Alcohol Use Information

Alcohol is a potentially harmful depressant of the central nervous system. There are three basic types of alcoholic drinks: beer, wine, and hard liquor. All three forms of alcohol have the same potential for intoxication and addiction. One “drink” is defined as:

  • 12-ounces of beer
  • A 5-ounce glass of wine
  • A 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor (distilled spirits)

In theory, one drink contains the same amount of alcohol and, therefore, has an equal effect on the drinker. However, because glass sizes vary, and many mixed drinks contain multiple shots, it is often difficult to gauge how much alcohol is in a single drink.

How Does Alcohol Affect the User?

The effects of alcohol are dependent on a number of factors, including a person's size, weight, age, and sex. In small quantities, alcohol has a disinhibiting effect which stimulates the drinker, and may produce feelings of talkativeness, euphoria, and dizziness. A larger amount of alcohol may cause slurred speech, disturbed sleep, nausea, vomiting, and resulting dehydration and hangover. Too much alcohol will depress brain activity, slow down breathing and heart rate, and can ultimately be fatal. Alcohol, even at low doses, significantly impairs the judgment and coordination required to perform many activities, including driving a car safely.

How Much is Too Much?

The amount of alcohol that can be consumed safely varies depending on the individual. It is more important to consider the negative consequences of drinking than to focus on the specific amounts of alcohol or the frequency with which alcohol is consumed. Anyone who consumes alcohol under the age of 21 is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and may be subject to repercussions as a result. Any Student Code of Conduct issues are managed by the Dean of Students office with support from Counseling Services.

Alcohol Poisoning

A person who has been drinking heavily and passes out may be suffering from acute alcohol poisoning and could die without help.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Person cannot be awakened
  • Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
  • Breathing is slow or irregular
  • Person has vomited while passed out

Take Action

  • Call campus security or 911, do not leave the person alone.
  • Never put the person to bed to “sleep it off.”
  • Turn the person on his or her side to prevent aspiration.
  • If breathing stops, perform CPR or find someone who knows how.