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Alcohol Awareness Tips for College Students
While many college students will be quick to tell you that their main focus is on academics, there will also be plenty who feel that their social life is just as important. For some of those students, drinking alcohol is just a part of the college experience and a way to bond with the people around them. However when used irresponsibly, alcohol can lead to dire consequences.
The tips below are beneficial for any college student that is considering drinking while on campus. Whether you are just having your first drink or you regularly go out every weekend after class, the suggestions below can give you something to consider and could ultimately end up saving your life.
Don't Drive Under the Influence
The most obvious and widespread safety tip when it comes to drinking is do not drink and then drive. However, every year people hear this advice and proceed to drive drunk. Although some people are lucky and somehow make it to their destination, there are others who end up causing car wrecks which kill or critically injure themselves, their passengers, or innocent bystanders.
One of the most frustrating things about drunk driving is that it is so preventable. By using one of the steps below, you can avoid putting yourself in a potentially fatal position:
Have one of your friends be the designated driver for the night. That friend should avoid drinking any alcohol and make sure that your group gets around safely for the night. Many bars are set up so that designated drivers get non-alcoholic drinks for free as a thank you for taking care of their friends.
Catch a taxi or shuttle bus to the bar or club you plan on attending. Many colleges have special agreements in place with local cab companies to provide services for college students. Before going out for the night, check with your campus safety department to see if any programs are in place.
If the social scene is close to where you live, consider walking. Not only will you be avoiding driving drunk, you will also be making an environmentally-conscious decision. If you decide to walk, make sure that you do not do it alone as this could lead to other safety concerns.
On top of never driving a vehicle after drinking alcohol, make sure that you prevent your friends from doing the same. If you notice anyone in your group attempting to drive home after a night on the town, do the responsible thing and take their keys. It is better to have a disagreement for one night than to possibly lose a friendship forever.
Do you know anyone who has driven a car after drinking?
Don't Binge Drink
College is a place where students are going to have a good time, but when doing so it is important to know your limits. Drinking mass quantities of alcohol in a small period of time is not only unsafe but also potentially fatal.
One of the major dangers of binge drinking is the increased potential for alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning results when the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is so high that it starts to cause difficulty breathing, seizures, and blacking out. In some cases, this condition can lead to coma and death.
Another downfall to binge drinking is impaired decision making. In some situations, people that are highly intoxicated may not make the same sound judgments that they would make otherwise. This can sometimes lead to physical altercations, unintended sexual behaviors, and other improper social interactions.
The best way to avoid being in this position is to know your limits when it comes to drinking. The following steps will also help to avoid a good time from turning into a nightmare:
If you are going to drink, try to spread it out over a longer time period. Give your liver a fighting chance to process the alcohol that you are putting in your bloodstream.
Understand that eating before drinking will not prevent you from getting drunk. Although it may slow down alcohol from getting in your bloodstream, you can still get drunk. Do not give yourself the green light to go crazy just because you had a meal first.
Know what your body feels like as you are getting drunk. Many people end up in tough situations because they do not listen to their own body's warning signs.
Going out to have a good time while in college is a healthy experience. However, going out to drink to become massively intoxicated is not a healthy choice. Listen to your body and avoid ending up in the hospital.
Don't Mix Alcohol with Other Drugs
One of the more dangerous sides of drinking comes when it is combined with the use of other drugs. When consumed by itself, alcohol acts like a depressant which slows breathing and heart rates. When used in combination with some drugs, the depressant effect can become twice as bad causing the user to stop breathing or their heart to stop beating. When alcohol is mixed with stimulants, it could result in the user having a heart attack or stroke.
Some of the more common drug interactions are listed below:
Possible Result When Mixed With Alcohol
Increased heart attack and stroke risk
Dangerously low heart and breathing rates
Increased risk of internal bleeding
Don't Drink Around Strangers
Drinking and going out are social activities, so of course there are going to be plenty of moments when you are surrounded by people you do not know. The key is to make sure you do not put yourself in a dangerous position by becoming overly intoxicated without having any friends nearby. This behavior could lead you to being stranded in a strange area, or at its worst result in you being physically harmed by someone you do not know.
In order to stay safe while out on the town, try the following techniques:
If you are planning on drinking somewhere, make sure that you go out with at least one other friend. In most cases, you may want to have more than one friend with you. The reasoning is that your friends will be available to help you in case you get into some sort of trouble as a result of your drinking. They can also "babysit" you in case you drink to the point of being sick.
Do not accept drinks directly from the hands of people you do not know (excluding the bartender or server). Unfortunately, there are innocent people who have been given drinks laced with drugs. In some cases, the victims have been sexually assaulted by the person who gave them the drink.
Always make sure you have a ride home or a plan to get a ride home. Having to rely on complete strangers to get home after a night of drinking is a gamble that can have bad consequences.
Enjoying the social aspect of drinking is fine, just be sure that you use common sense in order to avoid someone taking advantage of you.
Use Common Sense
Ultimately when it comes to drinking on and off a college campus, practicing common sense is often the key to staying safe. Know what your limits are, and do your best to look after yourself and your friends when you are out having fun.
Although the college years can be wild and carefree, all it takes is one bad decision to bring them all to an unfortunate end.