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Guidelines for Low Risk Drinking



Small changes can make a big difference in reducing your chances of having alcohol related problems. Which of these strategies are you willing to try?

  • Pre-Plan. Decide in advance how much you will drink and stick to that amount.
  • Keep track. Keep track of the number, frequency, and amount of drinks you consume.
  • Know your standard drinks. Measure all drinks according to “standard drinks.”
  • Pace drinks. Pace how much you will drink. For example, limit yourself to one drink every hour or so. Be realistic with your pacing goal.
  • Space drinks. Alternate your alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic beverages such as water, tea or soda.
  • Avoid binge drinking. Avoid consuming a large amount of alcohol over a short period of time. This means skipping most drinking games such as “beer pong,” “quarters” and “flip cup.”
  • Eat food. Avoid consuming alcohol on an empty stomach; eat food when you are drinking.
  • Three max. Try to stick to no more than three alcoholic drinks per drinking occasion.
  • Abstain. Abstain from alcohol on occasion.
  • Designated driver. Be the designated driver on occasion.

A designated drive IS NOT the least intoxicated person in a group; a designated driver is a person who does not drink alcohol, in any amount, while responsible for the transportation (e.g., cars and boats!) of others!

  • 0-0-1-3. Follow the 0-0-1-3 rule; Learn about 0-0-1-3.
  • Be assertive. Encourage your friends to slow down or stop if you notice they are drinking too much or too quickly.
  • Safe travel one. Find an alternative means of travel (i.e., taxi, sober friend) if you have been drinking.
  • Safe travel two. Never travel as a passenger in a vehicle with a driver you know has been drinking.

The guidelines above on low-risk drinking do not apply if you:

  • Have health problems such as liver disease or mental illness.
  • Are taking medications such as sedatives, painkillers, sleeping pills, cough and cold medicines or medications for mental illness.
  • Have a personal or family history of drinking problems.
  • Have a family history of cancer or other risk factors for cancer.
  • Are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Will be operating a vehicle such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles or bicycles.
  • Will be doing activities where you are responsible for the safety of others.
  • Will be doing activities involving guns or other weapons (e.g., hunting).
  • Will be doing activities around water such as swimming or scuba diving.
  • Are told not to drink for legal, medical or other reasons.
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