Be Smart About Drinking (If You’re Being Stupid)

Most of us have misconceptions about how much college students actually drink. Movies, TV, and your friends wild (and exaggerated) stories reinforce the faulty idea that, “all college students drink.”

Recent studies show that about one of every four college students choose not to drink alcohol. Of those who do, two thirds of students limit themselves to 1-3 drinks. And, most students only drink once a week. Yet, when college students are asked, they think their peers drink twice as much as they do.

All that said, when you’re in college you’ll almost certainly have some decisions to make with regards to alcohol. This is particularly true around finals and the holidays as many people experience added stress, anxiety, peer pressure, and disappointment. So, as one student told me, “the key is to know how to be smart…if you’re being stupid.”

Tips for Drinking Responsibly

1. Stick to one drink per hour. Having a high alcohol “tolerance” doesn’t mean you are any less likely to get alcohol poisoning. Remember the legal drinking age is 21. This is meant to be a guide, not permission to break the law!

2. Drink water, eat food. This helps your body stay balanced – and, don’t mix drugs/pills and alcohol.

3. Watch out for each other. Don’t let friends drive drunk, walk alone, or drink too much. Arrive and leave with the same group of friends. Turn in your keys to a designated driver before you start drinking.

4. Count ‘em. Count your drinks, perhaps by writing on your hand, or moving coins from one pocket to another. Determine before you go out how many you’ll have—then stick to it.

5. Get help. Alcohol poisoning kills people. If you suspect your friend has overdosed, call 911. If they’re throwing up, passed out, won’t wake up, breathing funny, or have a slow pulse, it’s time to call for help.



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Beau Johnson was the Director of Student Conduct at FRCC. In his spare time he leads service trips focused on clean water solutions (pictured here in Bolivia). Beau loves anything that is outside, competitive, or that includes his kids.

3 Responses to “Be Smart About Drinking (If You’re Being Stupid)”

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November 07, 2012 at 6:41 am, Roxanne McGahey said:

What a great post Beau. This should be required reading for all college students. as you point out in your second tip, drinking water is this so important. it also helps hydrate the body, which certainly needs hydration after drinking alcohol. “One drink of alcohol, one glass of water” is a great mantra. I teach Music Theory Online and work with younger children, however having raised two boys your article really hit home for me. I don’t think you can say it enough, but drugs and alcohol do not mix, as you said in tip 2.

I found your post extremely informative Beau, and I hope you don’t mind if I send some traffic your way and share it with some college students and colleagues. If just one person reach your post and it makes them think twice about drinking and driving you may very well have saved someone’s life.

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November 09, 2012 at 10:41 am, Beau said:

Thanks Roxanne – anybody can help a student or friend think twice about their alcohol/drug use. Obviously with Colorado’s recent decision about marijuana this will be even more on our radar.

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November 09, 2012 at 2:26 pm, Mark B said:

Great post! As a sober college student, I will make sure to pass this along to my heavy-drinking friends.