Health Center
Division of Student Affairs

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Why Alcohol?

Alcohol is a big deal. Alcoholic beverages can be life-changing when consumed in excess, and for some people, even moderate drinking can be very risky. Excess alcohol is known to alter judgment and can lead to dependency and many other health problems. Taking more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men can raise the risk for motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, violence, suicide and certain types of cancer. Drinking can have life-long consequences and alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects and can cause permanent disabilities.

If adults choose to drink alcoholic beverages, they should consume them only in moderation and with meals to slow alcohol absorption. Risk of alcohol abuse increases when drinking starts at an early age. If you decide to drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Women  Men 
Woman Man
No more than one drink per day.  No more than two drinks per day. 

*This limit is based on differences between the sexes in both weight and metabolism.

What counts as a drink?

     
12 ounces of regular beer
(150 calories)
5 ounces of wine
(100 calories)
1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits
(100 calories)

What counts as a drink?

Some people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all. These include:

 
  Children and adolescents.
  Individuals of any age who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels. This is a special concern for recovering alcoholics, problem drinkers, and people whose family members have alcohol problems.
  Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant. A safe level of alcohol intake has not been established for women at any time during pregnancy, including the first few weeks. Major, life-long, birth defects, including fetal alcohol syndrome, can be caused by heavy drinking by the pregnant mother. Other fetal alcohol effects may occur at lower levels.
  Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require attention, skills or coordination. Most people retain some alcohol in the blood up to two to three hours after a single drink.
  Individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol. Alcohol alters the effectiveness or toxicity of many medications, and some medications may increase blood alcohol levels. If you take medications, ask your health care provider for advice about alcohol intake, especially if you are an older adult.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row at one sitting for boys and fe in a row for girls (H Wechsler et.al., "Changes in Binge Drinking and Related Problems Among American College Students Between 1993 and 1997," Jo of American College Health, Vol. 47, 9/98, p. 57). The most significant predictor of alcoholic problems is the quantity and frequency of an individuals drinking. Students who binge drink are more likely to damage property, have trouble with authorities, miss classes, have hangovers, and experiencees than those who do not (NIAAA, op.cit., p. 2).

Never, ever, drink and drive! Ever!

If you drive, do not drink; if you drink, do not drive. There is no safe level of alcohol for drivers because everyone reacts differently to alcohol on different occasions. Physical reflexes and mental acuity can be impaired after less than one drink. If you are going out with others, decide beforehand who will drive on the return trip. That person should not drink. Never ride with drivers who have been drinking.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious issue which can have far-reaching consequences. In Utah, persons convicted of a DUI may receive up to six months imprisonment and/or $1,000 in fines, suspended Driver’s License, and civil judgments. (Utah Alcohol Drug Laws)

Trying to "guess" the system and drive under the influence while remainingw the legal BAC limit is a very risky proposition. Utah's DUI laws allow a person driving under the influence to be charged with two crimes: driving while under the influence anving with a BAC over 0.08%. The courts can convict you of a DUI simply by showing that you were "under the influence" of alcohol or drugs even if your blood, urine, or breath alcohol tests indicate otherwise. If you "blow" a 0.4% but fail to walk a straight line during a roadside sobriety test, you're still eligible for a DUI.

Driving while under the influence is just not worth it. There are always options and it is never worth the risk. Designate a driver, call a friend, call your parents, call a cab. The following cab companies operate in the Ogden and Layton area.

Yellow Cab Co.

801-394-9411
Open 24 hours a day - based in Ogden
$3.50 flat fee + 3.50 per mile

*If you are a cab company and would like to be included in this list, please submit a request.

Driving Impaired Affects Everyone!!

As many as 360,000 of the nation's 12 million undergraduates will ultimately die from alcohol-related causes. This is more than the total number who will be awarded advanced degrees (L , Alcohol Practices, Policies and Potentials of American Colleges and Universities, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2/91).

A reported 80% of students who live on college campuses but who do not binge drink report that they have experienced at least one second-hand effect of binge drinking, such as being the victim of an assault or an unwanted sexual advance, having property vandalized, or having sleep or study interrupted (, op. ., . 63-64).

Could I Have a Problem?

Alcoholism is an illness marked by consuming alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical or mental health and social, family, or occupational responsibilities. Many people with alcohol problems fail to realize their drinking has gotten out of hand. If you suspect you might have a problem, it is best to get it checked out. The WSU Student Wellness office as well as Counseling Services are great resources available to WSU students. There is a myth that more drinking creates more fun, but this is not the case. Not drinking, or drinking only in moderate amounts, does not inhibit fun and eliminates the negative consequences that can sometimes be substantial and life-altering.

This site was compiled with information from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and collegedrinkingprevention.gov. Both entities offer a wealth of information geared specifically towards college students.

More Information

» Health Center (801-626-6459)

» Counseling and Psychological Services (801-626-6406)

» What does drinking really cost in terms of calories and cash

» Interactive Flash Facts and Myths about alcohol.

» View an interactive model on the many ways alcohol affects your body.

» Tips for how to cut down on drinking.

» Test your knowledge and learn more about alcohol by visiting Harcourt School's "Test your Alcohol and Tobacco I.Q." website.


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