The holiday season is a time for celebration, and alcohol plays a big role in those festivities for most people. More people are likely to drink beyond their limits during the holiday season than any other time of the year. According to a survey conducted by Alcohol.org, one of the holidays with the most average number of drinks consumed is New Year’s Eve.

What counts as a drink?
Many individuals might be surprised by the answer. In the United States, a “standard” drink is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. It is a useful way to track alcohol consumption. A 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits all equal a standard drink.

Calculating alcohol in a mixed drink or cocktail can be tricky. Depending on the drink recipe, an individual can consume one, two, or more standard drinks in one cocktail or mixed drink. The National Institute of Health has a useful cocktail content calculator. For example, a gin and tonic is 1.6 U.S. standard drinks, so three of these drinks would be almost 5 (4.8) standard drinks. They suggest having no more than one standard drink per hour, with nonalcoholic drink spacers between alcohol beverages. It takes approximately two hours for the adult body to completely break down a single drink. To calculate how much alcohol is in your drink, visit https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Tools/Calculato rs/Cocktail-Calculator.aspx.

Buzzed driving is drunk driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol consumption impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. These are all vital abilities to operating a vehicle safely. At a 0.08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), crash risk increases significantly. This is why it is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC higher than 0.08.

NHTSA warns individuals that even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. With a BAC of .02, they report that there is a decline in visual functions and decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time. The effects of a BAC of .08 are problems with concentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability and impaired perception. NHTSA recommends these tips to individuals to help ensure you have a safe and fun during the holidays:

● Before drinking, choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver, or DD. A DD should be someone who hasn’t drank at all, not the friend that drank the least.

● Use NHTSA’s SafeRide app to call a taxi or friend. The app is available on Google Play for Android devices, and at the iTunes store for Apple devices.

● If you are hosting the party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.

● Always wear a seat belt, the best defense against drunk drivers.

For more information, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/buzzed-driving

Resources: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/RethinkHoliday/NIAAA_Holiday_Fact_Sheet.pdf

https://www.alcohol.org/statistics-information/holiday-binge- drinking/