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One standard drink means:

      1 -- 1.5 oz shot of 80 proof liquor OR
      1 -- 12 oz. bottle or can of beer OR
      1 -- 5 oz. glass of wine 

If you choose to drink alcohol, reduce your risk by taking these steps:

* Eat a big meal before drinking. The best foods to eat are high in carbohydrates and protein; for example, a burger (veggie, beef, turkey, etc.) and fries, hummus and chips, or a peanut butter sandwich.

* Figure out how you will get home safely before you go out.

* Decide how much you will drink and at what point you will stop drinking before you start. Tell a friend your plan.

* Know your limits and respect them. If you know 5 drinks are too much for you, why not drink fewer (1 to 4)  to stay in control and reduce your risk?

* Pace yourself. Remember that our bodies can only process about one standard drink per hour.

      One standard drink means:

      1 -- 1.5 oz shot of 80 proof liquor OR
      1 -- 12 oz. bottle or can of beer OR
      1 -- 5 oz. glass of wine OR
      1 -- 8 oz. bottle or can of malt liquor


* Avoid drinking games that require you to drink a lot in a short amount of time. If you have to play a drinking game, choose games that take longer and don't involve chugging.

* If you don't know what's in your drink, don't drink it. Make your own drinks if possible so you know exactly what and how much goes in your cup.

* Alternate nonalcoholic drinks (ideally water) with alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated and buy yourself time between drinks.

* The decision how much to drink that night is yours, not your friends'.  You make the decisions because you deal with the consequences.

* Talk to your family about any history of abuse and addiction. It's important because that history may influence your drinking choices.

Taking Care of a Drunk Person

What to do:

  • Stay calm.
  • If possible, assess the situation. Is this a life threatening health situation? If so, call 911.
  • Keep your distance. Before approaching or touching the person, explain what you intend to do.
  • Speak in a clear, firm, reassuring manner.
  • Offer the person water but don't force them to drink it.
  • If the person vomits, make sure the individual is lying on their side, not their back.
  • If you put a person to bed, monitor the individual's breathing.
  • Recognize when a situation becomes more serious than you alone can handle. Know when to call for help.

What not to do:

  • Don't yell or cry; try to stay calm.
  • Don't try to argue with a drunk person.
  • Don't give the person coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks.
  • Don't put the person in a cold shower.
  • Don't attempt to restrain the person.
  • Don't try to make them eat.
  • Don't induce vomiting.
  • Don't make fun of, provoke, or threaten the individual.
  • Know that the only thing that will sober a drunk person is time.

Adapted from Ohio University.

Recognizing Alcohol Poisoning

If you think someone may have alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately.

  • Stay with the person.
  • Try to wake the person up by calling their name.
  • Roll the person on their side so that they will be less likely to choke if they vomit.
  • Feel the person's skin to see if it is cold, clammy, or bluish. Their pulse may also be weak.
  • Listen to the person's breathing to see if it is slow, shallow, or irregular. Slow breathing usually means around 10 breaths a minute or less.

Safety is Elon University's top priority. Call 911 if you think someone may have alcohol poisoning. The University has a Good Samaritan policy to protect students that need medical help, as well as students that seek help for the student in need. Read about it here.

What's the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism?

Want to talk to a friend about their alcohol or other drug use? Here are some tips.