Women, Men & Alcohol Effects of BAC Calculate Your BAC Alcohol Emergencies
Safe Party Tips Sipping Skills & Low-Risk Drinking  Signs of Problem Drinking Alcohol & Academics
 VA Law      W&L Policy Campus Resources Links

Women, Men, and Alcohol
There are a number of biological differences between the way that women and men process alcohol. These differences contribute to a higher blood alcohol level in women, which may increase the risk of negative consequences.

  Women have less body water in which to dilute the alcohol consumed, so a woman’s blood alcohol level (BAC) will be higher than a man’s BAC even if they weigh the same.

  Women have smaller quantities of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol in the stomach. A woman will absorb about 30% more alcohol into her bloodstream than a man of the same weight who has consumed an equal amount, which results in greater intoxication for the woman.

  The weight of a person greatly affects the  distribution of alcohol in the bloodstream; the smaller the person, the less room for  alcohol to distribute itself. This means that  the blood alcohol level of a small person will be higher than that of a larger person.

Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration
.02%    Light-headed
.05%    Warm and Relaxed
.08%    Judgment Impaired, Legally Drunk
.10%    Lack of Coordination and Balance
.15%    Possible Blackout (Memory Loss)
.20%    Vomiting
.25%    Emotionally and Physically Numb
.30%    Drunken Stupor
.40%    Coma


 Get the facts  The Blood alcohol Educator

Click here to Calculate Your Own BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration


If You Suspect Alcohol Poisoning:

1) Wake the person up. Call his or her name; shake; pinch skin. If the person doesn't respond, get help!

2) Turn and keep the person on his or her side to prevent choking on vomit.


4) Check the person's breathing. If it is irregular or too slow (less than 8 breaths per minute or more than 10 seconds between breaths), get help!

5) If you discover any one of the above symptoms, stay with the person and call 911. It is important to get help immediately.  IF IN DOUBT, CALL THE STUDENT HEALTH CENTER 24/7 AT 458-4501.

Caring for Someone Who Is Intoxicated:

Stay With The Person---They may be drunker than they appear and can become unconscious or fall out of bed.

Lie The Person On Their Side---Reduces risk of choking on vomit.

Give Water To Drink---If awake and not vomiting.

Only Time Will Sober Them Up---Do not give them coffee, ibuprofen, aspirin or put them in a cold shower.

The Student Health Center offers confidential care 24/7.  If in doubt call 458-8401.

Remember...Alcohol Overdose can be fatal.


Safe Party Tips

W&L Brochure---Having a Party?  Safe Choices Take Planning

Party Without Regrets

  • Go out in groups and make a plan about getting home
  • Decide the number of drinks you will have prior to drinking-stick to it-count number of drinks-spread them out over the evening!
  • Space drinks to one or less per hour
  • Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks & drink plenty of water
  • Agree before you go out who will be the sober driver
  • Watch your friends-if you came together and want to leave make sure they have a plan to get home safely
  • Avoid drinking games
  • Always eat before and during alcohol consumption
  • Women are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol
  • Pour your own drinks-don't share with others or set your down
  • Just because someone is in your class doesn't mean you know them as well as you think you may-think about the situation... make clear decisions...
  • Have a designated driver. Never drink and drive. Never ride with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. Use Traveller or a Sober Driver at a fraternity party.
  • Say "No Thanks," if you don't want to continue drinking or just hold a cup with a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Participate in activities like dancing, talking, and eating to take  the focus off alcohol

How to "Throw" a Party and Treat Your Guests to a Safe Time

  • Get your noise permit and be able to socialize until midnight vs. 11pm---remember to keep the noise level down
  • Collect keys at  the door
  • You, as the host, are responsible for keeping your guests safe. You may be liable if anyone is injured.
  • Do not allow an intoxicated person to continue to consume alcoholic beverages
  • Serve plenty of high-protein, non-salty food like cheese and meat---these foods stay in the stomach longer, slowing down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages
  • Stop serving alcohol about 1 hour before the party is over
  • Have impaired friends spend the night or find your guests rides. Use Traveller or sober drivers.
  • Stay sober yourself. You might have to deal with an emergency.


