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Reducing Your Risk
The only way to be completely safe when it comes to alcohol is to not drink at all. It is especially important to abstain from drinking if any of the following are true: 1. You are underage. 2. You have developed a dependence on alcohol. 3. You are pregnant.
If you are of legal age to drink, drink responsibly. It is important to consider the risks and consequences of drinking. The following are a few suggestions as you develop a plan for moderation.
If You Choose to Drink
Set a Limit - Watch what you drink and know your limits. Make a decision about how many drinks you will have before going out and stick to it. A good rule is 0-1-3: 0 drinks if you’re driving or underage, 1 drink per hour, no more than 3 drinks in an evening. Keep track of how many drinks you consume and stop when you’ve reached your limit.
Drink Smart – Always eat before and while you are drinking, spacing alcoholic drinks out so that you are drinking about one per hour. Alternate between drinking non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks throughout the night, this will prolong the stimulation or “buzz” experienced in drinking alcohol while avoiding the fatigue and physical impairment that increases with greater consumption. Avoid drinking games and hard alcohol, the competition of the game and the concentration of the alcohol can result in a high BAC, very quickly. Stop drinking when you feel dizzy, nauseous, or tire.
Keep an Eye on Your Drink – Pour your own drink and don’t leave it unattended. If you walk away from your drink for any period of time, throw it away. You never know when someone might add more alcohol or another drug to your drink.
Avoid Illegal Drugs - You don’t know what’s in them or what effect they’ll have on you, and they can get you arrested! This includes underage drinking.
Create a Buddy System - Keep tabs on each other and don’t leave a friend stranded without a ride home. Don’t let them drive if they've been drinking. Don’t let friends go off into isolated areas with people they don’t know. Be assertive if you perceive a potentially dangerous situation.
Be in Control of Your Decisions - Don’t let yourself be pressured into a tough spot, like getting into a car with a drunk driver, going to a party where you don’t know anyone, relying on strangers to take you home, or drinking more than you’re comfortable with.
Know Your Sexual Limits - Think about what you want to say "yes" to, and when you'll say "no." LISTEN when others tell you "no." Think twice before going into a bedroom or isolated setting (e.g. a car or empty room) with one or more people, especially if you've been drinking. This may lead you into a situation which may be difficult to control.
Get Out When Your Gut Says “No Way” - Say what you mean and stick with it, like "No, I don't want to go further," "I don't like it when you grab me," "I don't want you to drive me home, you've had too much to drink."
Protect Against Sexual Assault - If you have reason to believe that someone is being raped or sexually assaulted, call the police immediately. Remember that sex with someone who has been drinking or using other substances and is therefore unable to legally give consent is a criminal act whether or not they have said 'yes'. For more information about protecting against and responding to sexual sexual assault, please see our Sexual Assault Resource Guide.