The more you know about alcohol, the better equipped you are to make healthy choices.

Assess Your Alcohol Consumption

How much is too much? Click here to find out if the way or amount you drink could be harming your health. helps you assess your personal drinking patterns to determine if alcohol is likely to increase your risk for future harm. Answering these brief screening questions will take only a few minutes, and will give you personalized results based on your age, gender and drinking patterns. is a free service of Join Together, a project of The Partnership at and Boston University School of Public Health.

Reducing Risk

  • 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?
    • 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
  • Understand what you are drinking.  Be sure you know what type of alcohol, and how much, is in your drink.  Mixed drinks and party punches may have four or more standard drinks per cup.  If you don’t know what you are drinking, skip it.
  • Pace yourself. Remember that our bodies can only process about one standard drink per hour.
  • Avoid drinking games that require you to drink a lot in a short amount of time.
  • Alternate nonalcoholic drinks (ideally water) with alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated and buy yourself time between drinks.
  • The decision of how much to drink 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.

Caring for a Person Intoxicated

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 Medical Safety Policy to protect students who need medical help, as well as students who seek help for the student in need.