Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

What are the Effects of Alcohol?

Tips to Drink Responsibly

Alcohol Addiction Help

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

How much and how fast you drink affects your blood alcohol content. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is calculated by determining how many milligrams of alcohol are present in 100 millilitres of blood. According to BAC charts, a drink is defined as follows:

  • Beer, 341 ml (12 oz), 5% alcohol content
  • Wine, 142 ml (5 oz), 12 % alcohol content
  • Cider / Cooler, 341 ml (12 oz), 5% alcohol content
  • Distilled alcohol (rye, gin, rum ,etc.), 43 ml (1.5 oz), 40% alcohol content

Check out Smart Serve's tool to see how you compare:

Pleasure Zone (Green)

  • .01-.05 = mild euphoria, slight muscle relaxation, increased sociability, talkative
  • .05-.08 = lowered alertness, reason and judgement slightly impaired, exaggerated behaviors

Caution Zone (Yellow)

  • .08-.15 = slowed reactions, inability to focus, loud talking, senses impaired, short-term memory loss, slurred speech
  • .15-.24 = lack of motor control, illogical thinking, blurred vision, difficulty standing/walking, agitation, sedation, stupor

Stop-Rethink Zone (Red)

  • .24-.35 = impaired circulation and respiration, increased pain threshold, disorientation, loss of motor function, loss of consciousness, possible death by overdose
  • .35+ = extremely slow or irregular breathing, pale/bluish skin, unresponsive
  • .40+ = death in most cases

What Are The Effects of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down parts of the brain, including the part that controls breathing, and changes the way you think, act and feel.

Alcohol affects people differently. Some people find it makes them feel more calm and relaxed, more talkative, less shy, warm, and less coordinated. Others find it makes them depressed or aggressive.

Remember the only thing that helps you sober up is time. It takes time for the liver to break down and get rid of alcohol from your body.

Binge Drinking:

Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time is harmful to your health. This is called binge, heavy or risky drinking. Binge drinking means drinking 4 or more drinks (for females) and 5 or more drinks (for males) at a single event or party.

The most common short-term risk of binge drinking is a hangover, which can include fatigue, nausea, vomiting and headache.

A hangover could be the least of your problems as binge drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning, violent behaviour, risky sexual behaviour, and poor decision-making.  Did you know that vomiting is your body’s response to the dangerous levels of alcohol that are in your body? It is also a sign of alcohol poisoning.

Extreme intoxication:

Can lead to alcohol poisoning which is also considered an overdose. This is a medical emergency and you need to call 9-1-1 for help. If a person with alcohol poisoning does not get immediate medical attention, the person could lose consciousness, go into a coma, or die.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Bluish, cold, clammy skin
  • Vomiting without waking up
  • Not waking up when pinched (meaning the person is unconscious)
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

Did you know that the gag reflex which prevents choking is also slowed so a person can choke on their vomit? If someone is really intoxicated (or "drunk") never leave them alone and assume 'they are sleeping it off'.

Tips to Drinking Responsibly:

 Keep track of how much you are drinking. 

  • Know your limits. You should never exceed the daily and weekly limits outlined in the Canada's Low Risk Alcohol drinking guidelines. 
  • Stay hydrated. Have water, juice or a soft drink in between your drinks. Having a glass of water for every glass of alcohol you drink can help ensure that you are staying hydrated.
  • Plan for a safe way home. Drinking and driving do not mix and is punishable by law. An impaired driving offense can affect your potential for jobs and competitive academic opportunities. For more information, check out what the police have to say.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with drugs or energy drinks. We mean all drugs, both prescription and recreational. Just like a bad science experiment you should never mix two unknown chemicals together. Alcohol and drugs are made of many different chemicals and you can get very sick if you combine the two. The same goes for energy drinks.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel like something is wrong, you are not comfortable with how the night is unfolding, or you are worried something bad is going to happen, just call it a night.
  • It is ok to say no. 

Alcohol Addiction Help

If you are worried about yourself or someone else, here is where you can turn for help.

  • Talk to an adult you trust. It could be a parent, coach, friend or a guidance counsellor at school.

If you go to University or College you can also contact:

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