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Working for Whitewater's Wellness

Alcohol and Other Drugs


If you or someone you know is seeking Alcohol or Other Drug counseling, call University Health & Counseling Services, 262-472-1305 to make an appointment with Natalie Pitroski.

From an Expert at UHCS:


How much is too much?

Ever think you drank way too much last night? You did if you experienced slurred speech, memory loss, vomited or passed out. How drunk you are really depends on your blood alcohol content (BAC). This refers to how much alcohol is in your blood. The higher your BAC, the more dangerous drinking becomes.

Approximate Effects of BAC Levels

BAC Level Health Effects
0.02-0.04% Relaxation, body warmth, lowered alertness, lowered inhibitions, some loss of judgment
0.06-0.08% Impaired coordination, lack of balance, reduced physical reaction time, reduced reasoning & memory
0.10% Deterioration of reaction time, control of body functions, slurred speech, slowed thinking
0.12-0.15% Vomiting, major loss of balance, swaying, staggering, reduced ability to sense things, emotional instability
0.20-0.30% Apathetic, lethargic, trouble standing, cannot see clearly, some black out or pass out, vomiting (risk of choking)
0.40% Most pass out, some fall into coma. Fatal to ½ of people who reach this level
0.45% Breathing stops…Death!

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex. A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these basic bodily functions.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning (If you notice that someone is exhibiting these signs, you need to call 911 or seek emergency help)

  • Slows breathing & pulse
  • Suppresses gag reflex
  • Lowered body temperature
  • Lowered blood sugar
  • Severe dehydration
  • Confusions or stupor
  • Cannot be roused
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature
  • Blue or pale skin
  • Irregular breathing – fewer than 8 per minute

What is a “Standard Drink”?

Standard Drink








A standard drink consist of 12oz of beer, 1 alcopop, 5oz of wine or 1.5oz of hard liquor

Size of Alcohol Container = Number of Standard Drinks
Regular Beer Malt Liquor Table Wine 80-proof spirits or "hard liquor"
12 fl oz = 1 12 fl oz = 1.5 5 fl oz = 1 1.5 fl oz glass/50ml bottle (a shot) = 1
16 fl oz = 1.3 16 fl oz = 2 750 ml (regular bottle) = 5 A mixed drink or cocktail = 1 or more
22 fl oz = 2 22 fl oz = 2.5 1.5 L = 10 200 ml (a "half pint") = 4.5
40 fl oz = 3 40 fl oz = 4.5   375 ml (a "pint" or "half bottle") = 8.5
Quarter Barrel = 82.7     750 ml (a "fifth) = 17
Keg/half barrel = 165.3     1.00L = 23
      1.75 L (handle) = 39

Drinking Misconceptions:

Research proves that college students consistently overestimate the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption other students drink. This is true at UW-Whitewater; here are some statistics of where we stand.

UWW Statistics (from the 2010 National College Health Assessment)
% of UWW students who report they do not consume alcohol at all: 16.2%

% who got in trouble due to drinking: 8.4%

% who consumed 4 or fewer drinks per week: 39.7%

% who reported never drinking 5+ drinks in two hour time frame in past two weeks: 43.4%

% of perceived typical use: 53.9% perceived students drank 10-29 days in the past 30 days

% who reported drinking 10-29 days in the past 30 days: 14.2%

Alcohol Advertising

Alcohol companies use advertising (TV, radio, magazines, and internet) to market their array of products. Research shows that alcohol advertising and marketing has a large impact on young people’s decision to start drinking or to continue drinking. Common goals of the alcohol industry are:

• Normalize alcohol use
• Minimize government regulation
• Minimize taxes, penalties & other costs
• Focus alcohol control on consumer
• Distance manufacturers from alcohol related problems.
• Obscure & misrepresent cause & effect, relationship present in alcohol related problems.
From: Sherman (oct 7 presentation folder)

How they do it: Alcohol Branding:

Branding is a technique used in marketing to establish a meaning and emotion towards a certain brand. This technique creates a “personality” for a brand which helps form a lasting and loyal relationship (brand loyalty).

