Staying Smart Over Spring Break

Published on Mar 18, 2014

Finally, a bit of relaxation for you this semester. Spring break is on the way! But don’t go buck wild just yet; we have a few tips to make your spring break safe! 

Let’s face it, you’re young and you’re more inclined to take risks. And we just want you to be as educated as possible so that your actions have favorable consequences.

We spoke with Lee Cravens, a certified alcohol and drug counselor and coordinator of Student Relations at Columbia, to get some important information about alcohol and marijuana use.

Planning on drinking over spring break? Here’s what you need to know:

How much is a drink? Nope, we’re not talking about the price. We’re talking about alcohol percentages! A drink is one glass of wine. A glass of wine has 12 – 14 percent alcohol, while hard liquor (i.e. vodka) has 40 – 50 percent alcohol. Simply put, you’d have to drink a lot less hard liquor to equal a glass of wine. Be mindful!

Alcohol metabolism: Men have more enzymes that break down alcohol. That means they can consume more alcohol and break it down faster. So if you’re a female, you will get drunk faster than a male. It’s not the safest practice to compete with your male friends.

Am I able to drive? In Illinois, .08-blood alcohol content is the legal alcohol limit. This is the same as having one beer, which has 4 – 6 percent alcohol, but can go up to 12 percent. Although, there is no way to tell without a Breathalyzer test. So if you’ve had more than that, you shouldn’t be driving! Arrange travel options such as a taxi or public transportation if you’re going out.

Watch the person preparing your drink! Not everyone goes to bars to have their drinks prepared. And even if you do go to a bar, chances are you don’t know how much alcohol is being added to your drink. So be on the lookout and listen to your body. 

Have a friend with you and don’t go off with strangers. Have a friend close by and talk with your friends about some signals for keeping safe. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a 5-minute conversation, you still don’t know that person; so don’t go with anyone you don’t know.

Marijuana Use: Here’s what you need to know!

It’s illegal in Illinois—except for medical marijuana. It can cause impaired coordination, delayed problem solving and effects memory. Marijuana also increases heart and respiratory rates.

Long-term use can lead memory loss and concentration problems. Also, there’s a correlation between marijuana use and mental illness and those who smoke marijuana have an increased rate of getting a mental illness.

Different types of plants. Not every marijuana plant is the same. “If you were to smoke, there’s no guarantee that the last time you did is going to be the same as [when you do again],” said Cravens.

Is it addictive? A study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse says it is!

Now that you have some basic information about alcohol and marijuana use, you will have a better chance of making smart decisions over spring break! So go have fun and relax! Everyone deserves some down time.