Spring Break is here, and students everywhere are gearing up for a week-long party. ALCOHOL is typically a focus of these festivities, so here’s my #twitter-sized advice for every college student:

  • If you have a THIRD drink, you’re legally drunk. DON’T DRIVE. Please note, this is a third drink measured by the book (not a “college pour” of alcohol into a plastic red cup- those cups hold several servings in just one glass).
  • 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 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.
  • Alcohol is STILL the number one #DateRape drug.
  • 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 your friend has been drinking and their breathing is less than 8 breaths/minute, CALL 911 immediately.

Good news: in recent years, studies show that about a third of college students admit to binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks in a row.) Happily this number is down over 15% from over the last two decades, and actually, drinking trends in ALL categories are decreasing- whether the measurement is annual consumption, monthly, weekly or number of binging episodes.

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: Enjoy spring break, and if you choose to DRINK, make sure you know your limit AND know exactly what to do if one of your friends drinks too much.

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