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ISU Public Safety

Alcohol Is Number One!

Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for young adults.

Alcohol is the number one drug problem in America.

Alcohol-related car crashes are the number one killer of young adults in the United States.

If you think it can't happen to you, look around. Check your high school yearbooks for the last ten years. How many have been dedicated to a student who was killed in a drunk driving crash?

Ask you friends how many people they know who have had bad things happen to them when they are drinking.

You don't even have to be the one doing the drinking - most young adult passenger deaths are the result of alcohol-impaired young adult drivers.

How Does Alcohol Affect You?

Be Aware of Advertising

Take a good look at how the alcohol industry is trying to convince people to use their products.

Some More Facts About Alcohol

Alcohol Awareness

Of the current student body in America, between two and three percent will eventually die from alcohol related causes, about the same number as will get advanced degrees, master's and doctorate degrees combined. For the over 12 million college students in the United States, the annual consumption of alcoholic beverages totals well over 430 million gallons. That is the same amount it would take to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool on every college and university campus in America. Alcohol is involved in sixty-five percent of traffic fatalities, fifty percent of all murders, % of all sexual assaults/rapes, thirty-three percent of all suicides, and forty percent of all fatal crashes.

For these reaons it is important that you know the facts so you can "call the shots."

Impairment vs. B.A.C.

Factors That Can Alter the Effects of Alcohol

There are individual factors that can speed up the effects of alcohol. As a result, your B.A.C. might be just a .06 or .08 grams percent, but your impairment level may be as high as .10 or .12 grams percent. The following are examples of various factors that can alter the effects of alcohol and an explanation of how they alter the effects:

Stomach Contents

Drinking on an empty stomach significantly speeds up the effects of alcohol.

Type of Drinking

The higher the percentage of alcohol, the faster the impairment. If the alcohol is mixed with food based products (i.e. juice or milk), it slows down the impairment. If alcohol is mixed with water or carbonated beverages, it speeds up the impairment.

Other Drugs

Many over-the-counter medications can speed up the effects of alcohol, such as cold medications, antihistamines, aspirin, etc. The same is true of several illegal drugs (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, etc.).

Mood and Expectations

If you consume alcohol when either excited or depressed, impairment occurs quicker.


One drink in the plane is equivalent to two on the ground.

Recent Illness or Tiredness

Impairment can happen faster when drinking after even a minor illness or significant lack of sleep.


Older people and adolescents can not metabolize alcohol as quickly and can be impaired faster.

Body Size

If you have a smaller liver you may not be able to metabolize the normal 1/2 oz. of pure alcohol (the amount in an average drink) per hour. In addition, the more fat content you have, the faster you will become impaired.

Oral Contraceptives and/or Menstruation

Females will be impaired quicker for three to four days prior to their period and if they are on oral contraceptives.

Tolerance vs. Impairment

How Does All This Affect Me?

Personal Consequences

Anyone who drinks to the level of impairment is at risk for a multitude of problems. These problems range from relationship issues, decrease in performance levels, reduction in abstract mental functioning, cumulative organ damage, increased occurrence of date and acquaintance rape, unplanned and unprotected sex, legal problems (i.e., DUIs, jail), automobile crashes, alcoholism and early death.

Negative Effects

Consequences resulting from alcohol or other drug used experienced by students at least once in the past year:

Had a hangover - 63%
Became nauseated or vomited - 50%
Later regretted actions - 39%
Drove while intoxicated - 36%
Got into an argument or fight - 33%
Missed class - 30%
Experienced memory loss - 28%

