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UVA Doctors Develop Drinking Guide

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

March 18, 2005

For St. Patrick's Day, UVA students crowded the bars on the Corner, donning green attire and drinking green beer. The morning after, many stayed in bed, feeling a little green due to the night before.

This is because most don't know their limits, said Dr. Jim Turner, Director of UVA's Student Health Center. "The problem is that a lot of students don't understand that you cross a threshold after a few number of drinks where it's no longer pleasurable, but it actually become dangerous."

Turner along with Dr. Jennifer Bauerle performed a study that correlated negative consequences with drinking too much, such as going to the hospital, getting arrested, or skipping class.

To minimize such consequences, they developed a guide, based on gender and body weight, that tells a person how much they can drink and still be safe.

"Not only does it tell you what your blood alcohol level is, but it tells you within the different levels what the effects can be," explained Bauerle.

According to the guide, for a 120-pound female, she has reached her threshold with three drinks in one hour. If she drinks five drinks in one hour, she will feel sick. The threshold is around a .08 blood alcohol content level.

But some students don't think these standards apply to them.

"My boyfriend said it's not really accurate for how he feels after so many drinks," said fourth-year Allie Marshall.

"There are really teeny guys who can out-drink really big guys. So I think it's a good idea to have a standard, but I don't think it's a big deal for a lot of students," commented first-year Mike McCarthy.

But the doctors say they just want students to have a fulfilling college career.

"We're here to keep them safe and healthy as possible, so they are ready to experience all the things the college has to offer," said Bauerle.

The guides can be found on grounds and on the Corner.


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