February 15, 2023
College students and the consumption of alcohol are pretty much synonymous with one another. College students and drinking responsibly, however, not so much. A survey from 1993, conducted at 140 U.S. colleges, found that nearly half of students claimed to be binge drinkers. This statistic is startling, as liver disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US. This does not mean drinking alcohol is inherently bad, but it does suggest that it should be done more carefully. Here are 5 tips on how to drink and party responsibly.
1. Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated when consuming alcohol is a staple of drinking responsibly. Doctors recommend drinking 16-ounces of water per 12-ounce beer or 4-6 ounces of liquor, but this is often unattainable. To combat this, drink plenty of water prior to a night out to raise your body’s hydration levels. Doing this will have a similar effect to consuming water alongside alcohol, without constantly refilling your glass between drinks. Drinking water prior to sleep can also help with hydration and replenishing lost fluids and can actually help your body reduce the effects of a hangover.
2. Share your location with a friend.
While it is never a good idea to walk home from parties or bars alone, sometimes it is unavoidable. By sharing your location with a friend, you can both be assured that the other reached their destination safely. Apple has implemented this feature in all devices, which have security features preventing tracking from being turned off without authorization. This ensures that as long as the device holds a charge, and the user does not deactivate it, their location is viewable. While this safety feature is certainly not foolproof, it does provide a little extra safety and peace of mind.
3. Never leave a drink unattended.
Leaving a drink unattended or accepting a drink from a stranger is extremely risky and has the potential to lead to some devastating consequences. Date rape drugs are extremely common in college bars, and many of these drugs are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This means that even if your drink seems fine after stepping away, there is no way to know for sure. While it is often assumed that only women can be targets of date rape, studies show that it also happens to men, meaning no one is completely safe. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to throw the drink away and get a new one.
4. Don’t give into negative peer pressure.
Have you ever heard the saying “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”? Well, this certainly holds true when it comes to substance abuse issues. Negative peer pressure has been linked to addiction, relapse, and engagement in unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and drug use. While this can involve a variety of substances, alcohol is the most prominently used in peer pressure situations. We have all been taught to “just say no”, but let’s be honest, it is often much more difficult than that. While the best course of action is to avoid these situations altogether, that is nearly impossible, so having a plan is key. You must also remain confident in your response and be unwilling to fold. This can be reinforced by having a strong reason why, whether that be your health, studies, or family history.
5. Know your limits.
When it comes to consuming alcohol, knowing your body’s limits is possibly the most important rule of all. Without this knowledge, drinking responsibly is nearly impossible. Everyone has different levels of tolerance that are typically dependent on frequency of consumption, body size, and genetics. Since these factors are not always visible or measurable, it is best to exercise caution and only consume as much as you are comfortable with. Competing with others when consuming alcohol is dangerous, and can lead to alcohol poisoning, as a normal level of consumption to one may be massive overconsumption to another.
Hopefully, if you’ve read this far, you’ll consider these 5 tips the next time you decide to party or spend a night on the town with your friends. The list of ways to drink safely goes on and on, but ultimately, it comes down to your ability to know yourself and your own personal limits. Share this article with your friends if you think they might need some tips on how to drink more responsibly. Cheers!