Responsible Drinking While at University
Though it may seem like “responsible drinking” at university is any drinking that doesn’t lead directly to vomiting and falling asleep in a ditch, this is not exactly the case, nor is this exactly funny. The dangers of drinking to excess are many, and it should never be forgotten that though legal, alcohol can also be lethal. Before you go out, think about how you’d like to feel tonight, and tomorrow, not to mention how you’d like to behave and who you’d like to impress. Keep these goals in mind when you order each pint and you should have no problem with responsible drinking.
All about AlcoholAlcohol is legally available for any British citizen to purchase or consume when they are over the age of 18. In reality this translates many teens sampling alcohol before heading to university, and much of this behaviour forms into hard drinking habits among university students. Many students don’t even realise that alcohol is a depressant that works to slow down the body’s central nervous system, and therefore their breathing, pulse and even body temperature. Too much alcohol in too short a period of time can also result in alcohol poisoning that slows your body’s processes to such an extent that it can lead to death.
Know Your LimitThe amount of alcohol in any drink is measured in units. In the UK, one unit is equal to 25ml of alcohol. With this in mind, government guidelines advise that men consume no more than four units of alcohol per day and women consume no more than three units of alcohol per day. Unfortunately many students are unaware of these guidelines or they do not understand that their drinks may each contain more than one unit of alcohol.
Of course, these guidelines do not pertain to everyone. You should avoid all alcohol if:
- You are a designated driver for the evening.
- You are pregnant.
- You are taking any type of medication.
- You will be swimming or engaging in sports in the near future.
- You have an exam, presentation or another type of deadline in the near future.
Don’t Feel PressuredOften students are tempted to consume alcohol because of peer pressure. If you find yourself at an event where there is alcohol but you don’t want to partake don’t feel pressured into it. Remember you can always:
- Say no thanks. No explanation needed.
- Plead homework or sports practice the next day.
- Volunteer to be the designated driver.
- Say you’re not feeling well or are on medication and wouldn’t want to get sick.
- Pour yourself a Coke, Sprite or Red Bull and let others assume it is a mixer.
Know Where to Get More InformationResponsible drinking can be a very hard habit to gauge. If you suspect that you or a friend may have a problem with alcohol, don’t hesitate to contact:
- Your university student or medical centre.
- The Portman Group (www.portmangroup.org.uk)
- The Institute of Alcohol Studies UK (www.ias.org.uk)
- The Department of Health