Sipping Skills

Sometimes people consume more alcohol than they intend to because they are not familiar with some simple moderation techniques. There are many ways to slow consumption and absorption of alcohol. Some techniques include:
          sip using a can cooler or insulated cup to keep your drink cold
          count your drinks
           take more time for each drink
          avoid drinking contests or games
          avoid trying to keep up with fast drinkers
          pour your drink and do not leave unattended
          ice beverages so they stay fresh
          alternate with non-alcoholic beverages
          mix your own drinks to control a lower alcohol content

Low Risk Drinking Guidelines

0 - not drinking is always an option

1 - one drink per hour

2 - two times per week

3 - three drinks per occasion


Signs of Problem Drinking

Individuals struggling with problem drinking may experience one or more of the following:

  • Tolerance (more is needed to get the same effect).

  • Decreasing academic performance as a result of drinking.

  • Negative social consequences as a result of drinking.

  • Lifestyle changes to accommodate use.

  • Choosing friends based on drinking behavior.

  • Drinking alone.

  • Rationalizing use to friends.

  • Not remembering things one did while intoxicated.

  • Desire to control, or unsuccessful efforts to control excessive drinking.

  • Getting angry when confronted about drinking.

Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence

Neglect of other Activities Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use;
Excessive Use Alcohol is consumed in larger amounts over a longer period than intended;
Impaired control Ongoing, unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol consumption;
Persistence of Use Alcohol consumption is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely caused or exacerbated by alcohol;
Large Amounts of Time Spent in Alcohol Related Activities A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use or recover from the effects of alcohol;
Withdrawal Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking;
Tolerance The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects.


Academics & Alcohol

Some students may think that partying on the weekend has no negative effects on their academics as long as they leave time on Sundays to study.  However, alcohol takes a long time to "clear" the system, and the effects of alcohol on the mind and body can last into the next day. This would make concentrating on a tough project or studying for an exam much more difficult.

For example, if a 120 pound woman has 4 drinks, it will take almost 10 hours for her blood alcohol level to return to zero (meaning no alcohol remains in the blood stream).
If a 180 pound man has 6 drinks, it will take 8 hours for his blood alcohol level to return to zero. Although blood alcohol levels can rise quickly, it takes longer for blood alcohol levels to come down.


State and Local Alcohol Laws

Selective laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The minimum legal age for the PURCHASE, POSSESSION AND CONSUMPTION of alcoholic beverages is 21 years of age.


Law                                      Penalties

MIP---Minor in Possession

Underage Consumption and Possession

Misdemeanor---Loss of drivers license for 1 year AND mandatory minimum $500 fine or 50 hours community service.


Drinking while Driving


Misdemeanor---Fine not to exceed $250


Underage Drinking and Driving

Persons under 21 with a BAC of .02 or more; requires no signs of impaired driving.


Misdemeanor---Fine not to exceed $500 and loss of license for 6 months.  Suspension of drivers license for 1 week.  Attend VASAP educational program.

Drinking and Driving   

.08 presumes intoxication, but can be convicted on a lower BAC.  Also includes specified levels of certain drugs.      

Misdemeanor---Fine not to exceed $2,500 (mandatory minimum of $250) and/or jail for 12 months.  Immediate impounding of car and loss of drivers license for 1 year.  Ignition interlock system may be required for restricted license.


Drinking and Driving

BAC is .15 - .20

Mandatory jail time of 5 days plus above fines and penalties.  Ignition interlock system may be required for restricted license.


Drinking and Driving

BAC is over .20

Mandatory jail time of 10 days plus above fines and penalties.  Ignition interlock system may be required for restricted license.


Driving on a restricted license  with BAC of

.02 or more


Fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or jail time for 12 months, plus three-year license suspension.

Drinking and Driving with a

Passenger 17 years or younger


Misdemeanor---Fines of $500-$1,000.  Mandatory minimum 5 days in jail, beyond penalties for dui.


