Medical Monday: Alcohol

When students head off to college, it seems that one of the warnings often given by parents is “don’t party too hard.” Anybody who’s been to a party knows that there’s almost always alcohol involved.

If students do choose to drink, there are plenty of ways to make sure that they’re being safe about it. Kimberly Heazlett, Health Promotion coordinator within the Student Health Service at North Dakota State, shared her expertise.

“The safest option, obviously, is not to drink,” Heazlett said. However, she added if a student is over 21 and chooses to drink, there are some things they should know before doing so.

Before drinking, make sure you’ve had a good meal and are well hydrated. This will help absorb some of the alcohol being consumed, and the hydration will make it easier for the body to process the drink of choice and keep people from drying out.

Spacing out drinks is important. About one drink per hour is a good rule, according to Heazlett. If waiting an hour becomes a hassle, drinking a glass of water after every alcoholic drink is a good way to space out drinks and stay hydrated.

Knowing how much you drink is also important, according to Heazlett. Paying attention to how many shots are in a mixed drink is especially important if students choose to have mixed drinks. Heazlett also said to remember that one beer is 12 ounces. Oftentimes, bars will pour glasses larger than 12 ounces so pay attention to how much a person is actually drinking.

Another way Heazlett recommended limiting drinking to a manageable level is to limit playing drinking games because they often encourage excessive drinking and can make people lose track of how much they are drinking. This can result in a terrible hangover, passing out at a party and even alcohol poisoning.

Heazlett also said around 17 percent of NDSU students choose not to drink and that students don’t need alcohol to have fun. If students don’t want to drink, but don’t want to seem out of place or end up getting pressured to drink, Heazlett offered a couple suggestions.

First, just hold a drink. It doesn’t even have to be alcoholic, but holding a drink will keep people from offering other, probably alcoholic, drinks. Alternatively, be the sober cab. Nobody wants the designated driver to be intoxicated by the time they want to go home.

All in all, Heazlett wanted to remind the NDSU community that, though the best option is choosing not to drink, if you do decide to, be safe and make sure you’re with friends that will get you home safe.

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