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“You’re the least drunk, you can drive us home!”

Take a moment to think, have you ever said this to one of your friends? Has one of your friends uttered these same words to you?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well these words could kill.

kids
As the amount of alcohol consumed in one’s body increases, their ability to be attentive and make decisions greatly decreases. Therefore, getting in the car with someone who has been drinking throughout the night or driving after a night of drinking could have detrimental consequences. Even the slightest drink can cause changes to your body and its’ functions. For example, at .02% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) an individual has trouble performing two tasks at one time and their visual functions decline. At .05% BAC an individual can experience difficulty steering and have less of an ability to track moving objects. At .08% BAC the individual loses ability to control speed, or detect signals from traffic lights, other cars, and pedestrians. More importantly, they show signs of short term memory loss and an inability to concentrate at the task at hand.

designated driver
The facts are pretty numbing. More than 17,000 Americans are killed each year to drinking and driving. Did you know that most fatal car accidents happen between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m?
Shockingly, on average a drunken driver kills someone every 40 minutes in the U.S. And equally important to note is that the rate of drunk driving is highest amongst the age group of individuals 21-25 years old. [NCAAD] Don’t become a statistic; think before you let yourself or someone you know drive drunk. Take steps to ensure you are participating in risk free drinking and check out the protective behaviors to understand what that looks like.

Check out some of the laws North Dakota has in place for drinking under the influence here: http://dui.drivinglaws.org/ndakota.php
Check out a personal story from a man whose life changed after a night of drinking: https://vimeo.com/35282858

Sources:
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Drinking and Driving Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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It’s Okay to Say No

Today, our society is greatly geared towards drinking, but there are many people that choose to not drink. Being a non-drinker in college can be hard due to constant pressure and hassle from friends and others. In turn, this is just a short clip of how those non-drinkers can get out of that sticky situation of pressure that they may encounter at a party.

Its Okay to Say No

1) Gracefully declining.

-It might just be as easy as saying “No thank you” to a friend. Remember saying no to drinking doesn’t make you lame.

Not Lame

2) Sometimes you might need a polite excuse that follows your graceful decline:

  • I’m driving tonight- I’m DDing (Designated Driving).
  • I have a huge test tomorrow.
  • I have to work tomorrow.
  • I have to get up early in the morning.
  • No thank you, I’m good tonight. I don’t feel well.
  • I drank too much last night.
  • I’m just going to lay low tonight, thank you though.
  • Hold that thought I have to go to the bathroom.

Excuses

3) Even just focusing the conversation on the other person and responding by saying, “no thank you” but followed by an open ended question spins the conversation and the person won’t even question you why you’re not drinking.

Wine

4) In order to avoid anxiety, this is what you might need to understand and what might help:

  • Realize that not everyone is into drinking all the time either.
  • Try and avoid situations where drinking will occur if you don’t want to.
  • Make other plans.
  • Test your assertiveness.
  • Be able to still have fun, don’t be the “party pooper.”
  • Carry a decoy. You can always carry a soda in a different glass disguising it, and your friends won’t be tempted to ask you if you need a drink.
  • Keep busy by taking pictures, socializing with more people, eating, have fun dancing, or even being the dj.

What is a Standard Drink?

Sometimes, counting the amount of drinks you are having in one night can be hard. There are so many different sizes and mixes that make it difficult to realize how much alcohol you might actually be consuming. Take a look at the chart below to help you better understand how large the standard drink size actually is.

Picture1
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Practitioner/PocketGuide/pocket_guide2.htm
Here are some examples of drinks that can be misinterpreted for one drink but actually contain the alcohol content of many standard size drinks.

1. Long Island Iced Tea: The average Long Island Iced Tea has 2.5 ounces of hard alcohol in them! This means that after just one of these, a person could be considered over the legal BAC level to drive.

2. Pounders and Tall Boys: Pounders and Tall Boys can be considered as an amount of beer that is more than 12 oz. Many tend to be 16 or 22 oz.! Drinking three 22 oz. beers is the same as drinking six standard drinks!

Check out this great video which explains all of these concepts in a fun and engaging way: http://www.powtoon.com/show/fL5UMZ4AwwW/standard-drink-sizes/#/

 

Alcohol, Sleep & Caffeine: How do they mix?

Can alcohol really help you sleep better at night?

NO, it affects the deep sleep cycle and causes the sleeper to have a more fitful night of sleep. This is due to the fact that the body is processing and metabolizing the alcohol. During this processing, ones’ sleep becomes lighter and more distressed. The notion that drinking alcohol before bed can help you sleep better seems to be widespread in part because in some cases people have believed it can help one fall asleep more quickly. However, it does not actually help you stay asleep or give you the greatest quality of sleep. Concentration of alcohol in the blood is usually highest one hour after ingesting the drink, so drinking too close to falling asleep (even just one drink) can decrease your chances of having a good nights sleep by a significant amount!
It’s also unwise to drink before sleeping, especially the night before a big test or presentation.

