Drug Awareness Topic of the Month: Binge Drinking
With the holidays fast approaching the Harm Reduction Pillar of the Swift Current and District Drug Task force would like to remind everyone to practice safe drinking habits while enjoying the holiday season. What is Binge Drinking? Binge drinking is defined by having many drinks on one occasion. This would be five or more drinks for a male, or four or more drinks for a female. What is a considered one drink? One standard drink is a single: 12 oz. can/341 ml 5% alcohol beer, or a 5 oz./142 ml. glass of 12% alcohol wine, or 1.5 oz/43 ml of 40% alcohol liquor. What happens when you Binge Drink? Generally the intention when binge drinking is to become intoxicated or drunk. This occurs because individuals are drinking faster than the body is able to eliminate. Generally it takes the body a little over one hour to break down and eliminate one standard drink Risks of Binge Drinking? - Getting into fights or being assaulted;
- Having unwanted and/or unprotected sex;
- Developing or worsening depression and other mental health problems;
- Having blackouts (losing all memory of where you are and what you did); - Hangovers; - Increased risk to suicide; - Getting injured or killed while driving;
- Getting injured or killed due to a fall;
- Increased risk to dying from alcohol poisoning;
- Choking on your own vomit;
- Increased risk of arrest and other legal problems.
Over a longer term, repeated binge drinking can increase risk of:
- Damage to stomach, pancreas, liver and brain; - Developing cancer; - Developing an addiction to alcohol. Some signs to watch for alcohol poisoning are: - Disorientation or confusion;
- Passing out and not being able to be woken up; - Slow, irregular breathing; - Bluish or pale, cold, clammy skin; - Slowed heart rate; - Vomiting while passed out. What do I do if some is passed out from alcohol poisoning? - Gently roll the person to his or her side, tilting the head back and tucking the top hand under the chin to keep the mouth open and airway clear. This helps reduce the risk of choking if the person vomits. Bend the person’s top leg and bottom arm to support this position.
- Do not leave the person alone.
- Call 911 if you cannot wake the person, especially if he or she is vomiting or has vomited. Safe Drinking Tips - Pace yourself by alternating alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water. Eat before you drink and while you are drinking.
- Know your limit and keep to it. Do not let others push you beyond it. - Drink slowly. Don’t chug. - Stop drinking before you feel drunk.
- Do not mix alcohol with medicines, illegal drugs or energy drinks. - Count your drinks. - Never leave your drink unattended.
- Plan ahead. Arrange a safe ride prior to going out. NEVER DRIVE if you consume any amount of alcohol.