Life of the Party acknowledges that abstinence from alcohol is the only
alternative and the only legal option for those under 21 years of
age. At the same
time, we think that underage college students who choose to drink
should learn to
do so with the least risk and harm possible.
What kind of substance is alcohol?
Alcohol is classified as a depressant because
it slows down the central nervous system, causing a decrease in
reaction time and intellectual performance. At high doses, the
slows down drastically and can cause a coma or death.
Alcohol at UCSB:
- Alcohol is the "drug of choice" in college.
- About 20% of UCSB students report abstaining from substance
use, so approximately half of our students
either don’t drink or choose to drink in moderation when they do
- High risk drinking puts students at greater risk for negative
consequences such as blackouts, injuries, driving under the influence,
diminished academic performance,
sexual assault, and unplanned and unprotected sex.
How does alcohol move through the body?
Once swallowed, a drink enters the stomach
and small intestine, where small blood vessels carry it to the
20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and most of the
remaining 80% is
absorbed through the small intestine. Alcohol is metabolized by the
enzymes break down the alcohol. In general, the liver can process
one ounce of liquor
(or one standard drink) in one hour. If you consume more than this,
becomes saturated, and the additional alcohol will accumulate in the
blood and body
tissues until it can be metabolized. Very small amounts of alcohol
via lungs, sweat and urine (2-5%). This is why pounding shots or
games can result in high blood alcohol concentrations that last for
How much is "one" drink?
A standard drink contains about 14 grams (about 0.6 fluid
ounces) of pure alcohol. Counting your drinks gets tricky when a
holds multiple standard drinks, such as a red cup or certain mixed
standard drink equivalents are below:
12 oz. of beer
Note: a red cup holds 16 oz.
8-9 oz. of malt liquor
Note: malt liquor is often sold in 16, 22, or 40 oz. containers
that hold 2-5 standard drinks
5 oz. table wine
Note: table wine bottles (typically 750ml) hold five standard
1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor
Note: The same amount of liquors with higher alcohol content
(above 80 proof) contain more than one standard drink
What are some common effects of drinking alcohol? Alcohol may: **
- Cause mood swings.
- Make you less patient.
- Give you a false sense of confidence.
- Make you more aggressive.
- Impede your ability to make responsible
- Make you less cautious
Alcohol may impair: **
- Muscle coordination
- Sense of touch
- Sense of Control
- Your ability to react and form judgments
- Vision by decreasing
- Peripheral (side) vision
- Frontal vision and focusing
- Ability to recover from glare
- Number and speed of scans
- Depth perception
- Color sensitivity
**These effects increase substantially when alcohol is combined
with other drugs**
What are the short-term risks of drinking? When you're drinking, one
of the first
things to go is your judgment. So, celebrating or having fun with
friends can quickly
turn into embarrassing yourself, getting hurt, throwing up or
nursing a hangover.
These statistics show the very real risks of drinking in college:
- 70% of college students admit to engaging in unplanned
sexual activity primarily as a result of drinking or to having sex they
wouldn't have had if they had been sober.
- At least 1 out of 5 college students abandons safer sex
practices when they're drunk, even if they do protect themselves when
- Heavy drinkers consistently have lower grades.
- One night of heavy drinking can impair your ability to
think abstractly and grasp difficult concepts for as long as a month.
Content adapted from the UCSB Alcohol & Drug Program.