Alcohol FAQ'S


I drank alcohol. When is it okay to drive?

We recommend that you allow 1-2 hours for each drink to metabolize in your body. Serving sizes matter when it comes to calculating when it is safe to drive again.

It is also important to remember that the legal driving limit in Minnesota is 0.08 for people 21 and older. Not a Drop is the zero tolerance law in MN that states: If you are under 21 and are found driving with any amount of alcohol in your system you can receive a DUI and lose your license for 30-90 days. 

Why can’t I “keep up” with my friends when I drink?

An individual’s tolerance for alcohol is influenced by many factors - biological sex, weight, metabolism, time and content of last meal consumed, the frequency with which someone drinks, and genetic history. The important thing is to recognize what works for you and where your limits are.  

How do my prescribed medications and alcohol interact?

Alcohol may counteract the benefits of your antidepressant or antianxiety medication, meaning you’re not getting the full benefit of your meds. It may also increase the side-effects of your meds. If your antidepressant is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), mixing with alcohol can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure. Other meds create a drowsiness effect which,  when combined with alcohol, can be intensified. To find out about your specific med, check with your doctor or call a pharmacist. Pharmacists can be a great source of confidential info.

I’ve heard people say, “beer before liquor, never been sicker” and “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear”. What does that mean?

Catchy phrases without much physiological backing. Here’s how it goes -, when you drink beer to the point that shots of hard liquor begin to taste good, you are already intoxicated. And the number of those shots can add up since you don’t recognize the impact and they don’t taste so bad, hence you are now sick and far drunker than you wanted to be. If you have been drinking hard liquor and then switch to beer, there is a good likelihood the carbonation in beer will slow down the rate at which you will drink that beer.

What does it mean to blackout?

Blacking out is different than passing out. When someone “blacks out” they are still conscious and may still be engaging in conversation, walking, dancing etc., but they have no memory of it.  Drinking large amounts of alcohol, or drinking rapidly, anesthetizes the part of the brain in charge of short term memory.  Blacking out regularly can lead to long term learning and memory loss in a developing brain (under the age of 24)

What does it mean to pass out?

When someone who has been consuming alcohol passes out, it might appear as though they have fallen asleep. Passing out is a sign of alcohol poisoning and can be life-threatening.. No one falls asleep at a party. One way to check a person’s responsiveness is by giving the person a sternum rub. Make a fist and rub your knuckles on the person’s sternum, which is the bone that runs the length of their chest. This should be mildly painful and elicit a reflex response. If the person does not respond, call 911. 

Another less intrusive way to check responsiveness is by pressing your nail into the nailbed of the other  person’s finger. This should be mildly painful and elicit a reflex response. If the person does not respond, call 911.  This is a medical emergency.

What is alcohol poisoning, and alcohol overdose?

Alcohol poisoning and alcohol overdose refer to the same condition, and it is a medical emergency. By knowing what to look for, you could save a life! If you suspect someone has had too much to drink:

Call 911 immediately if the person is:

  • Unconscious, cannot be woken up or can only be awakened for a short time
  • Exhibits respiratory difficulties, including slow, labored breathing (10 breaths per minute or less is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY).
  • Blue under the fingernails or around the mouth
  • Cold, clammy, and/or bluish skin
  • Vomiting while semi conscious or unconscious

What should I do if I think someone is experiencing alcohol overdose?

Turn the person on their side

Dial 911; get medical help

Stay with the person

What is medical amnesty?

A state statute, medical amnesty, was enacted in August 2013 that provides immunity for underage consumption or possession of alcohol for a person contacting 911 to seek assistance for an incapacitated individual. The person who receives medical assistance will also be immune from prosecution for underage drinking.  The law also extends to 1-2 other individuals assisting on site in the situation.  The law also requires the caller to:  give their full name, stay with the incapacitated individual until help arrives, and cooperate with emergency responders and law enforcement.