The safest, and only legal option for those under the age of 21, is to not drink alcohol. Research shows that students who consistently use one or more protective strategies when drinking are less likely to experience unwanted consequences. This protective effect increases when combining one or more strategies.
- Choose not to drink
45% of first year students say they abstain from drinking
30% of W&M students had not consumed alcohol in the last month
(AlcoholEdu data, NCHA data)
- Eat before and during drinking
Having food in the stomach slows the absorption of alcohol, meaning that BAC increases more slowly.
- Drink only with trusted friends or use the buddy system
Being a member of the Tribe means looking out for those around you and heading off problems before they occur.
- Ask a close friend to intervene if he/she thinks you've had enough
- Set a limit for yourself and stick to that limit
Most William and Mary students have four drinks or less when they drink. (The average for men is 5.2; the average for women is 3.1.)
- Try to maintain a BAC at or around .05
The most positive effects of alcohol are experienced at or around a blood alcohol content of .05. (include BAC curve graphics?)
- Pace drinks over time (ideally one drink an hour)
- Avoid drinking games
When playing drinking games, it is likely that a lot of alcohol can be consumed in a short amount of time. It is also likely that you can loose track of how much alcohol you've consumed. You can always play with another beverage, or make your own rules.
- Alternate between alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages
Alternating between an alcoholic beverage and water can help you to both maintain a low BAC and prevent dehydration.
- Keep track of how much you're drinking
- Use a designated driver who is completely sober
- Always have an exit plan
Knowing how to safely get home if a problem occurs can be very helpful. Some suggestions: keep the number of a cab company in your cell phone, have cab fare in cash, enlist friends as allies to intervene, and set up a signal to let a friend know if you need a rescue. (add steer clear)
- Never leave your drink unattended, and do not accept a drink from someone you do not know.