Excessive Drinking

Know when to say when

If life were just like a Hollywood movie, university would be a place where people go to drink excessive amounts of alcohol every weekend (and maybe even weekday). But we know the truth is far from Animal House. While social drinking is a part of the university experience for many, not everyone drinks, and most people choose to drink responsibly.

According to Statistics Canada in 2011, only one in three university-aged Nova Scotians reported drinking heavily more than once per month—slightly higher than the national average. For some people this sounds surprisingly low; the true social norms associated with drinking are quite different than the university culture that’s portrayed in media. Despite this, any amount of heavy drinking is unhealthy and at Dalhousie we aim to create a community where heavy drinking is actively discouraged.

Students who drink heavily are impacted in many ways including lower grades, missing classes, falling behind in assignments, sleep disturbances, negative impacts on relationships, and increased contact with the police. (Wechsler & Nelson, 2008)

Women are statistically at a greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence such as sexual assault when drinking heavily. This is worth considering by all genders—at Dalhousie we promote respect and active consent.

Drinking responsibly can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips for sensible drinking:

  • Know your limits
  • Eat food while you drink
  • Sip your drink
  • Accept a drink only when you really want one
  • Skip a drink now and then
  • Cultivate taste—choose quality over quantity
  • Beware of unfamiliar drinks
  • Make sure that drinking improves social relationships rather than impairs them
  • Appoint a designated driver
  • Use alcohol carefully in connection with medications
  • Respect those who don't want to drink
  • Be aware of a standard drink size, as your body can only metabolize one standard drink per hour. Four to five standard drinks per hour for males, and three to four standard drinks per hour for females, constitutes binge drinking.
    (Courtesy Indiana University)

If you have further questions, check out these great resources: