Ok, so red wine may be good for you in moderation (a couple of small glasses, not bottles), and a few drinks are a fun way to celebrate with friends or relax after a busy week. But those of us who’ve sculled down too much booze and got plastered know how easy it is to lose control.
If you do overdo it, you could end with a nasty hangover or be the joke everyone’s talking about (the guy who mistook the wardrobe for the toilet and peed into it, anyone? What about the girl who woke up next to her crush plus a not-so-romantic pile of vomit?). But even less fun is the risk of permanent damage or death.
Too much alcohol, too fast, can poison you, which can be fatal – your breathing can stop, your heart can stop, you can get hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature) or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), you can have seizures, choke on your own vomit, or get so dehydrated you can get permanent brain damage.
Not so cool or fun, hey?
Drinking danger signs (or when to call an ambulance)
Call emergency help if someone is really drunk and showing signs like vomiting, is in a stupor, having seizures, breathing irregularly or slowly or has chills and pallor (hypothermia).
If you’re worried about whether to call for help or not, I’m sure they’d agree that it’s better to be embarrassed than dead.
If a person passes out, their blood alcohol level can keep rising from what’s in their stomach, so they can actually die while “sleeping it off”.
It isn’t helpful to give coffee either, as it just dehydrates them more.
The best thing you can do is call an ambulance and keep your friend warm.
Don’t try to get any fluids in – even water – if they’re unconscious or very sleepy, as they may breathe it into their lungs instead of swallowing it.
It’s not as common as you would think from tv shows and media, but it can happen.
- Go out with at least one friend, and have a pact to stay together, whatever happens.
- Don’t take drinks from strangers or leave your drinks unattended – and while GHB, for example, has a “date rape drug” reputation, your drink’s actually more likely to be spiked with shots of strong alcohol.
- Try to stay in control – sexual assault isn’t just from strangers, it happens from people you know, often after too much alcohol.
If you have been sexually assaulted, you can report it by phoning your local police station – if it makes you feel more comfortable, ask to speak to a female. You may be asked to go to a hospital for an examination to collect evidence.
Date rape drugs such as GHB are hard to detect in urine but can be detected in hair for a much longer period, so if you think you’ve been drugged, ask that a hair sample is tested for multiple drugs.
For links to more information and advice check out useful websites: drugs & alcohol
This popular combo is actually pretty bad news – mixing a stimulant (caffeine or guarana) with a depressant (alcohol), disguises how drunk you are and keeps you powering on past your body’s limit. This is especially bad if you have a pre-existing heart problem (you mightn’t know), and could kill you. That’s why the packaging says to drink one a day, max.
Fun in moderation
Sure, have fun with alcohol, if it’s a few drinks, not a few yard glasses. If you’re poor, like many young peeps (and old ones…), a cheaper way to do this is to pool resources before you go out (a case of beer or bottle of spirits between friends is obviously much better value than buying premixed cans or six-packs), or go to your local bowling or services club for a few drinks and maybe a round of pool, before hitting pricier venues.
Cheap drinks (yet surprisingly tasty)
Ahhh. Cask wine. Not just a super-cheap alcohol, but also a handy pillow if you need a lie down after.
Goon can be good (ok, maybe good is too generous a word…) for parties – especially when it’s made into other things like fruit punch (mix whatever you can get, out of cask white or cheap bubbly (or white spirits if you’re rich) plus fruit juice, cold tea (seriously, it’s good), ginger ale or beer, fizzy lemonade (ie Sprite) and/or tinned or fresh fruit and mint leaves), or sangria (mix red wine, about half as much fruit juice, some canned peaches or other fruit like berries plus some ice, then top with ginger ale, lemonade or soda) or even mulled wine in winter (red wine gently heated with a cinnamon stick and a Tbs honey). You can also mix beer with lemonade to make a shandy (sounds so much classier, yes?).
But then half the fun is in the experimenting to taste, so don’t be constricted by recipes, just invent your own — the Bazza Blast…the Shazza Surprise…the possibilities are endless really.
Depending on how much, and how often, you’re doing the tasting, however, you might end up needing the following info…
Again, I can’t stress this enough, if it’s an emergency, always call for help (e.g. 911 or 000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Depending on where you live, there’re a lot of places to get information, counselling or help for yourself or a friend, if it’s less urgent.
See useful websites: drugs & alcohol for links to confidential drug info, counselling and other support services in your local area.