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#DolphinsLiveWell: Alcohol Awareness: Making Responsible Choices

Maria C. Randazzo, STAFF WRITER

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As we enter the halfway point of the fall semester and with the Halloween dance tomorrow night, now might be a good time for everyone to pause and think about how they have been using alcohol this semester. While some of you might have started drinking in high school, others may be trying it for the first time now that you’re in college. And while we can tell you that abstinence is usually the best choice––and legal choice for those of you under 21––we are also keenly aware that not everyone will make that choice.

Our goal at Le Moyne is not to seek out students to write up for alcohol violations or to be “buzz kills”, but to be good stewards of our student community. In a Jesuit college, we strive for Cura Personalis, which means education of the whole person, both within the academic arena and outside of it. It means that if you choose to drink alcohol, our goal is for you to be safe and to teach you how to do that.

There are many ways you can minimize the negative impact of alcohol when you choose to use it. We refer to these as harm reduction interventions, “drinking hacks” if you will, that can reduce the harmful effects of alcohol. If you choose to drink, we want you to be responsible; irresponsible drinking can lead to a multitude of bad decisions and ultimately painful, and sometimes lifelong consequences. Responsible drinking takes a good deal of monitoring and self control but it’s worth it! Below are some good tips to help drinkers of all ages:

Know your limit. Learn how many drinks you can have safely by checking out a BAC [Blood Alcohol Concentration] chart on Google or a app. This will tell you what is safe over what period of time based on your weight and gender. And ladies, gender is important because alcohol impacts your system quicker and more severely than a guy’s.

Count your drinks. Know that all drinks are not created equal. A Long Island Iced Tea may have as many as 3 to 7 shots of alcohol, so it is not actually one drink.

Space out your drinks. Drink water or soft drinks between alcoholic beverages. This gives your body a chance to metabolize the alcohol and keep your BAC low, minimizing risk of blackouts and alcohol poisoning.  Alcohol continues to metabolize and affect your system after you’ve stopped drinking. This is why alcohol levels can continue to climb after your last drink and is why symptoms of alcohol poisoning may not show up immediately.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach… Do eat before, during, and after.  Alcohol will hit your bloodstream in a flash if there is no food to buffer it.

Don’t drink and drive. Do plan ahead for transportation by having a DD or calling a taxi.

Stay with people you know and trust, but beware, people’s personalities are affected by alcohol use.

Alcohol and sex don’t always mix well together. It can lead to humiliation, regret, embarrassment, STD’s, pregnancy, and sexual assault.

Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know or you didn’t see poured––you don’t know what could have been put in it.

Be careful what you mix…drugs and alcohol can be a dangerous and potentially lethal combination.

Please don’t use alcohol to make yourself feel better when you are depressed or anxious. Talk it out, go for a walk, listen to music, make some connections. Alcohol will not solve your problems, even if it helps you escape for a few hours. Look at all the people and resources around you. There is always someone you can share your story with.

We hope that whether it’s the Halloween Dance, spring break, Dolphy Day, or any other time, you will be safe, responsible, and make good choices. Take care of each other and yourselves.

Dolphins don’t let Dolphins Swim alone!!

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#DolphinsLiveWell: Alcohol Awareness: Making Responsible Choices