Fun Fact: A great deal of memory formation and retention happens while sleeping. If you’re not getting a good quality and a substantial amount of sleep then the memory retention occurring at night is not to its’ best ability. Binge drinking, drinking 5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women in the course of two hours, can affect the brain and body’s functions for up to three days; add that to not getting enough sleep and one’s overall functioning is looking pretty dim.

What less sleep can be doing to you:
1. Increasing episodes of depression
2. Difficulty performing everyday tasks and increased irritability
3. Decreased motivation, memory, and concentration
4. Impaired social functioning
5. Lowered mental stamina
6. Decreased creativity and spontaneity

Can Caffeine really keep you up at night?

Unlike alcohol, caffeine is a stimulant which in turn reduces the flow of sleep inducing chemicals in the brain while also increasing adrenaline production. Caffeine can have stimulating effects as soon as 15 minutes after consuming the beverage and it shortens the deep sleep cycle. It takes around 6 hours for half of the caffeine ingested to be eliminated from your body. Therefore, it is best to curb drinking caffeine at about 6 hours before going to bed. However, at that point only half of the caffeine would be fully processed and eliminated by your body. So maybe it’s best to stick to that one morning cup a day rule.

Fun Fact: It is possible to be physically dependent on caffeine just as it is equally possible to be physically dependent on alcohol. There is a disorder in which many people dependent on caffeine are susceptible to, known as Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder. This disorder occurs when caffeine has lengthened the amount of time it takes for one to fall asleep.

What caffeine can be doing to you:
1. Reducing fine motor skills
2. Headaches, nervousness, and dizziness
3. Causing insomnia
4. Rapid heartbeat

Caffeine and Sleep

It’s safe to say that alcohol, caffeine, and sleep do not mix well together. Careful what you choose to drink before bed… Sweet Dreams.

“DUDE, Where’s My Car?”

Many of us have uttered these words as we’ve walked out of Target trying to remember where we parked. Some of us may have said these words after a long night of partying hard. Although, driving after a party if you’re completely sober is fine, it is important to remember not to drive after you have had any amount of alcohol.

When people drive after drinking alcohol, the chances of a fatal car accident increase significantly. Nationally, a person is injured approximately every two minutes from alcohol related crashes and every thirty minutes someone is killed because of an alcohol related crash. On average, every weeknight between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., 1 in 13 drivers is drunk; between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., 1 in 7 drivers is drunk (www.dot.nd.gov). If you are caught driving after you have had a few drinks you may receive:

• A class B misdemeanor
• A fine no more than $500 if your BAC is below .1, or two day imprisonment and no more than a $750 fine if your BAC is .16 or greater
• Addiction evaluation
• A 91 day license suspension if your BAC is below 1.8 or a 180 day license suspension if your BAC is 1.8 or higher.
(http://www.dot.nd.gov/divisions/safety/penaltiesdrinkingdriving.htm)

These are some pretty serious consequences for driving while intoxicated, and they just represent the first time you are caught drinking and driving. The second offense has much greater fines and restrictions. Fortunately, we have come up with an acronym to help you remember to be a little more prepared for a fun night without intoxicated driving.

D: Don’t
U: Underestimate
D: Drunk
E: Experiences

Although you may feel and think you’re fine to drive after you have had some alcoholic drinks, the truth is that the consequences can be deadly. Don’t underestimate the power you have while you are drunk. You have the power to make a bad choice and potentially ruin someone’s life (or your own) and the power to make a good choice and have a safe night. It’s up to you. Last but not least, don’t forget that there are always alternatives to driving drunk, like having a designated driver take you and your friends home, calling a cab, or spending the night at the place you’re at (if it’s a friend’s house).

Drunkorexia

This week the Health & Wellness Hub will be having a display case in the Memorial Union in honor of education about drunkorexia.

Drunkorexia is a slang, non-medical term that refers to a person or persons who excessively restrict their food calorie intake in order to make more room for the calories of alcohol. Many do this in a number of different ways, but in most cases it involves purging. A number of studies have shown that 30% of women between the ages of 18 to 23 restrict their calories throughout the day in order to make more room for calories from alcohol. This is a new and shocking discovery considering the known risks that this can involve. These behaviors often occur from the fear of weight gain from both drinking and eating. Often times this is seen in college-aged women, but on the other hand, it can also be seen in men. Too often, in many extreme cases, this can be related to medical terms such as anorexia and or bulimia. In such extreme cases vomiting is mostly seen, and alcohol is used to make that process easier.

Combining both binge drinking and eating disorders can have a huge impact on one’s health. These are some of the risks associated with this behavior:

• Drinking on an empty stomach increases the rate at which alcohol reaches the blood stream, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will be raised quickly and self-control will decrease.
• Binge eating may also be experienced because the person is extremely hungry and may be unable to control their urges.
• Purging often follows after these spurts of binging on food.
• Reducing food caloric intake puts a person at risk for not getting the nutrients needed to function properly.

