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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 poisoning is what happens when a person drinks a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. The alcohol begins to shut down the body and can result in death.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot 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 you should do if you think someone has alcohol poisoning:

  • Seek medical help immediately
  • Seek the help of a Residential Advisor (R.A.) on duty
  • Lie individual on their side, with the head slightly lower than the rest of the body. This will prevent blockage of the airway and possible asphyxiation if the drinker starts to vomit
  • Do not leave the individual alone.

What is a “Standard Drink”?

Standard Drink

Zero drinks if you are underage, pregnant, taking medication or driving.

No more than 1 drink per hour.

No more than 3-4 drinks on any occasion.

No more than 1 or 2 times per week.



Standard Drink


Alcohol Drinks (% alcohol) Ounces Standard Drink Size
Regular Beer (~4.2%)
Examples: Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Corona
12oz (can/bottle) 1
16oz (keg cup) 1.3
40oz 3.3
Quarter Barrel 82.7
Keg/Half Barrel 165.3
Wine (~12%) 5oz (glass) 1
25.4oz (bottle) 5
169oz (box) 33.8
Liquor (~40% or 80-proof)
Examples: UV Vodka, Kessler, Tequila, Gin, Captain
1.5oz (shot) 1
16oz 11
25 oz (750ml) 17
34oz (1.00ml) 23
59oz (1.75ml) 39
Liquor (95% or 190-proof) 1.5oz (shot) 2.85
Alcopops (~5%)
Examples: Smirnoff ice, Mike's Hard Lemonade
12oz 1
Bud Light Lime "beer ritas" (8%)
Examples: Straw-ber-rita, Lime-a-rita
8oz 1.1
Mixed Rail Drinks (~40%)
Examplse: Seven & Seven, Captain & Coke, Vodka Tonic, Screwdriver
7oz 1
Other Mixed Drinks:    
Margarita 3oz 1
Long Island 7oz 5
Jungle Juice/Wop 12-16oz 5-6

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 2013 National College Health Assessment)
28% of UW-Whitewater students do not consume alcohol.
53% of UW-Whitewater students do not abuse alcohol.
73% of UW-Whitewater students have not driven under the influence in the last month.
53% of UW-Whitewater students have 0-4 drinks when they party.
64% of UW-Whitewater students do not black out during drinking.
84% of UW-Whitewater students do not use other substances.
68% of UW-Whitewater students gave NEVER tried marijuana.

Safe Party Tips:

Before the Party

  • Set a limit and stick to it. It's okay not to drink or have one or two drinks.
  • Eat a meal before drinking and snack throughout the night to slow down absorption of alcohol
  • Always have a designated driver or a safe ride home.
  • Use the buddy system. Go out with friends.

At the Party

  • Avoid drinking games. It's hard to judge how much you are drinking when you are playing.
  • Know howmuch you are drinking and pace yourself.
  • Alternate drinks with water.
  • Watch your drink to prevent it from being tampered with.
  • Don't drink from a punch bowl or pitchers. You do not know what has been added.
  • Stick with one type of alcohol to prevent becoming more sick.

After the Party

  • Watch out for your friends.
  • Use a safe ride home.
  • Drink water to rehydrate.
  • If a friend is too intoxicated..
    • Call 911 if there are signs of alcohol poisoning
    • Lay them on their side to prevent choking
    • Stay with them until help arrives
    • Don't let them sleep it off

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 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 28% 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 can be 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, memory and learning.
  • May increase risk of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. .

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).


National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
Above the Influence:
Drug-Free World:
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids:
The Fly Effect:
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM):


This site is not meant to replace the advice of a health care or counseling professional. You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace consultations with qualified professionals regarding your own specific situation. Some links take you to a source outside of UHCS. The owners of that site, not UHCS, are responsible for the content.

Last Updated: 06/25/14