/hour for private counsel
- Vehicle impound and towing
- Chemical dependency assessment and mandatory alcohol classes: $325 or more
- Driver’s license reinstatement fee: $200
Additional options that the Judge may order:
- Victim’s Impact Panel: Cost varies
- Ignition interlock: $75-$120 for installation plus about $70/month
- Transdermal alcohol monitoring device: $10-$12/day or $300-$360/month
- 24-7 Sobriety Program: about $4/day or $120/month
If the alcohol assessment mandates treatment, you could pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.
- Arrange for a sober friend to pick you up and take you home.
- Choose a bar next to a hotel. A room is extremely cheap compared to the cost of a DUI.
- Take turns being the responsible person who picks everyone up and take them home safely.
- Plan in advance for a taxi ride or a shuttle.
- Avoid drinking when driving alternatives are limited.
How to Help a Friend
Are you concerned about a friend’s drinking? If so, you may be wondering how you can help. In order to help you need to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse.
Common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse:
- Drinking to get drunk
- Violent behavior
- Missing class, not studying, and neglecting other responsibilities
- Avoiding friends or peer groups
- Starting to use additional drugs
- Sudden mood or personality changes
- Family history of alcohol or other drug abuse
How to help a friend
- Communicate your concerns one-on-one, in a private place and at the appropriate time.
- Explain your concerns for your friend without making judgmental comments.
- Recommend professional help and provide resource for where your friend can seek help.
- Offer support, encouragement, and hope.
For more information on how to help a friend visit the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. website.