Have the alcohol companies reached you? Can you name the brand?

1) Mascot poses with right knee up
2) Cold activated with mountains
3) “The Champagne of Beers”
4) Old No. 7 Brand
5) Green and orange with an elk on the label
6) “King of Beers”
7) Cake, whipped, lemonade, blue, vanilla flavors
8) “Cold. Hard. Refreshing.”

Answer Key:

1) Captain Morgan
2) Coors
3) Miller High Life
4) Jack Daniels
5) Jagermeister
6) Budweiser
7) UV
8) Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Advertising Facts:

  • Between 2001 and 2007, alcohol companies spent $6.6 billion on alcohol advertising on TV.
  • From 2001 to 2006, they spent $2 billion on advertisements in national magazines.
    • Jerigan, D & Wedeking, J. (2008). Intoxicating Brands: Alcohol Advertising and Youth. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
  • 2001: 217 alcohol product advertisements and 11 “responsibility” advertisements
  • 2005: 309 alcohol product advertisements and 21 “responsibility” advertisements
    • The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth
  • “Studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, or if already drinking, drink more.”-
    • Letter from 24 State Attorney General to the Federal Trade Commission, April 26, 2011
  • Over 100,000 alcohol ad’s by age 18.

Energy Drinks and Alcohol:

Energy drinks and alcohol pop drinks (alcopops) have become a permanent fixture in our culture.
• Energy drinks are any beverage that contains some form of legal stimulant and/or vitamins which have been added to give a consumer a short term boost of energy.
• Alcopop is a term used to describe a bottled alcoholic beverage that resembles soft drinks or lemonade.
• An alcohol energy drink is either premixed by the manufacturer or mixed by the consumer

Risks of mixing energy drinks with alcohol
Energy drinks are a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. The stimulant effects can mask how intoxicated you are and prevent you from realizing how much alcohol you have consumed. Fatigue is one of the ways the body normally tells someone that they’ve had enough to drink. Once the stimulant effects wear off, the depressant effects of the alcohol will remain and could cause vomiting in your sleep.

Another danger of combining energy drinks with alcohol is that both are very dehydrating. Dehydration can hinder your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and will increase the toxicity, which leads to a hangover.

Examples of Energy Drinks Examples of Alcopops Examples of Alcohol Energy Drinks
  • Red Bull
  • AMP
  • Full Throttle
  • SoBe Adrenaline Rush
  • Coke
  • Pepsi
  • Mike's Hard Lemonade
  • Jim Beam
  • Johnnie Walker
  • Jack Daniels
  • Sparks
  • Tilt
  • Four Loko

Alcohol Calorie vs. Food Calorie

We have all seen it attached to the front of our once thin and athletic friend - the infamous "beer belly". Commonly misattributed to excess alcohol calories being stored as fat, the "beer belly" is actually a result of alcohol's more complex effects on the body's metabolic system. Simply put, alcohol reduces the amount of fat the body burns for energy. This occurs for the following reason:

  1. A small portion of the alcohol consumed is converted into fat.
  2. The liver then converts the rest (ie: majority) of the alcohol into acetate.
  3. The acetate is then released into the bloodstream, and replaces fat as a source of fuel.

Coupled with the high caloric value of alcohol, the resulting effect is that body is forced to store an excessive amount of unburned fat calories, often in the form of a 'beer belly".

Here are some examples of how calories from alcoholic drinks compare to calories from food.

