Reduce Your Risk: A Guide to Pacing

Pacing or spacing out how much alcohol you’re consuming over a period of time is a great way to reduce your risk of experiencing alcohol-related harms.

Simple strategies for pacing yourself or someone in your pack include:

  • Alternating non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
  • Eating a meal before drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol
  • Trying to avoid drinking games and pre-gaming

 

To understand pacing on a deeper level, check out the following information about Standard Drinks, BAC, the Biphasic Effect, and When to Call for Help.


Standard Drinks

Knowing standard drink sizes is helpful if you’re trying to figure out how much alcohol is in your drink. Below is a guide that shows standard drink sizes for some common types of alcohol. Be aware, however, that some beverages may contain a higher percentage of alcohol than what’s shown. Some types of beer—IPAs, for example—are often much higher than 5% alcohol.

Source: NIAAA.gov


Blood Alcohol Concentration

Once you know how to pour a standard drink, you can estimate your BAC. BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration and is the ratio of alcohol to blood in your body.

Biological sex, body weight, amount consumed, and drinking pace are the most significant influences on BAC. Utilizing a BAC calculator is a great way to get a sense of what your BAC might look like, while taking those variables into account. You can find one here. Please note that results from these calculators are estimations and should not be used to determine if you can safely drive.

Included here is a general guide to what someone without a tolerance might experience at each BAC range.

BAC scale

Source: NIAAA.gov


 

Biphasic Effect

Utilize what you know about your BAC to consider a drink limit that’s right for you. A BAC of .06 is considered the point of diminishing returns– the BAC at which drinking more alcohol leads to fewer of the pleasurable effects associated with drinking. Keeping your BAC below .06 will reduce experiences you might want to avoid, such as blacking out, feeling nauseous, or doing things you’ll later regret.

 

Biphasic BAC

 

When to Call for Help

Below are signs to look out for that indicate a fellow Husky needs medical attention. What’s most important though, is to recognize when your gut is telling you that something isn’t right. If you’re wondering if you should call for help, that’s the moment you know you have to.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty remaining conscious , or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Body temperature change
  • Skin color changes (could be bluish or pale)

These signs indicate someone needs immediate medical attention—call 911. Remember, UConn’s #1 priority is the safety of our students, which is why we have a Good Samaritan Statement in place. You can read that statement here.