Be safe, be smart, be sober

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Garrison
  • 28th Medical Operations Squadron
As we head into the summer months, Ellsworth's Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program wants Airmen to be mindful of responsible alcohol use. 

Failure to drink responsibly affects all demographics, and each of us chooses where to go in our free time, as well as whether or not we consume alcohol. 

Responsible drinking requires appropriate decision making and understanding how our decisions can affect our personal and professional lives.

If we choose to be in an environment where alcoholic beverages are consumed and choose to partake, we are ultimately responsible for any resulting consequences. On many occasions, the ADAPT clinic has worked with Airmen who were not ready to take responsibility for their alcohol use. 

A driving-while-under-the-influence arrest, an accident, or a citation for public intoxication is not a result of bad timing or unfortunate luck. Responsible drinking means taking the necessary precautions so we not harm ourselves, our family, innocent bystanders and our careers. Another part of responsible drinking is understanding the effects alcohol has on the body and mind.

Body mass determines how much you are affected by alcohol and blood alcohol content is the concentration of alcohol you have in your blood. For example, a standard drink consumed by an average 180-pound-man will increase his BAC by 0.02 percent each drink, while a standard drink consumed by an average 120-pound-woman will increase her BAC by 0.03 percent each drink.

A standard drink is any drink that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, or 0.6 fluid ounces or 1.2 tablespoons. A typical 12-ounce beer or cooler equals approximately one standard drink, and a 40-ounce beer or cooler equals approximately 3.3 standard drinks. Different brands and types of beverages vary alcohol, and standard drink equivalents may also vary due to this.

Additionally, a typical bottle of wine, roughly 25 ounces equals five standard drinks, and a mixed drink, depending on the recipe, can equal one to three or more standard drinks as 1.5 ounces of hard liquor contain 40 percent alcohol.

Of note, BAC is not affected by tolerance. The more you drink the higher your BAC will be, period. It takes approximately one and a half to two hours for your liver to metabolize each standard drink you consume. Regardless of whether you're male or female, if you drink two standard drinks, it will take your body roughly four hours to become alcohol-free. After consuming three standard drinks it takes around six hours to return to an alcohol-free state.

If you are feeling peer pressure to drink, you can enforce personal boundaries for yourself. Do not feel obligated to drink when you don't want to! If you are of-age and should you choose to drink, follow these eight steps for drinking responsibly:

     1. Use the buddy system. Never go out alone or with people you do not know.
     2. Don't drink on an empty stomach.
     3. Know your limits. Do not drink to impress anyone.
     4. Alternate a standard drink with a non-alcoholic drink.
     5. Drink slowly. It takes time for alcohol to take effect.
     6. Stop drinking if you start to feel sick, buzzed or drunk.
     7. Have a designated driver. Choose one who will ensure you get home safely and will not consume alcohol.
     8. Save the SAFE Ride number (605) 385-7433 in your phone and call if needed.

To request an ADAPT briefing or drunk goggles/manual go-cart obstacle course call the ADAPT program at (605) 385-3656.