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Drinking and Driving: Di from CADS gives some guidance
Tuesday, 16 May 2006.
Originally from express article 10 May 2006
By Di from Auckland Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS).
|Drinking and driving... What's in a standard drink...? How much is too much...?|
The Sunday Herald recently reported that a woman was caught driving after drinking 28 standard drinks. What does this mean in real terms?
This equates to:
- 28 x 100ml glasses of wine (12.5% alcohol), or
- 28 x cans of lion red beer (4% alcohol)
- 14 x double nips of spirits (37% alcohol)
- 21 x Ready To Drink premix spirits/RTDs (5% alcohol)
So how much can you drink if you want to drive?
Well of course the no-brainer is that not drinking at all is by far the safest, but if you think you would like just a couple – what do you have to consider?
To drive (if you have full licence and are over 20 years old) your blood alcohol must not exceed 80 milligrams per 100ml blood. So it all depends on how quickly your system can metabolise (neutralise) the alcohol.
There are a few factors that impact on this.
- Sex – if you are a male or female. Yes, men have an enzyme in their stomach (alcohol dehydrogenise) which starts to metabolise the alcohol before it even enters the blood stream. They also tend to be bigger than women and have more blood, so the alcohol is less concentrated in their system.
- Body size (see above) the smaller you are the more concentrated the alcohol.
- General health is definitely a factor in how quickly you metabolise alcohol.
- Age, yes as with everything, things slow down as we get older. (Has anyone seen my glasses?).
- Also if you are under 20 years of age and driving, your blood alcohol level must not exceed 30 milligrams per 100ml of blood, which effectively means you can not drink at all.
- Other medication may interfere with your ability to metabolise alcohol and can have serious consequences.
Presuming you are a healthy young man of standard size – you should metabolise one standard drink per hour.
As you can see this can be a very complex topic, but a good rule of thumb is to only have one standard drink per full hour, if you are over 20 yrs, have a full licence and are intending to drive.
Some other important tips:
- Do eat food before and while you are drinking to delay the absorption of the alcohol
- Do drink water between drinks, this will reduce or even prevent a hang-over
- Don’t drink if you are unwell, taking medication or pregnant
- Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs (especially CNS depressants e.g. GHB)
Remember to avoid adverse health effects, the recommended upper limits from ALAC are: for Men no more than 6 standard drinks on any one drinking occasion and for Women no more than 4 standard drinks.
If you have concerns about your own or someone else's alcohol or other
drug use, or if you'd like more information, contact CADS on 845 1818 or
www.cads.org.nz or if you live outside Auckland contact Alcohol and Drug
Helpline 0800 787 797.
express is NZ's newspaper of gay expression. It contains information on NZ news, Community news & events, World news, Editorial & reader feedback, Health, Travel, Food, Arts/Books, Living, Entertainment & scene, GABA newsletter, and Personals.
For more information, visit their website:www.gayexpress.co.nz