Safer Drinking Tips

There are lots of easy things you can do to ensure that alcohol does not impact you, or others, negatively. Following these tips will help ensure clear communication, and meaningful consent.

Before you start drinking alcohol:

Eat something.

Eating food slows down the rate at which alcohol enters your blood stream.


Explicitly think about the factors that might shape your tolerance [hyperlink to above points]

Set your limit.

Determine what a responsible amount of alcohol is before you go out. Don’t try to keep up with other drinkers or let peer-pressure lead you to drink more than you intended.

Identify a check in buddy.

Think about who you can trust to be honest with you about your intoxication level or someone you can talk to about how much you plan on drinking and how you can support each other to stick to that amount.

Make a plan to get home safely.

If you are heading out, make a plan for who will be the designated driver or what would be the safest way to get home

  • Have a back up plan ready for if you or your friend(s) are too intoxicated to drive.

While drinking: 

Pace yourself.

Sip and top up your own drinks and finish one drink before starting another.

Mix things up.

Alternate between alcohol and non-alcohol drinks or water.

Keep your drink with you at all times.

If you do leave your drink unattended or have any doubts about it, make or order a new one.

Keep an eye out for each other.

If you see a friend becoming too drunk, make sure they drink water, eat food, and stop drinking alcohol. Support them in getting home safely.

Playing a drinking game.

Try alternating or playing with non-alcohol drinks or avoid drinking games.

Respect people who don't want to drink.

Never pressure friends to drink or do drugs when they don’t want to.

If you're planning to drink a lot (e.g., playing drinking games or binge drinking):

Drink with a buddy.

At least one friend in a safe place. It may be best to stay home.

Stick to one substance at a time.

Alcohol can magnify the effects of pot and other drugs in unpredictable ways.

Avoid initiating or having sex.

Excessive drinking means you may not be able to pick up on consent cues or you may end up crossing your own or someone else’s boundaries. This could lead to real harm. Remember a lack of intention to cause harm does not mean you are not responsible for the harm you might cause.

Do not drive.

Stay where you are or make plans to get around by bus, taxi, or ride with someone who hasn’t been drinking.

If someone passes out or appears incapacitated:

Try to keep the person awake.

Say their name, keep them talking, shake their shoulders, give them water or food (make sure they are upright).

Ensure the person is either sitting up or lying on their side.

You can try propping the person up with pillows, sweaters or jackets to keep them upright or laying on their side.

This will help ensure they don’t choke if they throw up.

Check for irregular or shallow breathing.

This may be a sign that they have alcohol poisoning (see below) and should be taken to hospital. If in doubt, call 9-1-1.

Check for blue lips or pale skin.

This may be a sign that they have alcohol poisoning (see below) and should be taken to hospital. If in doubt, call 9-1-1.

Do not put a person in a cold shower.

It can cause the person to go into physical shock.

Do not give the person coffee.

It will not sober a person up – the only thing that can sober someone up is TIME.

Alcohol overdose and poisoning is very serious.

If you suspect a person has alcohol poisoning you must get them medical attention. Do not hesitate to call 911 and DO NOT LEAVE THE PERSON ALONE. Blood alcohol levels can continue to rise even after a person has passed out, so check on them often.

Other symptoms associated with alcohol overdose are:

  • Severe confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Blue colour to skin
  • Passing out repeatedly or not waking up
  • Decrease in body temperature
alcohol concentration photo
As blood alcohol concentration increases, so does impairment

Check out Here to Help BC for more tips, information and resources.