By Sarya Baladi
Happy Alcohol and Drug Awareness Month! This November, the Office of Health Promotion will be focusing on harm-reduction drinking strategies in the hopes of improving our physical and mental health. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you have a fun and safe night out:
1- Count your drinks and space them out throughout the night
BAC, or Alcohol Blood Content, is a measure that indicates how much alcohol is in the blood stream. This number varies from person to person depending on weight and biological sex; this means that different people can tolerate different levels of alcohol. When drinking, it is important to keep track of how much you drink to make sure your BAC stays at a safe level, which is 0.06 or less.
2- Make sure to eat before you go out and stay hydrated throughout the night
Having food in your stomach will not stop you from getting drunk and will not affect your BAC. However, it slows the absorption of alcohol by the body. Also, water will not decrease your BAC, but it is important to stay hydrated throughout the night since alcohol tends to dehydrate the body; a cool tip is to switch between alcoholic beverages and water.
3- Pour your own drinks
Keeping track of how much you drink is crucial to safe drinking, so knowing exactly what goes into your body is a must. Therefore, be sure to familiarise yourself with standard drink measurements (1.5 oz of liquor, 5 oz of wine, 8 oz of malt liquor, 12 oz of beer). It is also a best to avoid jungle juice, since it is impossible to know how much alcohol is in a drink of jungle juice.
4- Avoid mixing energy drinks and alcohol
Although energy drinks such as Red Bull is a popular drink to mix with alcohol, it is much more dangerous than the average drink. Energy drinks mask the effects of alcohol, so it is much for difficult to feel how intoxicated you really are; this leads to excess drinking and very dangerous consequences for the drinker.
5- Use the buddy system
When you go out, be sure to stay in a group and look out for your friends. When you see someone who might be in danger, be sure to take advantage of BC’s Help Seeking Policy: if you call BCPD for a friend who is intoxicated, there will be no punitive sanctions for neither the caller nor the drinker. Better be safe than sorry!
OHP gives out BAC Cards to students depending on their size and gender, so make sure to stop by and pick one up! You should also download the “iDrink Smarter” app, which is 100% free for BC students; after putting in your sex and weight, it helps you keep track of your BAC by putting in the number of standard drinks you have consumed.
Now that you have various harm-reduction strategies, pick the ones that work best for you to try to implement them when you go out. Remember to always stay in your Green Zone!!