Implied Consent for BAC Test---Unreasonable refusal to take a BAC test

Loss of drivers license for 12 months



Use of Fake ID to purchase alcoholic beverages*


Misdemeanor---Loss of drivers license for 1 year AND $500 mandatory minimum  fine or 50 hours community service


DIP---Drunk in Public

Misdemeanor---Fine not to exceed $250


Purchase of alcoholic beverages for intoxicated individuals


Purchasing, giving, providing or assisting in providing alcohol to person under age 21


Misdemeanor---Fine not to exceed $2,500 and/or jail up to 12 months

City of Lexington Noise Ordinance (11pm-7am)

If heard from 50 ft of premise

If permit  expires at 12 am

1st visit by police---written warning

2nd visit by police---citation & court                           appearance---Fine + Court costs

* The Executive Committee has found in previous cases the use of a false ID constitutes a violation of the Honor System.

Text Box: Text Box:  
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 Washington and Lee Alcohol Policies

(Plain English Version)

3 Strike System for individuals: Enforced by SJC

This is a Strike:

 • Conviction of an alcohol or drug related violation of the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia

 • Violation of the University residential alcohol/drug policies

  Misconduct that violates University alcohol/drug policies

  Drunkenness, when it results in behavior that endangers self or others

These are the Sanctions:

First Strike: 

  Mandatory education and counseling

  Moderate sanctions

Text Box: T Taking an intoxicated student to the Student Health Center or Emergency Room will NEVER constitute a strike.  They are both safe havens from judicial sanctions.
Parents notified

Second Strike:

  Mandatory education and counseling

  Sanction, up to and including suspension for a full semester

  Parents notified

Third Strike:

  Sanction up to and including dismissal

  Mandatory education and counseling for those not dismissed

  Parents notified

3 Strike System for Greek Organizations: Enforced by IFC/Panhel

This is a Strike:

  Coercive drinking related to group activities

  Violations of IFC/Panhel rules for serving alcohol

  Violations of Dry Rush

  Excess damage to house property

  Coordinating or using fraternity/sorority funds to purchase alcohol – includes group funds and/or slush funds

These are the Sanctions:

First Strike:

  Up to $1,000 fine

  Appropriate Community Service

 • 2 weeks social probation

  Mandatory alcohol education for the group

  Notification of House Corporation and Parents

Second Strike:

  Up to $2,500 fine

  Appropriate Community Service

  12 weeks social probation

  Mandatory alcohol education for the group

  Notification of National Fraternity, House Corporation and Parents

Third Strike:

  Up to and including immediate full year suspension

  SAC will determine terms of the suspension

  Mandatory alcohol education for the group

The SJC May suspend or dismiss a student found to have driven a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs in the city of lexington or rockbridge county.

Click here for the complete text of the University Initiatives on Substance Abuse

Campus Resources:

If you think you have issues with drinking, a concern about a friend or just want information on alcohol and its consumption, contact any of these campus resources. 

Counseling Center  458-8590

  • Christy Barongan, Ph.D.

  • Kirk Luder, M.D.

  • Jennifer Sayre, Ph.D.

  • Peer Counselors--- look for their posters around campus with their names and phone numbers

 Student Health Center  458-8401

  • Jane Horton, M.D.

  • David Copeland, M.D.

Office of Health Promotion  458-4501

  • Jan Kaufman, M.P.H.

  • LIFE Peer Health Educators---educational programming


http://www.niaaa.nih.gov    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism---lots of information plus a special section specifically for college students

http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/  Sponsored by NIAAA---info for students/parents on alcohol.  Recommendations for policies and changing the culture around drinking norms.

http://www.health.org    National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information---posters, pamphlets, info on alcohol and all other drugs

http://www.edc.org/hec/    The Higher Education Center For Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, US Department of Education---Info just for students, lots of LINKS!!!

http://www.factsontap.org/  Facts on Tap---info for adult children of alcoholics, also has pamphlets about drinking at college

http://www.aavirginia-mtview31.org  AA meetings in the Lexington area

http://www.abc.state.va.us  Virginia ABC website---ABC regulations, VA law and enforcement, and educational initiatives from the state of VA

http://www.madd.org    MADD---stats on drunk driving, laws, research and links

http://www.alcoholscreening.org/    Take a test to assess your drinking patterns and receive personalized feedback, lots of Q&A info

http://www.addictionsearch.com/addictionsearch/  Info on addiction, prevention and treatment.  Featured topics of interest to college students.

http://www.friendsdrivesober.org/  Info on impaired driving, tips to keep a friend safe and safe party hosting


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