Ways to Reduce Risks

Excessive drinking is linked to many health and behavioral problems. (To learn more, see  Alcohol and Your Health.) Anyone can take steps to reduce these risks.

  • Keep track of how much you drink. Know what a standard drink size is to accurately count your drinks. (See Alcohol Basics.)
  • Do not consume more than one standard-size drink each hour. Alternate between an alcoholic beverage, water, and food.
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach. Eat foods high in protein and healthy fat before, while, and after you drink.
  • Do not rely on alcohol to make a social situation more comfortable or fun or to deal with stress. Participate in healthy activities that don’t include drinking alcohol.
  • Be aware of urges to drink. Do not use having a good or bad day as an excuse for drinking excessively.
  • Say “no” when offered a drink when you don’t want one and stick with your decision. A reason is not needed but be prepared if you are more comfortable having one.
  • Be responsible for yourself and those around you. Never provide alcohol to those younger than 21 years old.
  • Never drink and drive, and don’t let others, either. Always have a plan to get home safely.
  • Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs. Both legal and illegal drugs may have dangerous interactions with alcohol. (See Alcohol and Health.)
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy. It is safer not to drink any alcohol while pregnant since it can harm the baby’s health


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