College occurs at a stage in life when drinking levels are generally elevated. The age period from 19-24 is associated with the highest prevalence of periodic heavy alcohol consumption during the life span. Although on average, college students may drink on fewer occasions than their non-collegiate peers, they tend to drink more heavily (5 or more drinks in a sitting) on a more frequent basis than nonstudents, placing them at especially high risk for the consequences of heavy consumption.

A Re-Think of the Way We Drink

Many people are surprised to learn what counts as a standard drink. The amount of liquid in your glass, can, bottle, or other drink container does not necessarily match up to how much “pure” alcohol is actually in your drink. Although the drinks below are different sizes, each contains approximately the same amount of alcohol and counts as a single standard drink.

stand pour: 12 fl oz of regular beer. 8-9 fl oz of malt liquor. 5 fl oz of wine. 1.5 fl oz of 80-proof sprits

Although the “standard” drink amounts are helpful for following the health guidelines, they may not reflect customary serving sizes. For example, a mixed drink made with hard liquor can contain 1 to 3 or more standard drinks, depending on the type of liquor and the recipe.

Additionally, it’s important to know that the alcohol content in different types of beer, wine, and liquor can vary greatly.

Visit the cocktail calculator to determine how many “standard drinks" are in one serving of different mixed drinks.

Low Risk

If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation. This means:

For women: No more than 3 drinks on any single day, AND no more than 7 drinks per week.
For men: No more than 4 drinks on any single day, AND no more than 14 drinks per week.

It's important to know that “low risk” is not no risk. As a matter of fact, even within these limits, people can still have problems if they drink too quickly, have health problems, or are older. Based on your health and how alcohol affects you, you may need to drink less, or not at all.

When is “low-risk” drinking too much?

High Risk

Drinking more than the single-day or weekly limits is considered “at-risk” drinking.


Binge Drinking 

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as drinking so much within a 2 hour limit that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels raise to 0.08 g/dL. This usually occurs at the high-risk drinking levels. The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion.

Drinking this way can pose serious risks.

Aware Awake Alive, save a life from alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a serious – and sometimes deadly – consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, gag reflex, and potentially lead to coma and death.

Did you know?

A person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and the intestine can continue to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It’s dangerous to assume a person will be fine by sleeping it off.

Know the Signs - "MUST HELP"

M - Mental Confusion
U - Unresponsive
S - Snoring/Gasping for air
T - Throwing up

H - Hypothermia
E - Erratic Breathing
L - Loss of Consciousness
P - Paleness/Blueness of Skin

If a person is unconscious, breathing less than 8 breaths per minute, or has repeated, controlled vomiting…CALL 911. video, Hayden's brother

Visit for more information.

Updated: April 16, 2024