10 tips for responsible drinking on New Year's Eve - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

10 tips for responsible drinking on New Year's Eve

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By Wendy Innes

New Year's Eve is one of the biggest party holidays of the year. It is also a time when thousands of people suffer the adverse affects of irresponsible drinking. Here are the top 10 tips that will allow holiday revelers to tie one on responsibly.

1. Drinking Shouldn't Be The Focus

While everyone loves a good party, the focus of the party should never be drinking, or worse, getting drunk. Parties should focus on celebrating the past year, welcoming the New Year, and spending time with family and friends. By keeping the focus where it should be people can minimize the risk of over consuming alcohol and causing damage to their health, or hurting someone else unintentionally. Here are some ideas for a non-drinking New Year's Eve celebration from IdealHomeGarden.com.

2. Set A Limit

Just like most things, drinking is fine in moderation. It's important for someone to know his or her limit and stick to it. Everyone has a different tolerance to alcohol, so know your own before spending a night out on the town on New Year's Eve. Don't let the New Year's hype and festivities influence you into drinking more than you're used to.

3. Drink Slowly

New Year's Eve is not the time to binge drink. The human liver is only able to process a certain amount of alcohol at a time, and while it will take different amounts to make different people drunk, as long as a person drinks less than what the liver can clear at a time, he or she can reduce the chances of getting drunk. Most people can safely drink one serving of alcohol per hour without becoming drunk. How much is one serving? According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one drink is:

12 ounces of beer with a maximum alcohol content of .5 percent
5 ounces of table wine
1.5 ounces of hard alcohol up to 80 proof

4. Be Sure To Eat

Eating food before drinking or while drinking can slow the effects of alcohol. This doesn't mean that people can drink more with food in their stomachs, only that they are less likely to feel drunk as quickly as someone who did not eat. The reason is that food slows the release of alcohol into the small intestine, where it is absorbed into the body much more quickly than in the stomach. Foods high in protein like meat or cheese, and nutrient dense foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains are best. Try to avoid the greasy and fatty stuff (no matter how good they sound). This will also help the drinker avoid a hangover the next day.

5. Dilute Drinks

Diluting drinks is a tactic that has been used for centuries to keep people from getting drunk. As far back as medieval times, people have been adding water to their alcohol to prevent drunkenness. There are many ways to do this. Something as simple as adding seltzer water to wine and making a wine spritzer can work. Also ordering drinks "tall" is another way to dilute drinks. For instance a "Whiskey and Coke tall" will contain the same amount of whiskey, but more cola to dilute the whiskey.

6. Keep It Happy

Alcohol will magnify a person's mood, so if you are happy while drinking, chances are you will stay that way. If you are depressed or angry, drinking will make these feelings worse. In extreme cases, this can cause people to lash out at others or harm themselves. Drinking is often used as a way to self-medicate bad feelings, and this is absolutely wrong. If you are suffering from these types of feelings, you should talk about them with friends or a professional counselor, not suppress them with drinking.

7. Designate A Driver

This is a no-brainer. Drinking and driving absolutely don't mix. More than 75,000 people are killed each year in alcohol related incidents and accounts for nearly half of all highway fatalities in the country. If someone is going to drink, then a designated driver needs to be appointed before the first drink is poured. If this isn't possible, be sure the bartender or party host has the number to a cab company handy. Also, if the party is at someone's home, the hostess may consider letting those who have had too much to drink spend the night to ensure their safety. There is no excuse to get behind the wheel drunk.

8. Know Who Is Buying

It is a sad fact, but there are people in the world that will try to take advantage of someone who is intoxicated. So when going out, it's important to know who is buying or offering the drinks. Never accept a drink from a stranger; it's impossible to know if something has been put in it. Instead, watch the bartender make the drink and have it handed directly to you. Most bartenders will make the drink in plain sight of the customer. If they don't, they may be in league with the person doing the buying and might slip something into the drink to incapacitate the drinker. If at a private party, kindly refusing is best. Also, it's important that no matter where you are, you always watch your drink carefully because something can be put in it when it is unattended.

9. Avoid Drugs

When drinking, it's important not to mix alcohol with other drugs, whether illegal or prescription. This can lead to dangerous interactions, some of which can be deadly. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs have warnings about mixing with alcohol, and someone should be aware of this before drinking. If you are taking something that contains one of these warnings, you should refrain from drinking.

10. Know What You Are Drinking

Quality over quantity is usually best, and this is also true with alcohol. A better quality wine or a top shelf variety of liquor will be more enjoyable to drink and may possibly leave less of a hangover. Also, it's possible that a person can have allergies to things like wheat, corn or other things that are used in making alcohol, which could cause life threatening reactions.

Drinking in moderation is safe for most people but they should do so responsibly. It's also important to note that it is perfectly acceptable not to drink at all. In fact, many bars will provide free non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers as a way to encourage responsible partying. By drinking safely, everyone will be able to ring in the New Year in a healthy and happy way.

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This article was originally posted on SymptomFind.com

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