“Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” Right?
Often, people think of these sayings as fact. However, most are common misconceptions rather than common sense. And some are dangerous because the sayings only touch on part of the truth, leaving out the real dangers.
When students party with the mindset that these myths are true, it poses threats to their health.
“A myth is another name for an old wives’ tale, so it’s how words are spun,” said Theresa Fagouri, a health educator at Peers Understanding Listening Speaking and Educating (P.U.L.S.E). “And they are truths for some people. But do they hold any medical weight, real truth or scientific fact or basis? A lot of times, no, they don’t.”
But how do we know what’s fact or fiction?
In a Mustang News poll, Cal Poly students were asked to identify common alcohol myths that are present in the Cal Poly college community.
‘Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.’
Many believe this saying to be fact; however, it’s a myth.
“There is no scientific basis or facts that either of those carry any more weight,” Fagouri said. “What is true is your liver can process a drink an hour. And that’s 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and an ounce and a half of 80 proof or more liquor — we’ll call it hard alcohol. But the best way not to fall into any of those myths, or need to live any of those false truths, is to just drink — if you choose to drink — the safest way you possibly can.”
In the anonymous survey, the mixing of alcohol with other substances or types of alcohol seemed to be a common trend. Such as “Don’t mix beer with cocktails,” and “Don’t mix alcohol with marijuana unless you want to be sick.”
“Mixing alcohol in my opinion means someone may be binge drinking,” Fagouri said.
Not only do students need to be cautious with mixing drinks, but also be aware of what’s in their drink.
V.I.P. AmeriCorps Member and recent Cal Poly graduate Ryan Vilfer knows mixing drinks is a common occurrence in culture.
“When you’re out and about, make sure you’re keeping yourself safe and others safe by watching your drink at all times. Know what’s in your drink,” Vilfer said. “Jungle Juice is a big one — you don’t know what’s in that at all. So you’re taking a chance by drinking that because you can have no idea the amount of alcohol that’s in that. If you have a drink, don’t leave it unattended.”
Mixing drinking with prescription drugs makes you hallucinate.
While you may not hallucinate, mixing drinks with prescription drugs can pose more serious threats.
“Mixing some prescription drugs with alcohol is actually a deadly combination,” Fagouri said. “Opiates and alcohol can suppress your respiratory system so much that you just stop breathing. There’s an array — a variety of side effects of mixing alcohol with prescription drugs.”
Fagouri would like to stress to Cal Poly students that the mixing of alcohol and prescription drugs is a dangerous combination.
You can sleep off being drunk.
The Mustang News poll shows there are various techniques students use for sobering up. However, some of those methods can be dangerous.
“That’s also something I’d really like to address,” Fagouri said. “Because if you have a friend that you, quote unquote, put to bed and they’ve had a lot to drink — that’s actually very dangerous. You should always stay with someone who you think has had too much to drink. Sleeping is actually when the alcohol can accumulate in your body, and that can become a very dangerous situation.”
“The only thing that helps ‘sober you up’ or eliminates alcohol from your system is time,” Fagouri said.
Water or taking a shower can sober you up.
“Things that might make you feel alert are in no way getting alcohol out of your bloodstream,” Fagouri said. “And that’s why it’s your BAC — your blood alcohol concentration — because it’s in your bloodstream.”
Coffee can sober you up.
This is dangerous, because it makes people think they’re sober when they’re not.
“If you are drinking coffee, it’s going to impair your decision,” Vilfer said. “So you’re going to think you’re more sober when you actually have the same amount of alcohol in your system. And it’s still there — still has the same effect — it’s just giving you the perception that you are sober when you’re actually not. So just recognize that when it comes to sobering up, it does just take time.”
As Vilfer said, there are healthy ways to drink, so it’s important to be cautious and educated on what you hear regarding drinking.
“I think the No. 1 thing as a student is to be aware,” Vilfer said. “Take the precautions you need to keep safe, and keep those around you safe. If you’re drinking, make sure you have someone around you or with you who is sober, can make some clear judgments and decisions and look out for you. But it goes both ways.”