All About Alcohol

Drug Class

Sedative hypnotic. Depressant.

Common Terms

Booze, drink/s, ale, beer, liquor (e.g., vodka, whisky, rum), spirits, wine.

Consumption and Standard Dose
  • Standard drink is defined as 12 oz. (341ml) of beer, 5 oz (142 ml) of wine, 1.5 oz (85 ml) liquor
  • Beer is usually 5% or less alcohol; wine is 9-12% alcohol; liquor is usually 40% alcohol.
  • Alcohol affects some people more than others, and can affect the same person differently at different times. This depends on body weight, metabolism, tolerance, food in the stomach and other factors.
  • Alcohol can also be booty bumped: absorbed through the rectum by enema

The Buzz
  • Low to moderate amounts produce feelings of relaxation and increases social confidence
  • Decreases social anxiety, inhibitions and increases affection
  • Numbs physical pain
  • Larger amounts can cause slower reflexes and reaction time, slurred speech and sleepiness

Overdose and other negative effects
  • Overdoses – drinking too much too quickly – can cause loss of motor control, blackouts, temporary coma (passing out), vomiting, and in extreme cases, death.
  • Can increase anxiety, depression and aggressiveness
  • Dehydration, dizziness, nausea, and a hangover the next day.
  • Alcohol is highly addictive and tolerance builds quickly.
  • Long term use can damage the liver, brain and other organs resulting in mental and physical problems.
  • Impairs vision and motor coordination. Driving drunk is dangerous to others and yourself, and is illegal.

Dangerous Drug Combinations
  • Mixing with GHB, GBL and Ketamine can cause a sudden loss in consciousness and vomiting. G-related overdoses often involve alcohol.
  • It is dangerous to mix with anything else that makes you sleepy including sedative drugs such as opiates (e.g., heroin, morphine, Demerol, Oxy), barbiturates (e.g., Phenobarbital), quaaludes (methaqualone) or valium-like drugs (benzodiazepines).
  • Mixing alcohol with opiates increases the amount of opiates in your system to dangerous levels, suppressing breathing.
  • Mixing alcohol with opiates can harm your kidneys and liver.
  • Mixing with MDMA can deaden the effects of MDMA, and cause your body to dehydrate faster.
  • Mixing with cocaine increases the effects of cocaine, both positive and negative.

Sex on Alcohol
  • Can increase arousal in some people, or decrease arousal in others
  • Can increase feelings of personal attractiveness, sexual confidence and experimentation
  • Can increase ease of making social connections and propositioning someone for sex
  • Can cause temporary erectile dysfunction due to numbing effects
  • Dulls physical sensations making it difficult to climax
  • Can decrease clarity of decision-making and ability to accurately calculate risks and harm
  • Can cause mood shifts, leading to disagreements, arguments and outbursts

HIV Medications & Alcohol
  • Didanosine (ddl, Videx) can increase the risk of pancreatitis. If you take ddl, consider not drinking alcohol or drink modestly.
  • Some folks experience needing less alcohol to feel its effects once they start taking HIV medications.
  • If alcohol makes you throw up within an hour of taking HIV medication, it is recommended to that you take a dose of your meds again as soon as you are able to keep them down