Drinking safety checklist

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It’s old news that Chico State students know how to have fun on the weekends— work hard, play hard. It’s also old news that unsafe drinking habits can have the potential to really mess up someone’s life.

Sofia Rodriguez and Evan Thibeau, peer education counselors at the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center, have suggestions for students to drink alcohol safely.

1. Don’t start drinking too early.

Chugging a beer when you get home from class on Friday seems like a good idea at the time. But if you plan on going out later that evening with the possibility of staying out until Saturday, make sure you have the energy to keep up.

2. Drink one drink per hour.

This can prove to be difficult when you’re surrounded by alcohol and friends urging you to take another shot. This can be especially hard for students who pregame before going out to parties.

Rodriguez has some tips for pacing your drinking through out the evening.

“If you’re going to a pregame, try to extend the pregame time longer instead of drinking one hour before going out,” Rodriguez said.

3. Drink one glass of water per every drink.

Alcohol dehydrates your body. By drinking water and alcohol simultaneously, you will keep your body hydrated throughout the night. While you’re drinking, it may seem like a fruitless task. However, you will be thanking yourself in the morning. If you don’t want to be that person carrying around a Klean Kanteen, order a drink on the rocks. The ice will melt and you’ll sneakily be drinking water.

4. Drink on a full stomach.

By drinking after a good meal, the food in your stomach absorbs the alcohol. This can protect you from getting sick and ruining your whole night. You’ll be less likely to throw up if you eat a good dinner before going out. Rodriguez suggests that students consume foods containing protein because they allow your body to metabolize alcohol. Good foods to consume before drinking include:

  • meat
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • fish
  • nuts like almonds, peanuts or cashews

5. Drink with people you trust.

Most people know their friends’ drinking styles. When you drink with people who you don’t know, you can be surprised by how they get drunk, and how they act when they’re drunk. This can be dangerous in several ways. Someone can be taken advantage of, pushed to drink more or made to feel very uncomfortable. Of course, you can’t avoid strangers altogether, but make sure you stay with your friends when you go out. This can protect you from dangerous situations. Also, make sure you listen to your friends— they know your limits better than strangers do.

6. Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had.

It may seem stupid when you’re drinking, but keeping track of the number of mixed drinks, beers or shots you’ve had can keep you from blacking out. You can keep a tally of drinks or write them down in your phone. But before you start drinking, make sure you know what your limit is. A few beers can turn into eight shots before you know it, so make sure that you keep count to avoid falling into that black hole of drunkenness. Try to use an actual shot glass as well.

“There’s a tendency for students to pull from the handle or pour hard alcohol into water bottles,” Thibeau said. “In that way, you’re not measuring and you don’t know how much alcohol you’re actually processing.”

7. Know how you’re getting home.

Always go out in a group— whether you’re a guy or gal— and return home with that same group. If you plan on walking home, make sure you don’t leave anyone behind and you know where you’re crashing. If you don’t feel like walking all the way home at the end of the night, assign someone to be the designated driver before you head out. No matter what circumstances, it is never safe to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. Driving drunk is extremely dangerous, especially if you are underage. Carry a few bucks around with you so you can take a taxi or pedicab if you need to. If you’re on campus and feel unsafe or need help, you can utilize any of the emergency blue light phones to contact the University Police.

8. Charge your phone before you go out.

You’ll be surprised how fast your battery can drain while you’re out. Make sure that your phone is completely charged before leaving so that if you need to contact someone, you can call or text them. If you get separated from your friends, locked out of your house or are in a dangerous situation, you’ll need your phone. If your phone loses battery extremely fast or you’re prone to losing your phone, write down a trustworthy friend’s number before going out

9. Be prepared for a hangover.

While this may seem rather pessimistic, it’s a good idea to know what to do in the case that you are hungover. Drink plenty of water; your body is most likely very dehydrated. As hard as it may be, eat something. A nice, plain piece of toast may be the only thing your stomach can handle. This will help if you have a headache. Taking Advil on an empty stomach is very unhealthy and harmful to your stomach, so you’ll want to eat as much as you can before taking any sort of medicine.

10. Be conscious of your drinking.

Alcohol dependence is a real issue that students should be aware of. If you feel your drinking has gotten out of control and you are seeking help, CADEC offers confidential counseling services. Peer educators have been trained to talk to students about their drinking and can refer students to speak with someone at the Counseling Center.

“Talking with a peer educator is not necessarily a clinical thing,” Thibeau said. “We are just here to talk as students and offer any information we can.”

Especially with National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week coming up, it is critical for students to be aware of what they’re putting into their bodies every weekend.

Sabrina Grislis can be reached at [email protected] or @sabrinagrislis on Twitter.