Hokie Wellness has various resources available for students to learn about alcohol and make smart decisions to maximize positive social outcomes and reduce or eliminate negative outcomes associated with alcohol.
What is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), sometimes referred to as Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) is the percent of alcohol present in the blood.
There are various means of determining BAC. An absolute level can be obtained only by drawing a sample of blood. The most reliable estimate can be obtained via very accurate breathalyzers that take a sample of alveolar (deep lung) air. These are often used by police departments, and are considered legal evidence in a court of law. Handheld breathalyzers are less accurate, and while they are not considered legal evidence of intoxication, they can be used by police to determine probable cause to obtain a BAC that is considered legal evidence in a court of law.
Factors that affect BAC
- Body Mass
- Percent Body Water
Party Positive surveyed students on their drinking habits. Here's what they learned.
56% of students choose to drink less than once a week or not at all
73% of students who drink choose not to ride with someone who has been drinking
67% of students who drink eat before and/or while drinking
89% of students who drink hydrate before and/or while drinking
60% of students pace their consumption while drinking alcohol
Party Positive is an alcohol-use decision style that maximizes positive social outcomes and reduces or eliminates negative outcomes associated with alcohol. Positive drinking means taking steps to reduce risks associated with alcohol, including:
- Moderating consumption by pacing and spacing drinks to maintain a blood alcohol level at or below .06.
- Choosing whether to drink, what to drink and how much to drink in a way consistent with your values.
- Designating a non-drinking driver.
- Eating food before and while drinking
- Staying hydrated by consuming water before and while consuming alcohol.
- Pacing your consumption.
- Tracking the number of standard drinks you consume.
How can I choose to be Party Positive?
Moderation is the key to optimizing positive social outcomes. For example, keeping your blood alcohol content at, or below, .06 will ensure you have positive and productive social interactions. Once you feel relaxed and are having fun, you can then pace to maintain your cognitive and physical abilities.
Research indicates the probability of negative outcomes increase quickly as BAC rises above .06 and then increase exponentially at blood alcohol levels rise above .10. The only way to estimate your blood alcohol level is to track and calculate standard drinks.
Choosing when and what to drink
- Choose your values, by only drinking what and the amount that is right for you.
- Choose not to drink on some occasions when others do.
- Choose to drink when it is legal for you.
Designate a non-drinking driver
A non-drinking driver is the only safe ride. Impairment starts with the first drink.
- Have a plan for getting home safely
- Don't drive after drinking.
- Never ride with someone who has been drinking.
Eating food before and while drinking
Drinking on an empty stomach will cause your blood alcohol level (BAL) to spike quickly, increasing the likelihood of blackout, vomiting, and passing out.
- Eat a large meal soon before drinking.
- Snack throughout the evening.
Drinking causes dehydration, reducing energy levels and making you feel tired, and increasing the severity of your hangover.
- Drink at least 24 oz. of water before you start drinking.
- Drink 6 to 12 oz. of water or another non-alcoholic beverage after each alcoholic beverage.
Track number of standard drinks
To track your consumption, you need to know exactly how much you drink by calculating standard drinks. A standard drink = % (Alcohol x Size (.oz)) /.6
- Set a drink limit that reduces or eliminates negative outcomes.
- Track number of drinks.
Pace and space your drinks
Pacing reduces negative social outcomes and helps you maintain your social skills throughout the evening.
- Limit or eliminate activities that result in drinking quickly.
- Keep it social by pacing standard drinks to one per hour.
- Know your blood alcohol level (BAL) and keep your BAL < .06 (the Positive Drinking Zone).
Virginia Tech believes that decisions concerning alcohol consumption are a personal choice, and that students should make informed alcohol use decisions. While we believe that decisions concerning alcohol consumption are a personal choice, we encourage students to make legal and low-risk decisions concerning their alcohol use decisions. To learn more about our philosophy and policies, click the button below.
Hokie Wellness provides individual consultations for those students who would like to make changes to their alcohol-use patterns. Sessions are 50 minutes long and include two to six sessions. Individual sessions provide students the opportunity to discuss personal habits and behaviors surrounding alcohol and/or other drugs. In addition, students will have the opportunity to examine personal decision-making choices and to self-reflect. To schedule an appointment, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cook Counseling Center also offers counseling and other services to students on a variety of different topics. To learn more about their services, visit their website below:
The Virginia Tech Recovery Community is a place where students in recovery from substance use disorder, can find community, friendship and understanding. Whether you are just thinking about your substance use, or established in your recovery, our community provides supportive relationships, spaces and activities that encourage holistic growth and having fun in recovery.
If you have received a mandated sanction for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct’s Alcohol and Substance Policy, you will find the expectations and polices of Hokie Wellness below.