Each week, The Lantern speaks with experts at Ohio State for the latest in student health and wellness tips and news.
Football season has begun. For many students, that means tailgates, football parties and catching the game at the bar. At all three, there will probably be alcohol. Blake Marble, assistant director of the Office of Student Life Student Wellness Center, talked to The Lantern about alcohol facts and safety.
Q: Is there a way to determine alcohol tolerance based on weight?
A: Often, there is the misperception that people who can “hold their liquor” are not being affected by alcohol. There are actually two main types of tolerance: “metabolic” and “functional” tolerance. Functional tolerance is the result of drinking behavior and indicates that the person’s body and brain have become adapted to the presence of alcohol. With a high functional tolerance, a person would need to drink more to feel the same effects they used to feel when they drank less. The increase in overall drinking can result in a greater risk of developing alcohol dependence.
A person with a high metabolic tolerance may feel more stimulated by alcohol intoxication, and their liver may produce more of the enzyme (dehydrogenase) that breaks down alcohol and eliminates it from the body. A person with a high metabolic tolerance would need to drink more frequently and in greater amounts to raise their blood alcohol content to feel the effects of alcohol. However, the increased production of dehydrogenase can be damaging to the liver and the increase in overall drinking can also lead to a greater risk of developing alcohol dependence.
Q: What can students do if they have been drinking and don’t have a ride home?
A: The best option is always to arrange for a designated driver before you drink — planning ahead is the best case scenario. There are so many options that individuals can choose from to get home safely after a night of drinking: calling a sober friend or family member, the Campus Escort Service (614-292-3322) is great and runs until 3:00 a.m., or a taxi or Uber. If you decide to walk home after consuming alcohol, never walk alone — always use the buddy system.
Q: What’s the best way to cure a hangover?
A: Certain research suggests that hangovers are related to the effects of alcohol on the blood vessels and fluid balances in the body. Regardless, it is much easier to prevent symptoms of a hangover than to treat them. The best way to prevent the feelings associated with a hangover are to moderate your drinking, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids in between alcoholic beverages and never drink on an empty stomach.
Q: How can the signs of alcohol poisoning be recognized and what should students do if they suspect it?
A: There are many symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Some of the most common are the person is unconscious or semi-conscious and cannot be awakened, skin is cold or clammy and has pale or bluish color, slow breathing (or) vomiting. It’s safe to say that if a person has any of these symptoms, they need help. Do not ever leave the person alone — get help and call 911.
Q: What are some general tips for staying safe when drinking?
A: There are many ways to “party smart”. If you decide to go out, I think first and foremost you should stay with your close friends from the beginning of the night, all the way until you get home. Look out for your friends and never leave them alone or let them wander off. Being an active bystander is so important when it comes to staying safe while drinking.
Most students think that their peers are binge drinking all the time — however that is not the case. Nearly 80 percent of OSU students drink between 0 to 6 drinks when they party and about one-fourth of OSU students choose not to drink at all. Not everyone is doing it.
For more alcohol safety tips, visit partysmart.osu.edu. If alcohol use is of concern, contact the Student Life Student Wellness Center.