OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Responsible Alcohol Use

Responsible alcohol use can include choosing not to drink alcohol (especially if you are under the age of 21) and/or choosing to consume a moderate amount of alcohol based on your size and gender. Here are some other ways to use alcohol responsibly.

  • Know your limit. If you do not already know how much alcohol you can handle without losing control, try it out one time at home with your parents or friend present. Explain to them what you are attempting to learn. Most people find that no more than a drink an hour will keep them in control of the situation and avoid drunkenness. Have your parents or fried videotape you while you are attempting to see what happens when you consume more than the recommended one drink per hour.
  • Eat food while you drink. It is particularly good to eat high protein foods such as cheese and peanuts, which help to slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system. Many cultures consume alcohol only with food to prevent various problems.
  • Sip your drink. If you gulp a drink for the effect, you are losing a pleasure of drinking, namely tasting and smelling the various flavors. This is particularly true for wine. It takes approximately 20 minutes to feel one drink.
  • Accept a drink only when you really want one. At a party if someone is trying to force another drink on you, ask for ice or drink a non-alcoholic beverage. Keep count of the amount of drinks you've drank.
  • Cultivate taste. Choose quality rather than quantity. Learn the names of fine wines, whiskeys, and beers. Learn what beverage goes with what foods.
  • Skip a drink now and then. When at a party, have a nonalcoholic drink between the alcoholic one to keep your blood alcohol concentration down. Space your alcoholic drinks out to keep the desired blood alcohol concentration. Have one “drink” per hour (two at the most). Know that all drinks are not created equal. For example, a Long Island Iced Tea may have as many as 3 to 7 shots of alcohol, which can take as long as 2 to 6 hours to metabolize!
  • Alcohol and sex don't mix. The mixture can lead to humiliation, regret, embarrassment, STDs, ore even pregnancy and sexual assault.
  • Don’t take a drink from someone you do not trust with your life, literally. You never know what they have put in your drink, whether it is an extra shot or two of alcohol or something worse, like GHB or “rohypnol.” Also, beware of unfamiliar drinks, such drinks as zombies and other fruit and rum drinks can be deceiving, as the alcohol is not always detectable, and it is difficult to space them out.
  • Drink with people you know and trust. Make sure that drinking improves social relationships rather than impairing them. Alcohol can affect someone’s mood and personality. Serve alcohol as an adjunct to an activity rather than as the primary focus.
  • Don't drink and drive. Plan ahead for transportation; Use a designated driver, the Beaver Bus, or call a taxi. Have someone available who will not be drinking and will drive all drinkers home. Law enforcement on and surrounding the OSU campus is very strict when it comes to drinking and driving.
  • Don't mix alcohol with other drugs. Drug interactions can have fatal consequences. Use alcohol carefully in connection with other drugs. This includes over-the-counter drugs such as energy drinks, sleeping pills and cold or cough medicines. Alcohol should be avoided while taking certain antibiotics, arthritic, anti-depressant, and many other prescription medications. Check with your physician or pharmacy before you drink while on any prescription drug. Using alcohol in combination with legal and/or illegal drugs can have varied effects based on synergistic tendencies.
  • Respect the rights of individuals who do not wish to drink. It is considered impolite to attempt to get people to drink who do not wish to. They may abstain for religious or medical reasons, because they are recovering alcoholics, or they just may not like the taste and effect it has on them.
  • Avoid drinking mixed drinks on an empty stomach on a hot day. This might produce hypoglycemia, which can cause dizziness, weakness, and mood change.
  • Pair drinking with dining. If you know that you will have to drive after consuming alcohol, limit your consumption to no more than one drink an hour with your meal. This allows time for the alcohol to be burned up and for it to be absorbed slowly into the circulatory system. Consuming no more than one glass of wine, beer or mixed drink with a meal in a hour is generally safe for driving.
  • Pregnant or think you might be? Alcohol goes straight from a mother's bloodstream to the unborn baby causing birth defects and other abnormalities.