Alcohol use is part of the college environment for many students here at Middlebury and across the country, regardless of whether an individual chooses to drink. Health and Wellness Education's information on alcohol is not intended to encourage or discourage alcohol use or make value judgments. Instead the goal is to provide students with the information necessary for informed decision making to promote, to the highest degree possible, safe consumption and an awareness of the possible wellness risks associated with excessive or abusive alcohol use.
Determining how, when, and how much alcohol to drink can be difficult for many students who are faced with social pressure, limited information about alcohol use, and often a lack of prior experience. It is important to know that there a point at which what are often considered some of the desirable effects of alcohol (e.g. a sense of euphoria, increased social confidence, lowered inhibitions) diminish and undesirable effects (e.g. nausea, loss of motor control, depressed feelings) increase.
Understanding blood alcohol content (BAC) is helpful in determining where the plateau of desirable effects might be for individuals. BAC is estimated using a person's weight, sex, the number of standard drinks consumed (here's a guide for measuring standard drinks), and the time during which those drinks were consumed. BAC estimations do not account for an individual's metabolic rate or tolerance for alcohol. Remember that a standard drink for BAC calculation purposes may be different than what students may consider a typical amount of alcohol to consume.
From the Alcohol & Drug Counseling, Assessment, and Prevention Service at Washington State University, which adapted them from Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS): A Harm Reduction Approach by Linda A. Dimeff, John S. Baer, Daniel R. Kivlahan, and G. Alan Marlatt. 1999 and the work of Dr. Pat Fabiano at Western Washington University.