It is helpful to know what a standard drink is before you decide to drink. Use this chart to learn about standard drink sizes. (Image from Carleton University)
(Photo from Carleton University)
The average Queen’s student has 5 or fewer drinks on a night out, meaning that the average Queen's student falls within the lower risk category of alcohol consumption. Higher risk drinking (more than 5 drinks per occasion for men; 4 or more for women) is associated with negative outcomes such as the "missing money syndrome", lower grades at school, unwanted sexual encounters, violence, and trouble with the law. Not to mention the embarrassing moments, and the apologies to your friends the next morning.
The most common (negative) consequences experienced by Queen's students who drink alcohol are:
- 46.9% Regretting something they did or said
- 38.6% Forgetting what they did or said
- 23.9% Physically injured themselves
The most common strategies to ensure safety when drinking used by Queen's students are:
- Staying with their group of friends for the evening 77.9%
- Eating before and while drinking 73.9%
- Using a designated driver 70.4%
- Sticking to one kind of drink 44.2%
Statistics from the 2013 Queen’s University Student Health Survey
To find out more about alcohol on Queen's campus, visit our 2013 Student Health Survey Report from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA).
It is not unusual for alcohol to be present at a party, and social gatherings. However, many people are unaware of the legal responsibility they have when hosting a party or even allowing an event to be held on their property where alcohol is at hand.
If you are going to host a party where alcohol is involved, it is important to know the law first. In Ontario, under the Liquor License Act (LLA), the following are illegal:
- Anyone under the age of 19 possessing or consuming alcohol
- Buying alcohol for anyone under the age of 19
- Presenting a fake ID
- Serving or supplying alcohol to anyone who is or appears to be drunk
- Selling alcohol without a license issued by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
- Being drunk in public and causing a disturbance
- Having open alcohol in a vehicle
As well as knowing the law, it is equally as important to know when you are liable for any alcohol-related injuries. Here are some scenarios where you could and most likely will be held liable:
- You are a Gael hosting a "slosh the frosh" at your house in the University District. One of your frosh has clearly had too much to drink, but in the spirit of the festivities, you continue to provide her with more alcohol. She proceeds to leave the party to head back to res, but on her way home stumbles onto the street in front of a car.
- You have decided to host an end of classes drinking party at your home to celebrate the semester being over. You clean up your home before the party but forget to put up a warning sign that the banister is really loose. After several drinks, your friend informs you he needs to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, the downstairs bathroom is currently occupied so you direct up to the upstairs one. On his way up the stairs, the banister breaks, causing him to slip and fall down half a flight of stairs.
- You are an upper year student living off campus, but your little brother is currently in his first year living in res. He wishes to have a drinking party for his friend’s 19th birthday, but he knows that a party would be really restricted in res. You agree to let him host the party at your house even though you brother is currently underage.
You should also be aware that it is illegal to sell alcohol anywhere in your home including your backyard and patio. It is also illegal to sell or serve alcohol in a public place without a Special Occasion Permit (SOP). If you wish to sell alcohol (and that includes selling the cup), a liquor licence is required. More information about these SOPs can be obtained by calling 1-800-ONT-LCBO or 1-800-668-5226.
Taking Care of Self
(Image from Carleton University)
If you are going out drinking, it’s easy to prevent something unpleasant from occurring. Just ensure you do the following:
- Never leave your drinks unattended
- Make sure you see your drinks being opened or poured
- Choose a buddy that you trust, and watch over each other
- Avoid activities where your (and others’) safety requires you to be alert and focused (eg. boating, driving)
- Don’t trust your own judgment about whether you’re ok to drive; if you’ve been drinking, you are not an accurate judge of your abilities. Play it safe, and if drink, DON’T DRIVE
- Never get a ride with someone who has been drinking, taken any drugs, or is really tired
- Have a cell phone with you so that if you need help, you can call a friend or parent to come pick you up
Taking Care of Others
Although taking care of yourself is important, you also need to make sure you watch out for your friends. Here are some more tips
- Don’t encourage your friends drink more than they want to , or to the point where they lose control
- Don’t encourage or force someone who’s already very intoxicated to drink more alcohol
- Decide ahead of time how much alcohol you intend to have and help each other stick to your limit
- Look out for each other at all times
- Don’t lose a friend to booze; watch for early signs of alcohol poisoning (see alcohol poisoning)
Drinking and Driving
Each year, drinking and driving leads to thousands of deaths and serious injuries.
It is a criminal offense to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. If you are under the age of 22, your BAC must be zero if you are choosing to drive. Punishment can include a combination of jail time, fines, and license suspension.
Tips for Getting Home
If you plan on going out drinking, remember these tips:
- Arrange a designated driver
- Have a friend or relative’s number programmed into your phone that you know can pick you up
- Take a taxi
- Stay overnight
- Take public transit
The Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO (e-CHUG) is an online survey tool that provides accurate and personalized feedback about your individual drinking pattern, including risk patterns. Completing e-CHUG can help you to consider how alcohol fits with your goals for your time at university. Local Kingston and campus resources are also provided.