University of Houston Orientation
Kathy Muller, guest instructor
ALCOHOL AWARENESS – FACT VS. FICTION
Identify the different alcohol types, and distinguish poisonous from
Explain why alcohol is a drug.
Define one (1) drink of alcohol.
Describe 4 factors that affect individual blood alcohol levels.
Know the blood alcohol level (BAL) Rule of Thumb.
Understand the difference between moderate alcohol use, alcohol
abuse, and binge drinking.
Distinguish hangover prevention myths and misconceptions from
Know emergency procedures for alcohol poisoning
Blood Alcohol Level
Drug - any substance that modifies body functions.
Licit Drug - legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco.
Psychoactive Drug - substance that affects the central nervous system
and alters consciousness and/or perceptions.
Depressant - sedative drugs such as alcohol, barbiturates,
benzodiazepines, and methaqualone.
Social Lubricant - the belief that drinking represses inhibitions and
Synergistic Effect - the ability of one drug to enhance the effect of
Blood alcohol level (BAL) - the concentration of alcohol found in the
blood, often expressed as a percentage.
One drink - one 12-oz. bottle of beer or wine cooler, or one 5-oz. glass
of wine, or 1.5-oz. of 80 proof “hard” liquor.
Moderate use - two (2) drinks per 24 hours for men; one (1) drink per 24
hours for women.
Abuse - the willful misuse of either licit or illicit drugs for recreation or
Binge drinking - consumption of five (5) or more drinks in one sitting.
Fact or Fiction? There is more than one type of alcohol.
Fact. The four (4) types of alcohol are:
Methyl (methanol) - wood alcohol
Isopropyl - antiseptic alcohol
Ethylene glycol - antifreeze
Ethanol - used in distilled liquor
Ethanol is the only alcohol used for human consumption; the
other alcohols are poisonous.
Fact or Fiction? Alcohol isn’t a drug, not like marijuana or cocaine.
Fiction. Alcohol is an addictive, psychoactive drug that is a central
nervous system depressant. Alcohol is the 2nd most widely used and
abused of all psychoactive drugs.
Q: What drug is the most widely used and abused drug?
Alcohol as a Social Drug:
Social psychologists refer to the
perception of alcohol as a
social lubricant. This term
implies that drinking is
misconceived as a “safe” drug
activity which represses
inhibitions and increases
On the Addiction
Potential scale, alcohol
ranks higher than heroin,
cocaine, PCP, and
Why do many people have to be reminded that alcohol is a drug?
Media promotes drinking as normal behavior
Large distribution and sales of alcohol
Long history of alcohol use dating back to 30,000 B.C.
Q: Do Americans drink more or less now than ~170 years ago?
A: Americans consumed more than twice as much alcohol in 1830 (7.1
gallons) as they do now (2-3 gallons).
Fact. Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) is the concentration of alcohol found
in the blood, usually expressed as a percentage. BAL depends on 4
presence of food in the stomach
concentration of alcohol
drinkers body composition
rate of alcohol consumption
Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and carbohydrates,
but contain no other nutrients.
Fact. The blood alcohol level produced is affected by the presence of
food in the stomach.
Fatty foods, meat, and milk slow the absorption of alcohol, allowing
more time for its metabolism and reducing the peak concentration in
When alcoholic beverages are taken with a substantial meal, peak
BAL may be as much as 50% lower than it would have been had the
alcohol been consumed by itself.
Diluting an alcoholic drink with water helps to slow down
absorption, but mixing with carbonated beverages increases
the absorption rate.
Q: Which has more alcohol?
A: All have the same amount of alcohol
Fact or Fiction? Almost 95% of consumed alcohol is inactivated by the
Fact. The liver metabolizes alcohol at a slow and constant rate, which is
unaffected by the amount ingested; the liver detoxifies one (1) ounce of
alcohol per one (1) hour.
BAL Rule of Thumb: 1 ounce = 1 hour.
Fact or Fiction? Alcohol is good for your heart.
Fact. Several studies have reported that moderate
drinkers (no more than 1-2 drinks per day) are less
likely to develop heart disease than people who do
not drink any alcohol or who drink larger amounts.
Moderation is the key.
Fact or Fiction? There are safe levels of drinking.
Fact and Fiction. Most adults can drink moderate amounts of alcohol---
up to two (2) drinks per day for men and one (1) drink per day for women
and older people---and avoid alcohol-related problems.
For women who are pregnant or are trying to become
pregnant, there is no safe level of drinking; the safest
course is to abstain from alcohol.
Fact or Fiction? Alcohol
affects a woman’s body
differently from a man’s
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CREDITS AND RESOURCES
Hanson, G., and Venturelli, P. (1998). Drugs and Society. Sudbury,
MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information.
RU Aware? Alcohol Awareness Page, Radford University.
CREDITS AND RESOURCES
Facts on Tap: Alcohol and Your College Experience.
The Wellness Center, Brookhaven, PA.
Blood Alcohol Calculators courtesy of University of Houston
Wellness Center (713/743-5498)
Adonis Coles, “UH Alcohol Survey”
Beer Is My Life! http://beerismylife.com/
Cocktails with Kathy Hamlin.
Starbucks Home page. http://www.starbucks.com