Ways to find balance and stay healthy:

• Moderation instead of elimination: Eating throughout the day and making sure to have three meals a day and plenty of healthy snacks, can help prevent excessive hunger and overeating. This can also help oneself manage their alcoholic beverages with the addition of nutrients in the system.

• Knowing your own limits: Make sure to plan ahead so you are able to manage your alcohol intake. Keep in mind that binge drinking is considered to be 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men in one sitting.  Also, make sure to keep track of the amount of drinking that you are doing throughout one sitting. Alternate water or non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic beverages.

Drinks

• Seek Support: Seeking support, understanding, and advice from loved ones who support a healthy lifestyle can help you get on track as well. Even though drunkorexia is not a medical term and there may not be many support groups, there are groups that do support those with specific eating disorders and alcohol abuse and these together can help one get on the right track when seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Support

Sources:
“Drunkorexia?” Drunkorexia. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

butt chugging

yep, you read that right, butt chugging, or alcohol enemas… it is hard to believe that someone would take alcohol and put it in their butt to try and get a buzz or get dunk faster. it doesn’t end there though, people are also soaking tampons in alcohol and then applicating them. …here’s another kicker, “eye shots”. filling a shot glass full of alcohol and putting your eye on it, then tipping it back and opening your eye so the alcohol hits your eyeball…an eye shot. i can’t believe it yet i have to because it is the reality of what is happening.

more? unfortunately, i have it. last week someone told me that they did 16, (one six, sixteen!) shots in one hour once… i looked them dead in the eye and said, “you’re lucky to be alive” and i meant it. in the end (since they are not yet an alcoholic) the only reason they are still alive is because your body makes you puke a heck of a lot when you put that much alcohol in your body all at once. puking it back up is what saved him… but two things concerned me (okay, probably more than two) one was that this person did NOT go to the hospital (yet another reason why they are lucky to be alive) and finally, how do you think 16 shots in one hour is okay?!!! where in the world does that come from?

so here’s what scares me most- if you drink those same 16 shots over the course of say four hours, you are definitely dead. so how do i teach people about that? tell ‘em to try and take as many shots as you can in hour to see who wins? nope…not going there. see how many you can take over the course of a night (and not die)? nope, not going there either.

what will it take for people to understand what is going on when these things are tried? even if you’re already drunk, even if the guy or gal standing next to you did it once and still seems to standing there, alive and just fine, doesn’t mean you should do it too.

There’s safer ways to get a buzz than butt chugging.

just sayin’

TGIF- an alcohol slogan?!?!

i presented today on alcohol and other drugs, cause, well, that’s what i get to do at work 🙂 anyway, Jim Murphy, he’s an awesome guy who works in the counselor’s center here on campus, went after me about the stuff he does and it was great. he had everyone laughing within minutes. he has a background in the business so he gets things like the alcohol industry really well. he said that the tobacco industry is his favorite because they sell people something that kills you. and they sell a lot of it! it’s crazy to think about it that way, especially because we know that it is true. the alcohol industry really functions in the same way. they know that they need to get college students to buy alcohol because that’s when habits and such form. it’s also when we are at the state, developmentally, that goes hand in hand with drinking. so they do everything they can to market alcohol to people under 21. and it works! they make it seem normal. i have nothing to do, what should i do? drink! it’s the weekend, what should i do? drink! i just worked really hard, what should i do? drink! it’s time to celebrate, how should we celebrate? drink! there is not reason why to any of these things, it all just boils right down to the fact that alcohol industries make us think that drinking is the only think to do when we’re bored, on the weekend, after we’ve worked hard or to celebrate. that’s it.

so get this, you know TGIF (Thank God/Goodness Its Friday)? it turns out that the alcohol industry started it! it was all this big marketing campaign that they did! they had people believing that drinking on the weekends is something normal that every does (or should do). but here’s the catch, the weekend was just saturday and sunday… that leaves one afternoon or night of drinking and that’s it. if the weekend starts right away on friday when everyone gets off of work, that’s another night of drinking! which means that’s a whole heck of a lot more of their product being purchased aka MORE MONEY! it was so successful that today all we know is that the weekend starts whenever your work or school or training ends on friday. in fact, there even used to be a series of tv shows strung together as a part of TGIF- the tv industry wanted in too! (that and Boy Meets Girl was a totally awesome tv show!). but where did all of that leave us?

does anyone out there think we shouldn’t have classes on fridays? (i’m assuming many will say yes) okay, why not? so that we can drink thursday nights! it is thirsty thursdays, after all! and now we have wasted wednesdays and tosted tuesdays…sober sunday….where does it end? oh wait…it never did. every day of the week is taken now. holy crap, alcohol industry, you have done one heck of a good job manipulating us!

Medical Amnesty – Say What?

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