Blood Alcohol Content Chart
Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) Effects*
.02 About one drink. Light or moderate drinkers feel some effect, usually warmth and relaxation. Legally intoxicated in Idaho and most other states for drivers under age 21.
.04 About one and a half drinks in an hour. Most people feel relaxed, talkative, happy; the skin may flush. Fine motor coordination will be affected.
.05 About two drinks in an hour. First recognizable changes occur, with lightheadedness, giddiness, lowered inhibitions and less control of thoughts. Restraint and judgement are lessened and coordination may be slightly altered. Driving is significantly more dangerous and should be avoided. DWI convictions occur at this level at a judge's discretion.
.08 Three to five drinks in an hour. Muscle coordination is impaired and reaction time is slower. There is sensory numbness in the face and lips. Hands, arms and legs may tingle, then feel numb. Loss of self-control. Crash risk greatly increased. Legally intoxicated in Idaho and most other states for drivers over age 21.
.10 About five drinks in an hour. A clear deterioration of reaction time and muscle control is present. Slurred speech and general clumsiness are present.
.15 Five to seven drinks in an hour. Balance and movement are dangerously impaired and all faculties are affected. Equivelant of one-half a pint of whisky in bloodstream.
.20 Seven to ten drinks in an hour. Motor and emotional controls are measurably affected. Slurred speech, staggering, loss of balance and double vision are present.
.30 Ten to fourteen drinks in an hour. Lack of understanding of what is seen or heard. Confusion, stupor, loss of consciousness.
.40 Ten to fifteen drinks in an hour. Unconsciousness - threshold of coma. Lethal dose for 50% of the population.
.50 Fourteen to twenty drinks in an hour. Deep coma. Lethal dose for 75% of the population.

For the chart above, a drink is considered to be one and one-quarter once of liquor (a shot), four ounces of wine, or one 12-oz beer. People who have built a high tolerance will not necessarily experience the symptoms noted but will still reach a blood alcohol content that may be dangerous. However, a high tolerance is a sign of other problems related to alcohol use.

*Please note that gender, body size and type, fatigue, recent illness, food contact in stomach, altitude, age and use of other drugs and/or medications will alter the effects of alcohol in all of these quantities..

Article: Alcohol Kills Students In Many Ways, October 22, 1997

Safe and Sober Driving Guide

This chart shows the number of hours one must wait to safely drive according to weight and number of drinks consumed.

100-119 lbs
2 drinks 3 hours
3 drinks 6 hours
4 drinks 10 hours
5 drinks 13 hours
6 drinks 16 hours
120-139 lbs
2 drinks 2 hours
3 drinks 5 hours
4 drinks 8 hours
5 drinks 10 hours
6 drinks 12 hours
140-159 lbs
2 drinks 2 hours
3 drinks 4 hours
4 drinks 6 hours
5 drinks 8 hours
6 drinks 10 hours
160-179 lbs.
2 drinks 2 hours
3 drinks 4 hours
4 drinks 5 hours
5 drinks 7 hours
6 drinks 9 hours
180-199 lbs
3 drinks 2 hours
4 drinks 4 hours
5 drinks 6 hours
6 drinks 7 hours
200-219 lbs
3 drinks 2 hours
4 drinks 3 hours
5 drinks 5 hours
6 drinks 6 hours
3 drinks 1 hours
4 drinks 5 hours
5 drinks 4 hours
6 drinks 6 hours

ANY alcohol at all in the system causes some functional impairment. The HOURS TO WAIT will vary depending on when the last drink was consumed, body weight, gender, medications taken, and general health.

Things You Should Know

Alcohol Do's and Dont's


Serve a variety of non-alcoholic beverages if you host a party. Close the bar an hour before the party is over.

Be aware that the time you must wait after drinking ANY alcoholic beverages depends on the amount consumed, gender, general health, medications taken, etc. Be prepared to make alternative transportation arrangements.

Drink slowly and in moderation. It can take an hour or more for your body to eliminate the effects of just one drink.

Eat high protein foods like cheese, meat and eggs before drinking to slow down the rate of absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.


Get behind the wheel if you have consumed ANY alcoholic beverages at all. Sleep over, call a cab, or ask a friend to take you home.

Think you're safe if you stick with one kind of drink. It's the QUANTITY of alcohol that counts, not the type.

Go out drinking with friends without designating one as the non-drinking driver, or arranging for a cab or other transportation.

Mix alcohol and other drugs, whether illegal, prescription or over-the-counter. The combination can kill you or cause you to hurt or kill others.


Last Modified: 03/04/15 at 03:04:31 PM