Drugs and Alcohol
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Drinking Myths
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So you think she can hold her drink as well as he can?

Firstly, why would she want to? Although many believe that this is a male conspiracy theory or worse still a challenge, in general women will have a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood having drunk the same amount as a man. Women have proportionally less body water than men so the concentration of alcohol in their blood stream is proportionally higher – simply illustrated, if a woman weighing 60 kilograms drinks a double gin then a man of the same size will need to drink a triple gin in order to reach the same blood alcohol level. There is also some evidence that women may metabolise alcohol slightly differently. There are small amounts of the enzyme ADH which is responsible for breaking down alcohol in the liver and in the lining of the stomach; some people believe that the ADH levels are lower in women and that this might also contribute to their higher blood alcohol levels. It also explains why the recommended maximum amount of alcohol units per week is 14 for women, but 21 for men. (Note, a unit is 1 standard drink, i.e. 1/2 pint OR 1 shot OR 1 small glass of wine.)

So you think you’d feel better if you hadn’t mixed your drinks?

One of the most widely believed myths out there. The reason you feel like death warmed up is because you got drunk and your body is dropping you a hint. All the booze contained in every alcoholic drink is pretty much the same stuff – whether its lager, stout, wine, vodka, cider, whiskey, tequila, whatever – in simple terms, it’s really just ethanol with some flavourings. So it’s not the number of different types of drinks that will land you with a hangover, it’s the number of drinks, full stop.

So you think another drink will cure your shakes the morning after?

Think again. Your body is going through withdrawal. DTs and the fear aren’t exclusive junkie territory you know. Hair of the dog just prolongs the torture. Although in the short term you’ll dampen down the shakes, the body ends up having more toxins to deal with and more severe effects will result. Shakes will become earthquakes. A ‘straightener’ might make you feel a bit better (for a little while) but the only hangover cure is time.
That’s right –TIME! It takes your body roughly one hour to get rid of one standard drink. Try to stay hydrated too- alcohol tends to dehydrate the body, so if you can stomach it try to drink some water or juice.

If you’ve seriously got the shakes the morning after, you may have given yourself alcohol poisoning. This is not a habit you want to continue. Some sure signs of alcohol poisoning are constant vomiting, pallid skin, shaking, cold, laboured breathing and falling in and out of consciousness. A person with alcohol poisoning requires medical attention. Time to rethink your drinking.

It was the alcohol’s fault…

The alcohol made you do it? That is the lamest excuse in the book. It’s up there with the dog ate my homework. Researchers around the world have proved that it is possible for people who have been drinking to control their behaviour if they want to. No matter how hard you might convince yourself otherwise, we all know that means deep down you wanted to text your ex.

So you think he/she looks better after a few pints?

And you may well be right. Researchers over at the University of Manchester came up with a formula to work out why a few pints can turn Ugly Betty into Betty Boop. According to the scientists from the Department of Clinical Optometry, alcohol levels can affect how we perceive beauty. Remember that just one drinking session can result in the most embarrassing and mortifying memories. For each pint you drink, you have more of a chance of falling victim to the beer goggles effect. Add a slippery nipple or two and you’ll be waking up next to a face you will try to spend the next few years forgetting. Reproduced (with permission) from www.drinkaware.ie

Drugs
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Drug use and abuse and its effects have become more and more prevalent in Irish society. For information on the drugs you may encounter when on nights out or when you might least expect it, check out the following resources:

Crisis Time
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If you or a friend have tried drugs or drank alcohol and are experiencing an adverse reaction, here are some good tips for dealing with that situation. We will advise that in any emergency, please call the emergency services for professional medical help. This advice is not intended to replace medical advice nor should it be interpreted as such. This info is to help you while you wait for emergency services, or before it escalates to an extent where the emergency services are required. If in doubt, please phone 999 or 112 and explain your situation, they are there to help you no matter what is going on:

Loss of Consciousness

If someone loses consciousness after drinking too much, here’s what to do: Keep them on their side with their head turned to the side (the
recovery position).

  • Make sure they’re breathing and their mouth and airways are clear.
  • If they stop breathing, start mouth to mouth resuscitation.
  • Loosen any tight clothing that might restrict their breathing.
  • Keep them warm (but not too hot) – with blankets or a coat.
  • Call an ambulance.
Vomiting

If someone vomits you should: Try to keep them sitting up. If they must lie down, make sure they’re in the recovery position and that their mouth and airways are clear. If they begin to choke, get help immediately.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is extremely dangerous. It can lead to a coma and in extreme cases, death. The amount of alcohol it takes to cause alcohol poisoning depends on many factors, including size, weight, age and so on. Teenagers and inexperienced drinkers are particularly vulnerable.

Someone may have alcohol poisoning if:

  • They are breathing less than twelve times a minute or stop breathing for periods of ten seconds or more.
  • They’re asleep and you can’t wake them up.
  • Their skin is cold, clammy, pale and bluish in colour.
  • If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, treat it as a medical emergency – call an ambulance. Stay with the person until help arrives.

Taken from www.drinkaware.ie – visit their website for more info and to enter competitions to win tickets, goody bags etc

Assess your intake
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Worried about your drinking? Curious to see how your alcohol habits compare to your friends? UCC Student Health, in conjunction with San Diego University has devised a tailor made program for UCC students to assess their own drinking habits. Check it out here.

Tips for a Good Night Out
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Here are some helpful tips to ensure you have a good night out:

  • Plan how you’re going to get home before you leave. Make sure you’ve got numbers for taxis and keep aside enough money to get home safely.
  • Eat before you go out, or during the evening.
  • Ideally avoid getting involved in a round. Alternatively, limit rounds to 2 or 3 friends. If you find yourself in a round but feel that others are drinking faster than you – or over recommended limits – it’s OK to skip a drink. Also feel free to remove yourself from the round altogether.
  • Drink water regularly to stay refreshed and hydrated. Use soft drink beverages to pace yourself.
  • Remember that too much drink will do nothing for your looks – you’re drop dead gorgeous until you drop down drunk.
  • And don’t succumb to the beer goggles effect – you might think you’ve met your dream date – until the effect wears off.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers and never leave your drink unattended – it’s all too easy for someone to spike your drink with more alcohol or a drug

Taken from www.drinkaware.ie.

– Enjoy alcohol responsibly