Zane Douglass, former President of the Council of Lionhearts, has a simple message to add to the 2014 Take the Lead campaign: if you choose to drink, be smart about it. This means using various strategies to take care of yourself and your friends. Let’s break down Zane’s advice point by point:
Eat beforehand: Eating a full meal before drinking is an effective way to slow your body’s absorption of alcohol. When you have food in your stomach, the digestion process slows down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. It’s important to eat before and/or during drinking—eating after the fact won’t have any effect on blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Drink plenty of water: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes your body to lose water via increased urine production. Drinking water helps replenish lost fluids and prevents dehydration. Alternating alcoholic beverages with water or other non-alcoholic beverages is also an excellent strategy for pacing yourself and keeping your BAC low.
Stay with a group of friends you know will look out for you: It’s important to go out with friends that you know well and trust. Use the buddy system to check in on each other, hold each other accountable to drink limits, and make sure everyone gets home safely. And if a friend needs help for alcohol poisoning, one of you can call 911.