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Think Alcohol and Drugs

Common Drug and Alcohol Combinations

Alcohol and any depressant drug can increase the effects of alcohol by up to 10 times. Many drugs can interact with alcohol in unpredictable ways.

Alcohol and Energy Drinks/Caffeine

The combination of alcohol and caffeine tricks your body into thinking it is not tired, which leads to your body being more intoxicated than you might feel. Energy drinks can also increase dehydration, which can lead to more intense hangovers the next day.

Alcohol and Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, so the combination can lead to severe side effects such as cardiac arrhythmia, psychotic reactions, vomiting, dizziness and headaches. Adderall can also cause a person to feel less drunk than they actually are.

Alcohol and Painkillers

The mixture of alcohol and painkillers can lead to intensified sedative effects and respiratory depression.

Alcohol and Marijuana

Mixing alcohol and marijuana can cause heavy vomiting, spins, very strong paranoia, decreased motor control and decreased mental concentration.

Alcohol and Ecstasy

NEVER mix ecstasy with any other drug substance, especially alcohol. The combination of ecstasy and alcohol increases the risk of alcohol poisoning and can lead to severe reactions.

Alcohol and Antidepressants

Combining alcohol and antidepressants can increase the response to alcohol; one drink might affect the user the same as two.

Think Alcohol’s Impact


Feelings and personality changes

Physical and mental impairment


Joyous, relaxation, sense of well-being, lowered alertness, loss of inhibition, more confident, shorter attention span, sociable, talkative

Coordination, concentration, thought, judgment


Impaired sexual behavior, blunted feelings, extroversion, harder to detect danger, less self-control

Glare recovery, peripheral vision, depth perception, distance acuity, impaired reflexes, poor muscle coordination


Angry, sad, over-expression, emotional mood swings, loss of critical judgment

Gross motor control, staggering, slurred speech, reaction time, blurred vision, major loss of balance


Loss of understanding, impaired sensation, confused, highly emotional, sleepy, lethargic

Severe motor impairment, loss of consciousness, blackout, may not feel physical pain


Severe depression, unconsciousness

Breathing, heart rate, bladder function


Unconsciousness or death

Breathing and heart rate


Intoxication Factors

Absorption Rate Factors:

Food: A person drinking on an empty stomach can achieve peak BACs in 0.5 to 2 hours, while a person that has eaten can achieve peak BACs in 1 to 6 hours. Eating food while drinking alcohol is key to achieving a lower, delayed BAC peak and having a safer time.

Strength of drink: The stronger the drink, the higher a person’s BAC  result.

Distribution Factors:

Gender: Women become intoxicated on less alcohol than men due to  lower total body water content and decreased levels of alcohol dehydrogenate in their gastric mucosa and hormonal levels.

Body Fat: Individuals with a higher percentage of body fat will normally have a higher BAC level than an individual with a lower percentage of body fat.

Body Weight: The lower the weight of an individual, the higher the BAC will be.

Elimination Factors: The average person will eliminate one standard drink per hour.

Tolerance: The reduction of the effectiveness of a drug after a period of prolonged or heavy use. Tolerance can be the result of genetics, metabolism or  environment.

Lowering Tolerance: Tolerance is not something to aspire to. Research shows that tolerance decreases the “euphoric” effects of alcohol and increases the effects of a hangover.

Steps to reduce the risk of developing a tolerance:

  1. Set a drink limit
  2. Pace yourself
  3. Limit the number of drinks per week

Think Estimating Your Blood Alcohol Content

Factors that affect BAC level:

  • Weight
  • Body Fat
  • Gender
  • Metabolism

The average person will eliminate one standard drink per hour. On average, one standard drink will raise a man’s BAC by 0.017 and a woman’s BAC by 0.020.

To estimate your BAC:

  1. Take the number of drinks consumed and subtract the number or hours you have been drinking
  2. Multiply that number by either .02 (men) or .017 (women)
    1. EXAMPLE: 6 standard drinks in 4 hours would be:
      1. i.     For a 170 lb man: (6 drinks- 4 hours) x .017= .034
      2. ii.     For a 130 lb woman: (6 drinks- 4 hours) x .02= .04

There are multiple apps to download on a phone to estimate BAC and assist with responsible drinking.

Think Risk Indicators

High Risk Groups

  1. People with family history of alcohol problems
  2. Males with fathers who are alcoholics
  3. Persons with diseases of the nervous or digestive systems
  4. Diabetics or heart patients
  5. People with unusual sensitivity to alcohol
  6. Pregnant women

High Risk Situations

  1. Combining alcohol with work and recreational activities
  2. Combining alcohol with medication
  3. Drinking while driving, boating, swimming or hunting
  4. Drinking in intimate or possibly intimate situations
  5. Drinking when an important decision needs to be made
by kempenk — last modified May 08, 2015 08:30 AM