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Safe Drinking

Standard drink sizes:

1 bottle of beer (5%) (12 oz)

1 glass of wine (12%) (5 oz)

1 shot (40%) (1.5 oz)

(1)

 

Tips to safely consume alcohol

  • Set a personal limit before you go out (everyone’s alcohol limit is different, and depends on age, body weight, and health)

  • Drink in a safe environment where there is no pressure to drink more than you want to

  • Drink slowly—no more than 2 drinks every 3 hours

  • Eat and drink something non-alcoholic between each alcoholic drink (1)

 

Tips to reduce risks of drinking

  • Go out with a friend and watch out for each other, guide each other home, and keep each other awake

  • Carry condoms with you so there is a lower chance you will have unprotected sex

  • Be well-rested—sleep deprivation leads to a faster black-out (2)

Do not mix drinking alcohol with:

  • Driving or high-risk physical activity

  • Most medicine (check resource below), drugs, and energy drinks

  • Pregnancy

  • Being responsible for others’ safety

  • Making important decisions (1)

Mixing alcohol with marijuana:

  • Can speed up nausea or vomiting

  • Can result in feelings of anxiety, paranoia, or panic

  • Can increase the effects of marijuana, including sickness that follows use (3)

 

Dealing with addiction

  • If you are trying to reduce your alcohol intake and are a heavy and frequent drinker, you will need to wane off it slowly

  • Buying less = drinking less

  • Eat a meal before you start drinking

  • Plan 2 alcohol-free days each week (2)

 

Signs of alcohol poisoning

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of consciousness (fully or semi-unconscious state), or confusion

  • Slow breathing (8 or fewer breaths per minute; pauses between breaths for more than 8 seconds)

  • Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin

  • Irregular pulse

  • Seizures (4-6)

 

How can you help a friend with alcohol poisoning?

Do:

  • Contact EFRT (or 911 if off-campus)

  • If they are unconscious, lay the person on their side with their arms above their head (prevent choking)

  • If they are awake, try to keep them awake, and let them know what you’re doing (e.g. touching them, moving them) to avoid aggression

  • Try to get them to slowly drink water

  • Keep them warm (4-6)

Do not:

  • Do not leave them alone
  • Give them coffee or caffeine (promotes dehydration)

  • Let them eat (could cause choking)

  • Give them medication

  • Force them to vomit (could cause choking)

  • Encourage walking (could lead to accidents and injuries)

  • Let them “sleep it off” (symptoms will likely worsen)

  • Let them drink more alcohol (4-6)

Other resources:

A list of drugs that have negative effects when mixed with alcohol, and what those effects are

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/medicine/medicine.htm

Harm Reduction Cheat Sheet

Tips on safe drinking and risk reduction, as well as dealing with addictions and finding effective ways to drink less

http://hams.cc/hr/

Womankind Addiction Service - St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Addiction support and 24/7 crisis/support phone line

https://www.stjoes.ca/hospital-services/mental-health-addiction-services/addiction-services/womankind-addiction-service

Men’s Addiction Service Hamilton (MASH) - St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Addiction support and 24/7 crisis/support phone line

https://www.stjoes.ca/hospital-services/mental-health-addiction-services/addiction-services/men's-addiction-service-hamilton-mash


 

References

 

  1. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [Internet]. Canada: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; 2012. Canada’s low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines; 2012 [cited 2017 Oct 18]. Available from: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/alcohol/Pages/low_risk_drinking_guidelines.aspx

  2. HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol [Internet]. New York NY: HAMS Harm Reduction Network; 2015. Alcohol harm reduction cheat sheet; 2015 [cited 2017 Oct 18]. Available from: http://hams.cc/hr/

  3. Learn About Marijuana [Internet]. Seattle WA: University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute; 2013. Alcohol and marijuana; 2013 [cited 2017 Oct 18]. Available from: http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/factsheets/alcohol.htm

  4. HelpGuide [Internet]. California: Helpguide.org; [date unknown]. Teenage drinking; [cited 2017 Oct 18]. Available from: https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/the-dangers-of-teenage-drinking.htm

  5. College Drinking [Internet]. United States: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; [date unknown]. Facts about alcohol overdose; [cited 2017 Oct 18]. Available from: https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/parentsandstudents/students/factsheets/factsaboutalcoholpoisoning.aspx

  6. American Addiction Centres [Internet]. Brentwood TN: American Addiction Centres; 2017. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning; 2017 [cited 2017 Oct 18]. Available from: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/overdose/



Contact Details

Adrianna Michell
shec@msu.mcmaster.ca
905.525.9140 ext. 22041

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