Middlebury

Student Services

 

Alcohol Safety Strategies

Before drinking alcohol

  • Set a limit for the next hour, the party, and/or the whole night.
    Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases confidence, which is why many people choose to drink alcohol at all. This combination can affect decision-making which is why setting limits ahead of time set students up for staying within their limits.
  • Eat a sufficient meal that contains protein.
    Protein helps to regulate the rate that alcohol gets absorbed into the body. When the stomach is empty, the amount of alcohol that gets immediately taken into the body through the stomach lining (while the rest waits to move along in the digestive system) increases and can cause feelings of being lightheaded or nauseous.
  • Have a plan for how and with whom you are getting home. Then have a backup plan ready in case your original plans don't work. If you need transportation use a designated driver, call a taxi, take the bus, or walk with the group with whom you planned to leave.

While drinking alcohol

  • Make or bring your own drinks. When you are responsible for your own drinks you know exactly what is in them, where they came from, and how you can best pace yourself in consuming them. Sticking to one type of alcohol can help prevent exaggerated hangovers or unpleasant sickness while drinking since the sugar levels vary from beer to wine to liquor.
  • Enjoy your drink by going slow.  Drinking fast and drinking large quantity of alcohol (as is often called for in drinking games) causes your BAC to spike, skipping happy buzzed feeling and increasing the risk of vomiting, passing out, and blacking out.  Your body needs time to process alcohol, about an hour per standard drink. Avoiding front-loading can elongate the pleasurable stage of being buzzed.
  • Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Drinking non-alcoholic drinks can help to counteract the dehydration associated with alcohol consumption.
  • Keep eating. Eating while drinking alcohol can be just as important as eating before.
  • Avoid drinking games. Competitive drinking puts pressure on players to drink the right amount to win the game, not the right amount for them as individuals. Because every person's absorption and experience of alcohol is different, drinking within your limits will help you maximize your experience.
  • Unwanted and unprotected sex often occurs under the influence of alcohol. Be familiar with the policies and laws of the college and state which define important concepts like consent, which cannot be given when a person’s judgment is substantially impaired by alcohol or drugs. Often, alcohol does not improve sexual experiences.

After drinking alcohol

  • Account for everyone. Make sure that your plan for leaving, or backup plan, included everyone in your group.
  • Sober up with time. The only real way to sober up after consuming alcohol is to wait. "Tricks" like drinking coffee or taking a cold shower will only temporarily mask some of the effects of alcohol and could even dangerously shock someone who is having a medical emergency from drinking too much. If you are worried about yourself or a friend, calling Public Safety at (802) 443-5911 or 911 for help is the best choice.