Choosing Not to Drink
46% of ASU Metro Campus students surveyed had not consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days. There are many reasons ASU students choose not to drink for today, for the time-being, for a lifetime:
- To perform better in school.
- To achieve optimal athletic performance.
- To prepare for a career that could be derailed by an alcohol arrest.
- To save money.
- To improve their sleep quality.
- To take their turn as a designated sober driver.
- For safety while enjoying activities like mountain climbing, swimming, and skiing.
- As a part of their faith practice.
- They are under age 21 and know it is illegal to drink.
- To avoid trouble with the law and campus authorities.
- They are struggling with dependence on alcohol or drugs.
- They are choosing a life of recovery.
- They have an illness or are taking medications that do not mix well with alcohol.
What is Responsible Use of Alcohol?
Most ASU students who choose to drink alcohol do so responsibly. Responsible drinkers take one or more of the following actions each time they drink:
- Eat food before and while drinking.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, particularly water.
- Avoid drinking games.
- Limit drinks to one per hour.
- Drink no more than four times per week.
- Set and stick to personal drinking limits.
- Refuse to serve anyone who is under the age of 21.
- Accept when someone refuses their offer of a drink. Respect their choices.
- Make sure they have a safe way to get home: a sober driver or a sober friend to walk with, a cab or hired car.
- Avoid drinking alcohol if they are stressed, ill, or tired.
- Do NOT drink alcohol when taking medications (over-the-counter or prescriptions), pregnant (or considering it), nursing, related to someone with alcoholism, or recovering from a substance use disorder.
- Do NOT mix alcohol with illegal drugs or prescription drugs such as marijuana, heroin, opiates, sedatives, pain killers, depressants.
What is a Drink?
It is important to know what is considered a drink, as this helps us to avoid heavy use of alcohol and recognize heavy use in others.
- Beer – 5% alcohol content – 12 fl oz
- Wine – 12 % alcohol content – 5 fl oz
- Liquor – 40% alcohol content – 1.5 fl oz
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and your health. Available at https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Default.aspx.
How Much is Too Much?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide the following guide:
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Women: 1 or fewer drinks per day
- Men: 2 or fewer drinks per day
- High-risk drinking
- Women: 4 or more drinks on any day, or 8 or more drinks per week
- Men: 5 or more drinks on any day, or 15 or more drinks per week
- Excessive drinking
- Binge drinking by women: 4 or more drinks within 2 hours
- Binge drinking by men: 5 or more drinks within 2 hours
- Avoid alcohol if you are
- Taking prescription or over-the-counter medicine that should not be taken with alcohol
- Recovering from alcohol dependence
- Unable to control the amount you drink
- Pregnant, considering becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding
- Under 21 years of age
- Drinking or taking caffeine
Source: The US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020. Appendix 9. Alcohol. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-9/ .
What is a Hangover?
A hangover is the body’s reaction to the toxic effects of and withdrawal from alcohol.
Avoid hangovers—The best way to avoid hangovers is to choose NOT TO drink alcohol. If you choose to drink, reduce hangovers by drinking responsibly.
- Set a limit for yourself and stick to it.
- Stick with one type of alcohol when drinking.
- Eat before, during, and after drinking alcohol.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration from alcohol.
- Drink no more than 4 times per week.
What is alcohol poisoning?
One of the most concerning risks associated with alcohol use is alcohol poisoning. It is important to watch out for each other and call 9-1-1 when someone shows signs of alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning is a serious medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Alcohol poisoning is caused by:
- Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period of time
- Sensitivity to alcohol
- Inexperience with alcohol
Use the acronym "STEP-UP" to remember the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning.
S – Seizure
T – Throwing Up
E – Erratic or slow breathing
P – Pale skin or cold and Clammy
U – Unconsciousness, semi-consciousness, disoriented
P – Pinch the skin with no response.
If you notice even just 1 of these signs, take action:
- Call 9-1-1.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- If the person is lying down, roll them to their side, to prevent them from choking if they vomit.
- Monitor their breathing - keep count of the number of breaths per minute.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Answer questions truthfully to help medical personnel to treat the person correctly.
Most importantly -- don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 to get medical help.
ASU has put into place a Good Samaritan Protocol, to further advance our Community of Care. Under the Good Samaritan protocol, students and/or organizations that seek assistance for themselves or others should do so without fear of university disciplinary action. Both students under and above the legal drinking age are expected to contact ASU Community Assistants, ASU Police, or seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1 when assistance is needed for an intoxicated/impaired student.
You may not know the full story. It could be more serious than you think.
The person could be reacting to:
- Mixing alcohol with other drugs
- Being slipped a drug without knowing it
- Taking too much of a prescription medicine or illegal substance
- Being dehydrated or seriously ill
- Drinking too much alcohol for their system to handle
Take action quickly. Someone's life is in your hands and you may have just seconds to act.
Your best decision is to take action to save a life. You won't regret that decision.
Learn more by taking:
AlcoholEdu – Designed to assist students to think critically about choices related to alcohol use and understand the risks associated with underage and high-risk drinking.
STEP UP ASU! – Designed to introduce students to the bystander phenomenon and empower them to step up and do something to help a fellow member of the ASU community when they observe a problem.