party safety

Some students may think that making their own drinks means their drink is safe, but all alcohol comes with inherent risk. 

Why are Blackout Rage Gallons risky? Drinking alcohol increases your blood alcohol content, or the amount of alcohol in your blood. As your BAC rises, so does the risk associated with alcohol. If your BAC gets too high, you may develop alcohol poisoning. 

Drinking BORGs with the intention of blacking out is fundamentally dangerous. “Blacking out” is a sign of alcohol poisoning. Even if you make your own BORG, you may unknowingly consume enough alcohol to cause alcohol poisoning or death. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your central nervous system. Signs of alcohol poisoning can include vomiting, disorientation, change in breathing patterns, blacking out, unresponsiveness, gasping for air, snoring and changes in skin color. These symptoms may be the sign of an alcohol emergency. 

Some people think that making your own BORG and including other substances is safe; this is a myth. Making your own drink and using a drink cover may reduce the likelihood of drink tampering; however, if someone unintentionally develops alcohol poisoning from their BORG, this defeats the purpose of safety. When individuals are mentally confused or unconscious, they cannot communicate or consent. 

Creating BORGs with other substances such as caffeine or electrolytes and considering this a safety strategy is also misleading. The presence of caffeine in BORGs may mask the impact and effects of alcohol, which may lead a person to drink even more. Additionally, consuming electrolytes does not outweigh the risk associated with consuming large amounts of alcohol. Remember that nothing cancels out the impacts of consuming large quantities of alcohol. 

In addition to misinformation about physical impacts of alcohol, there are myths circulating regarding safety and mental health. Drinking alcohol is associated with increased risk of physical and mental consequences for both individuals and the community. In fact, in comparison with other drugs, alcohol has the largest negative impact. These consequences can include accidents, assault or experiencing exacerbation of underlying mental health conditions.

Some drinkers believe that alcohol can help them manage anxiety or depression; when in fact, alcohol will exacerbate both of these conditions. Alcohol interrupts brain chemicals that can cause an increase in tension and even panic. For those who struggle with their mental health, drinking minimally, if at all, may be a more effective harm reduction approach. If you are curious about how alcohol will interact with your mental health or medication, ask your doctor. 

There are strategies you can utilize to reduce harm associated with alcohol. One phrase that helps students remember to party smarter is to “go low and slow,” i.e. drinking slower over long periods of time.While going low and slow can be helpful for everyone, there are individual differences in how alcohol impacts us. Your BAC is based on five major factors: sex assigned at birth, weight, time, alcohol concentration and how many drinks you have had. One standard drink is considered 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol), 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol) or 1.5 ounces of liquor (40% alcohol), although concentrations may vary. BORGs are often made with a fifth of liquor, which contain 16 standard drinks. BORGs may even contain more alcohol than this; some recipes call for half a gallon of vodka, which amounts to 43 servings. This quantity of alcohol can be fatal. 

Websites and apps such as DrinkFox or Stay in the Blue can help you track drinks and evaluate your BAC. This way, you can assess if you are at risk for harm related to alcohol. Of course, another way to avoid risks associated with alcohol is to not drink. In fact, about 77% of NC State students drink safely or do not drink alcohol at all.

In the event of a medical emergency, students should call 911 for immediate intervention. NC State’s “Howl for Help” policy is designed to encourage bystanders to seek help during emergencies. Students who seek medical treatment due to a substance-related emergency, including alcohol or other drugs, will not be charged for the possession or consumption of substances. If you think it might be time to call for help, it is time to call for help. 

If you or a friend are concerned about their alcohol or other drug use, there are resources on campus that are here to help. The Alcohol and Other Drugs team in Prevention Services can meet with students to discuss individual concerns in a judgment-free way. Regardless of your relationship with substances, we are here to talk about options based on your goals. Students who are seeking an alternative college experience without substances can also check out Pack Recovery, a community for those identifying as in recovery from substances.

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