University of Southern Indiana
Know the Facts: Alcohol

What's in a drink? 
One standard drink is an alcoholic drink that has 1/2 ounce of pure alcohol. One standard drink is:

  • One 12 ounce beer (a standard can or bottle)
  • 4-5 ounces of wine
  • 1 1/2 ounces of 80-proof liquor

What's your BAC? 
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is a measurement of how much alcohol is in your blood. Everyone's BAC is slightly different, even if they have the same amount to drink. Many things impact your BAC:

  • How much you drink. Obviously, the more drinks you have, the higher your BAC is going to be.
  • How fast you drink. It's not just the quantity, but the time period. Your body can process approximately 1 drink per hour. Having several drinks in a short time will raise your BAC to a high level.
  • How much you weigh. A higher body weight means a lower BAC. There is more blood volume to dilute the alcohol you consume. This doesn't mean you get to drink more!
  • Your gender. Women's bodies simply can't process alcohol at the same rate as men's. This is due to several factors including body fat percentage, differences in hormones, and the fact that women have less of the stomach enzyme that breaks down alcohol.
  • The amount of food you consume. Having food in your stomach means that alcohol will be absorbed more slowly, reducing your BAC.

If your BAC gets too high, alcohol poisoning is a serious issue. Learn the symptoms and what you should do if this happens to a friend.

Check out possible BAC ranges for someone of your weight and gender, depending on how much you've had to drink. 

In the state of Indiana, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, or 0.02 or higher if you are under age 21.


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