Substance Abuse Prevention Program

A standard drink equals one 12-ounce beer, one 6-ounce malt beer/liquor, one 4- to 5-ounce glass of table wine, or 1/2-ounce of 100 proof alcohol.


Upperclassmen are hosting a party. Some freshmen have confided in you they don’t drink and aren’t huge “partiers,” but since it’s their teammates and they want to make a good impression, they are going to go.

You are there and everyone seems to be having a good time until one of the seniors suggests a drinking game. You know the danger of consuming alcohol quickly and are concerned. Teammates start to gather around a table as one of them begins to explain the rules for the drinking game. The freshmen who had confided in you initially decline but others start hassling them. You can see they’re uncomfortable. They look at you. What do you do?


  • For those that drink, what determines how much, or if, you will drink? Do you drink more when you are really happy/excited or sad/upset, or because you think it will make a good time even better?
  • Does your team have rules about alcohol? Do you have rules amongst yourselves during the season? Do you personally make the choice to not drink during the season? Why or why not?
  • Do team rules or codes of conduct curb behavior? What does?
  • For those who drink, do you feel anxiety around those who don’t and vice versa?
  • Discuss the “pull” between choices you sometimes have to make around alcohol?
  • How can drinking games get out of control considering how competitive student-athletes are? What are some things you could do to diminish this?


One drink = 12-ounce beer = 4 ounces of table wine = 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor

Alcohol Use

  • Cancels out gains from your workout
  • Causes dehydration and slows down the body’s ability to heal
  • Prevents muscle recovery
  • Depletes your source of energy
  • Hampers memory, retention and ability to learn new information
    • Drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages can affect brain and body activities for up to 3 days
    • 2 consecutive nights of drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages can affect brain and body activities for up to 5 days
  • Constricts metabolism and endurance
  • Requires increased conditioning to maintain weight
  • Inhibits absorption of nutrients (Firth, G. & Manzo, L. 2004)

Other Considerations

  • A person drinking too much can have second hand effects for others:
    • Study/sleep time disrupted by other students’ alcohol abuse
    • Violence from alcohol related physical and sexual assaults
    • Campus environment negatively affected by vandalism
    • Insults, arguments, and threats instigated by intoxicated students
  • BAC is affected by the pace of drinking, quantity consumed, food in stomach, altitude, fatigue, gender, medications, mood and body mass
  • Binge drinking is particularly unsafe. The normal “buzz” is not felt – it goes straight to extreme symptoms

Considerations for Women

  • Women have different health concerns around the consumption of alcohol than do men. Women should drink less than men (given the same weight) due to a number of factors including:
    • Different rates of metabolism
    • Lower levels of the enzyme dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol in the stomach
    • Higher percentage of body fat and less body water
    • Alcohol absorption rates are affected by changes in estrogen levels related to the menstrual cycle
  • Health problems related to drinking develop more quickly for women than men, including alcoholism
  • Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day increase their risk for breast cancer

Did you know…?

  • Alcohol leaves the system at .015 percent per hour. If your BAC is .20 at 1:00 a.m. it will not return to normal until 3:00 p.m. the next day. Think of how that might affect you for a test, practice or a game.
  • The body treats alcohol as fat!
  • The normal reaction to alcohol is biphasic. The first phase occurs while BAC is low – mild “buzz”. The “point of diminishing returns” (where the effects become negative) happens at or above .06 for non-tolerant drinkers — including fatigue and physical impairment. More is NOT better!
  • Every person’s predisposition to alcoholism/addiction is different.
  • Student-athletes reported that 85% of the time a negative situation from drinking too much could have been avoided if someone had intervened.

Action Steps


  1. Plan ahead – set a limit BEFORE going out.
  2. Encourage them to stop drinking (or take their drink away) when they’ve had enough.
  3. Stay with them to ensure they will be all right.
  4. Remove them from the situation.
  5. Get them to consume non-alcoholic beverages first.
  6. Get them to alternate between non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.
  7. Get them to sip rather than gulp if they are drinking alcohol.
  8. Have them consume food while drinking alcoholic beverages.
  9. Tell them not to drink while taking medication.
  10. Tell them to avoid taking aspirin if they have been drinking. (DO NOT take Tylenol or other Acetaminophen medication for a hangover; liver damage may result!)
  11. Never discuss problematic behavior when the person is under the influence.

Note: Responsible party hosting includes providing non-alcoholic beverages, serving food, limiting focus on drinking by not allowing drinking games or serving alcoholic punches, refraining from pushing alcoholic drinks, and limiting quantity of alcohol available.

Resources: Alcohol

Alcohol Presentation

For an approximately hour long presentation on alcohol, using Step UP! training: Click Here