Calorie Count Comparison

Regular Beer (12 oz)

150 Calories

Single Serving Bag (1oz)

Lite Beer (12oz)

100 Calories

Cooked Carrots (2 cups)

Red Wine (5 oz)

106 Calories

Jelly Beans (1oz)

White Wine (5oz)

100 Calories

Oreo (2 cookies)

Wine Cooler (12oz)

195 Calories

Baked Chicken Breast (with skin)

Liquor (1oz)

100 Calories

Blueberries (1 cup)

Daquiri (6oz)

125 Calories

Twinkie (lowfat)

Margarita (6oz)

175 Calories

Brownie w/icing (2" square)

Rum and Coke (12oz)

250 Calories

Glazed Donut (medium)

Bloody Mary (6oz)

250 Calories

Plain Hot Dog on Bun

Calorie Reducing Tips
• Try alternating alcoholic drinks with low calorie non-alcoholic drinks or water.
• Ask for low calorie / diet mixers where possible.
• Make your wine into a spritzer (a longer drink), or your lager into a shandy - both have fewer calories.
• Substitute your "alcopop" for a shot of spirit and a low calorie mixer - about a quarter of the calories!
• Plan your alcohol into your daily calorie quota so you can enjoy a glass or two. If you know you will be drinking during the weekend, try to save some calories each day in advance, so you can eat normally before you go out.
• Don't be tempted to skip meals to allow for drinks, as alcohol won't satisfy your hunger. In fact, alcohol lowers blood sugar levels (it prevents sugar that is normally stored in the liver, as glycogen, from breaking down). A drop in blood sugar levels sends signals to the brain you are hungry. With alcohol in your system, willpower can go out of the window and the snack attacks kick in. Eating a proper meal before you go out will line your stomach and slow the rate at which alcohol absorbs into your bloodstream, keeping you in control of how much you eat and drink.
Source: University of Rochester, University Health Service (UHS) Health Promotion Office


  • Only time helps you sober up after a night of partying. It takes about one hour for each drink to process through your body. Keep in mind, this means one serving of beer (12oz) or one shot (1.5oz).
  • “Beer before liquor you’ve never been sicker, liquor before beer you’re in the clear.” Actually, it doesn’t matter the order of your drinks. Too much of any type of alcohol can make you sick.
  • Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men. Women have less body water than men of similar body weight and have smaller quantities of enzyme that break down alcohol in the stomach. A Woman will absorb about 30% more alcohol into her bloodstream than a man of the same weight who has consumed an equal amount.
  • Alcohol does not improve sexual performance. Your desire may be heightened but your physiology is impaired.
  • Everyone does not drink. A survey conducted in 2010 found that 16.2% of UWW students do not drink.
  • Blacking out is different from passing out. A blackout is a period of amnesia during which a person is actively engaged in behaviors such as walking & talking, but brain is unable to form new memories. Passing out is not clearly defined in research, but generally means either falling asleep from excessive drinking or literally drinking oneself unconscious. Keep in mind that a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even after passing out.

Alcohol Screening If you consume alcoholic beverages, it is important to know whether your drinking patterns are safe, risky or harmful. This site can help you assess your own drinking, learn about alcohol and health issues, and find resources for additional help.


Marijuana (Pot, ganga, weed, grass, 420):

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug among American college students. It is the dry leave, flowers, stems and seeds of the Cannabis plant. The main chemical in marijuana is THC.

Short-term health effects:

  • Distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.
  • Marijuana increases heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking

Long-term health effects:

  • Addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite the known harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities.
  • Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent.

Marijuana Facts:

  • Marijuana is addictive.
  • Marijuana is the drug of choice among young people. Among young people who use drugs, approximately 60% use marijuana only.
  • Smoking one joint is equal to smoking five cigarettes.
  • Smoking four joints is equal to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.
  • Marijuana and alcohol are equally dangerous.
  • The average THC levels rose from less than 1% in the late 1970s to more than 7% in 2001.
  • Marijuana hangovers exist and include problems with alertness, coordination, depth perception, and distorted sense of time.
  • THC can last in your body for up to four weeks.

Club Drugs

Above the Influence

- Amanda Krentz, MPH

More Information:

Alcoholics Anonymous- Jefferson County:

Alcoholics Anonymous-Walworth County:

Alcoholics Anonymous-Wisconsin:

B4U Drink Educator: The Virtual Bar:, interactive website to show how gender, body weight, food, and what, how much, and how fast you drink can all affect your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Last Updated: 09/21/12