Minimizing Your Risk When You Drink

Should you choose to drink alcohol, there are strategies you can use to try and minimize your intoxication levels and other related risks. Additionally, it’s good to know your campus’ policy on alcohol use. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s College Drinking: Changing the Culture website provides college alcohol policies.




Drink at a slow pace. Try not to exceed 1 drink an hour. Try to “keep up” or “out drink” others.
Keep track of the number of drinks you have consumed. Gulp or chug your drink.
Use a set amount of cash to pay for your drinks.  Once you are out of money, stop drinking. Play drinking games.
Predetermine a time that you will stop drinking, and leave the party, bar, or social setting where drinking is occurring. Pre-game (drink alcohol before going to a party, bar, or social setting where more drinking will occur).
Stay with the same group of friends the entire time drinking. Go off by yourself.
Get your drinks yourself. Accept opened drinks from other people
Drink only from unopened drinks (no punch bowls, solo cups). Leave your drink unattended.
Don’t drink and drive; get a sober ride home. Drive after drinking or ride with someone who has been drinking.


Minimizing the Impact of Alcohol on Your Body

These behaviors, like being aware of the amount of alcohol in your drink, choosing to sip instead of chug drinks, and limiting the number of drinks you consume, can help you stay safe:

  • Have a plan. Do you want to consume alcohol at the event to which you are going, and if so, how much? It’s always ok to choose not to drink.
  • Do not pregame.
  • Drink slowly—sip your drink and limit yourself to one per hour.
  • Alternate non-alcoholic drinks, especially water, with those containing alcohol.
  • Eat before and/or during drinking (protein-rich foods are especially good).
  • Avoid salty foods (such as peanuts or popcorn) that make you want to drink more.
  • Avoid spiked punch, other drinks containing unknown amounts of alcohol, and drinks with multiple shots and types of alcohol.
  • Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, plant-based stimulants, and/or other additives that can mask the depressant effects of alcohol and may encourage you to drink more.
  • Avoid drinking games, which may cause you to drink quickly and more than you planned.
  • Don’t mix alcohol with drugs. Combining prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol can be unpredictable and dangerous.