National Consumers League


NCL Health Issues

Think before you drink

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Think before you drinkDrinking alcohol in excess -- especially for young college students -- can affect your judgment, your safety, and your health. NCL has partnered with the American Medical Women's Association to educate college students across the country about the importance of making decisions to avoid alcohol poisoning and the associated negative consequences.


NCL and the American Medical Women's Association have partnered to educate college students about the dangers of binge drinking. Read our information below, or download our new tri-fold brochure (PDF).

Consider this

  • Drinking too much can affect your judgment and lead to decisions you later regret. Poor choices made while intoxicated could range from blowing your diet to having sex without a condom. Excessive drinking increases your risk of being sexually assaulted or accused of committing an assault. (See to calculate your BAC)
  • It is illegal to purchase or consume alcohol if you are under 21 years of age. It is also illegal to provide alcohol to someone under the age of 21. (For more information, see
  • Women process alcohol differently than men and are more vulnerable to intoxication and harmful effects of excessive drinking.
  • You may be surprised to learn that most college students do not drink often and they do not drink too much. Almost 30% never drink, 70% did not binge drink in the last two weeks, and less than 1% drink daily. (Amer. Coll. Health Assoc.-Nat. Health Assess., 2009)If you for any reason think you might have a drinking problem, please seek help. Your resident advisor and student health center can either help you or point you in the right direction. These Web sites (NIAAA –, SAMHSA –, and also can provide additional information.

Responsible decision-making

  • Decision-making skills help you weigh the consequences of your actions and those of your peers. With respect to drinking, you need to make responsible decisions and avoid risky situations.
  • Many times the best decision is to not drink.
  • Do not drink and drive or ride in a car with someone who has been drinking. The highest number of deaths and injuries among college age students come from alcohol related car accidents.
  • No matter what you are drinking never leave it unattended. Someone can put drugs or more alcohol in your drink.

If you do decide to drink, know some basic facts

  • For adults, moderate drinking is considered up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Four or more for women or five or more for men on any day is considered excessive or binge drinking and may put you at risk for injuries and diseases.
  • One standard drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits. Each contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol and has the same effect on your body.
  • There is no way to sober up quickly: a cold shower, coffee, or exercise only result in a wet, wide awake, or tired but intoxicated person. It takes about two hours for your body to eliminate the alcohol from one drink.
What is alcohol poisoning?
  • Alcohol poisoning is a serious and sometimes deadly consequence of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.
  • Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, and gag reflex, and potentially lead to death.
  • Even if the individual lives, an alcohol overdose can lead to irreversible brain damage.

What are the signs of alcohol poisoning?

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or inability to be roused
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing—fewer than eight breaths per minute
  • Irregular breathing —10 seconds or more between breaths
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

What should I do if I suspect someone has alcohol poisoning?

  • Know the danger signals
  • Do not wait for all symptoms to be present
  • Be aware that a person who has passed out may be in a coma or die
  • If there is any suspicion of an alcohol overdose, call 911 for help; do not try to guess the level of drunkenness
  • Do not let fear that a friend may become angry or get in trouble interfere with seeking medical help; you may save his/her life


Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Always be safe and never sorry!