Alcohol

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, know that you have resources on campus. The Resources for Improving Student Well-being is a great tool to help you! Also, be aware of the Alcohol Policy we have here at Southern Miss and make responsible choices. 

 

ScreenU - Alcohol Screening Tool  

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Words of Wisdom

Before you take your first sip, keep the following in mind:

  • Don't let drinking get out of control.
  • Set a limit before you start drinking. More than 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men per sitting is usually considered binge drinking
  • Pace your drinks.
  • Drink non-alcoholic drinks between alcoholic drinks.
  • Don't accept a drink if you don't know what is in it.
  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Avoid drinking games.
  • Never ride in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking!

Learn more with Alcohol Use and Your Health and make the decision to act responsibly. Discover how it can affect different aspects of your health both now and later with these facts from BeWise.

 

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

No matter the setting, always be aware and know the signs of alcohol poisoning.

Think CUPS:

  • C - Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
  • U - Unresponsive, unconsciousness or semi consciousness
  • P - Puking
  • S - Slowed or irregular breathing

       Other signs to be aware of: mental confusion, strong odor of alcohol

  

 

Alcohol Poisoning: How to Help

  • Call 911.
  • Try to wake the person.
  • Turn the person on his or her side to prevent the person from choking on vomit.
  • Do not leave the person.
  • Seek medical attention.

 

Legal Consequences of Alcohol Misuse

The legal drinking age is 21.

Penalties for underage drinking include:

  • Fines up to $500.
  • Suspended license.
  • Community service.
  • Alcohol Awareness course.

Legal consequences for drinking and driving include:

  • $250-$1,000 fine.
  • 48 hours imprisonment
  • Complete MESAP.
  • Suspended license for up to one year .

*Penalties more severe for additional convictions

 

Alcohol's Trip Through the Body

Mouth and Esophagus: Alcohol is an irritant to the delicate linings of the throat and esophagus. It burns as it goes down.

Stomach and intestines: Alcohol has an irritating effect on the stomach's protective lining, resulting in gastric ulcers. This can lead to vomiting. About 20% is absorbed in the stomach and about 80% in the small intestine. In the small intestine, alcohol blocks absorption of such substances as thiamine, folic acid, fat, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, and amino acids.

How fast the alcohol is absorbed depends on several things:

  • The concentration of alcohol in the beverage- the greater the concentration, the faster the absorption.
  • The type of drink- carbonated beverages tend to speed up the absorption of alcohol.
  • Whether the stomach is full or empty- food slows down alcohol absorption.

After absorption, the alcohol enters the bloodstream and dissolves in the water of the blood. The blood carries the alcohol throughout the body. The alcohol from the blood then enters and dissolves in the water inside each tissue of the body (except fat tissue, as alcohol cannot dissolve in fat). Once inside the tissues, alcohol exerts its effects on the body. The observed effects depend directly on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) which is related to the amount of alcohol consumed. The BAC can rise significantly within 20 minutes after having a drink.

Bloodstream: 95% of alcohol taken into the body is absorbed into the bloodstream. Alcohol causes the red blood cells to clump together in sticky wads, slowing circulation and depriving tissues of oxygen. Alcohol slows the ability of white cells to engulf and destroy bacteria, and degenerates the clotting ability of blood platelets.

Once absorbed by the bloodstream, the alcohol leaves the body in three ways:

  • The kidneys eliminate 5% of alcohol in the urine.
  • The lungs exhale 5% of alcohol which can be detected by Breathalyzer devices.
  • The liver chemicals break down the remaining alcohol into acetic acid.

As a rule of thumb, an average person can eliminate .5 oz of alcohol per hour. So it would take approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol from a 12 oz can of beer.

The BAC increases when the body absorbs alcohol faster than it can eliminate it. So, because the body can only eliminate about one dose of alcohol per hour, drinking several drinks in an hour will increase your BAC much more.