With or without CORONA, Spring Break is here and students everywhere are gearing up for a week-long party. In addition to focusing on hand washing (you know the drill- wash early and often, scrubbing for a full 20 seconds with soap and water or sanitizer), be aware that alcohol-related injuries are currently far more deadly than COVID-19. Over 1500 college students die each year from alcohol poisoning, motor vehicle accidents and other alcohol-related injuries, and not surprisingly, we see a spike in these fatalities during spring break at popular destinations. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of alcohol-fueled physical and sexual assaults…or the increasing number of students routinely “blackout” binging (drinking to the point of having memory gaps, more common when pounding “shots” due to the rapid rise in blood alcohol levels.) Consider sharing these reminders with your fav undergrad:
- Alcohol is STILL the number one #DateRape drug. Note that a BUZZED “yes” is NOT CONSENT. And if your partner ends up blackout drunk (which you likely have no control over)…they will have NO MEMORY of whether or not they consented.
- If you have a THIRD drink, you’re legally drunk. UBER UP and please SKIP the electronic scooters, as well as skateboards, bikes, and anything else with wheels! Your reflexes are NOT as brisk as you think they are, and you risk hurting others as much as yourself. *Note that one “college pour” of alcohol into a plastic red cup may easily be three drinks.
- Stick to BEER or WINE (rather than doing shots)- most people drink more slowly and physically fill up with the sheer fluid quantity in these drinks, and therefore end up consuming far less alcohol than their peers doing shots.
- Prescription Pain Pills + ALCOHOL= DEATH! Narcotic pain killers like Vicodin or codeine often find their way to spring break as well, whether that is courtesy of a knee injury skiing, or simply part of someone’s personal medicine cabinet. Mixing alcohol and pain killers is CRAZY DANGEROUS- both suppress your drive to breathe, making this combo a common cause of accidental death.
- ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) MEDS blunt your immediate response to ALCOHOL– so you do NOT feel the mental warning signs of alcohol intoxication. Translation: no buzz.
- Result: your blood alcohol level rises silently till suddenly you have the nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blackouts, etc.
- WORST mistake? Leaving your intoxicated friend alone to “sleep it off”. If someone has “passed out,” they NEED supervision. The alcohol level in their bloodstream will continue to rise, which can cause them to either vomit (and potentially choke, because their gag reflex is dulled by the alcohol) or to stop breathing.
If someone has been drinking and they’re breathing less than 8 times/minute, CALL 911 immediately.
A great tool to educate yourself (or your favorite college student) is this VIRTUAL BAR where you can enter in your gender, age and weight, and then “pour” yourself drinks and watch your blood alcohol levels rise…
BOTTOM LINE: Alcohol will cause more college student injuries and deaths than COVID19 this Spring Break! Enjoy yourself responsibly, know your limits, wash your hands and watch out for your friends.