Essay Cove

Essay Cove

Lab:  Alcohol                        

 

Objective:

To review the negative and positive aspects of alcohol consumption, calculate alcohol consumption by body weight and amount. Understand the digestion of alcohol in the body. Calculate personal alcohol consumption to determine personal consumption for intoxication. 

What kind of substance is alcohol?
Alcohol is classified as a depressant because it slows down the central nervous system, causing a decrease in motor coordination, reaction time and intellectual performance. At high doses, the respiratory system slows down drastically and can cause a coma or death.

It is particularly dangerous to mix alcohol with other depressants, such as GHB, Rohypnol, Ketamine, tranquilizers or sleeping pills. Combining depressants multiplies the effects of both drugs and can lead to memory loss, coma or death.

How does alcohol move through the body?
Once swallowed, a drink enters the stomach and small intestine, where small blood vessels carry it to the bloodstream. Approximately 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and most of the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine.

Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, where enzymes break down the alcohol. Understanding the rate of metabolism is critical to understanding the effects of alcohol. In general, the liver can process one ounce of liquor (or one standard drink) in one hour. If you consume more than this, your system becomes saturated, and the additional alcohol will accumulate in the blood and body tissues until it can be metabolized. This is why pounding shots or playing drinking games can result in high blood alcohol concentrations that last for several hours.

What is "one drink"?
Knowing how to count a standard drink is necessary for calculating blood alcohol concentrations. Too often, people underestimate how much they have had to drink because they aren’t using standard measurements.

Beer 
One drink = one 12-ounce beer. This is normal-strength beer (4% alcohol). Micro-brews and malt liquor have a higher percentage of alcohol (look at the label). 

Liquor
One drink = 1.5 ounces of liquor (40% alcohol or 80 proof). This is how much whiskey, vodka, gin, etc. is in a measured mixed drink or in a "shot."

REMEMBER: mixed drinks may not be measured and often contain far more than 1.5 ounces of alcohol. Drinks with a higher proof (like grain alcohol, Everclear®, or 151 proof rum) should also be treated with caution.

Wine
One drink = 5 ounces of standard wine — this is most table wines: white, red, rosé, champagne. 

One drink = 3 ounces of fortified wine — this is wine with more than 13% alcohol content, such as brandy, cognac or sherry

Knowing your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC
Understanding BAC is key to understanding how alcohol affects your body and the serious danger zones of alcohol ofpoisoning. BAC measures the ratio of alcohol in the blood. So, a BAC of .10 means one part alcohol for every 1000 parts of blood.

To calculate your BAC, select the appropriate chart–for males or for females–then find the row with your approximate weight. Then select the number of drinks consumed. This BAC figure would result if the total number of drinks were consumed in one hour. The Time Factor table can be used to calculate BAC over more than one hour. 

For Males

Body weight (lbs.)

1 drink 

2 drinks 

3 drinks 

4 drinks 

5 drinks 

6 drinks 

7 drinks 

8 drinks 

9 drinks 

10 drinks 

100

.043

.087

.130

.174

.217

.261

.304

.348

.391

.435

125

.034

.069

.103

.139

.173

.209

.242

.278

.312

.346

150

.029

.058

.087

.116

.145

.174

.203

.232

.261

.290

175

.025

.050

.075

.100

.125

.150

.175

.200

.225

.250

200

.022

.043

.065

.087

.108

.130

.152

.174

.195

.217

225

.019

.039

.058

.078

.097

.117

.136

.156

.175

.198

250

.017

.035

.052

.070

.087

.105

.122

.139

.156

.173

 

For Females

Body weight (lbs)

1 drink 

2 drinks 

3 drinks 

4 drinks 

5 drinks 

6 drinks 

7 drinks 

8 drinks

9 drinks 

10 drinks 

100

.050

.101

.152

.203

.254

.305

.355

.406

.456

.507

125

.040

.080

.120

.162

.202

.244

.282

.324

.364

.404

150

.034

.068

.101.

135.

169

.203

.237

.271

.304

.338

175

.029

.058

.087

.117

.146

.175

.204

.233

.262

.292

200

.026

.050

.078

.101

.126

.152

.177

.203

.227

.253

225

.022

.045

.068

.091

.113

.136

.159

.182

.207

.227

250

.020

.041

.061

.082

.010

.122

.142

.162

.182

.202

The Time Factor

Hours since first drink

Subtract this from BAC

1

.015

2

.030

3

.045

4

.060

5

.075

6

.090

Source: Evans, Glen and Robert O’Brien (1991) The Encyclopedia of Alcoholism. 

Effects of blood alcohol content on thinking, feeling and behavior: 
Now that you know how to calculate BAC, see how alcohol affects your body at different levels.

0.02 – 0.03 Few obvious effects; slight intensification of mood. 

0.05 – 0.06 Feeling of warmth, relaxation, mild sedation; exaggeration of emotion and behavior; slight decrease in reaction time and in fine-muscle coordination; impaired judgment about continued drinking.

0.07 – 0.09 More noticeable speech impairment and disturbance of balance; impaired motor coordination, hearing and vision; feeling of elation or depression; increased confidence; may not recognize impairment.

0.08 Legal definition of intoxication.

0.11 – 0.12 Coordination and balance becoming difficult; distinct impairment of mental faculties and judgment. 

0.14 – 0.15 Major impairment of mental and physical control; slurred speech, blurred vision and lack of motor skills; needs medical evaluation.

0.20 Loss of motor control; must have assistance moving about; mental confusion; needs medical assistance.

0.30 Severe intoxication; minimum conscious control of mind and body; needs hospitalization.

0.30 – 0.60 This level of alcohol has been measured in people who have died of alcohol intoxication.

0.40 Unconsciousness; coma; needs hospitalization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcohol Lab Activity

1. Weigh yourself or make up a person’s body weight.

 

2. Calculate your BAC under the following circumstances
a. 1 drink in one hour
b. 2 drinks in one hour
c. 3 drinks in one hour
d. 4 drinks in 2 hours
e. 6 drinks in 3 hours

 

3.  How many drinks does it take for you to drink in 4 hours of partying to have a BAC of less than .08?

 

Show your work here:


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