Thanks to my friend Rick for sending this my way. In an editorial in the student newspaper for Temple University, the Temple News Online, student commentator Cary Carr writes about sudents getting drunk in a piece she called When Your BAC Exceeds .31 and the Label Reads Natty Ice, Trouble Brews. It’s mostly an anecdotal essay about student drinking and how kids should be more responsible and watch their intake. It’s all well and good, and there’s nothing I take issue with, but there’s just something that leaps out at you in the middle of it.
After all, there does tend to be a hierarchy to drunkenness, ranging from a happy tipsy to an invincible and shameless drunk to the stage we’ve all witnessed or experienced: how-are-you-even-alive drunk.
Of course there are more technical levels of intoxication, which Dr. Jeremy Frank, a psychologist from Tuttleman’s Counseling Services, explained.
“The best way to categorize stages of drunk is with Blood Alcohol Concentration,” Frank said. BAC is the ratio of alcohol to blood in the body. “Drunk is from .11 to .15. Very drunk is usually between .16 and .19. Once you get to .25 to .30 you generally are in a stupor, and from .31 and up would be the beginning of a coma.”
Hmm, according to the field of psychology, drunk is “from .11 to .15,” or above the 0.08% that MADD and other groups rammed down our throats in the early 1980s, when the standard was 0.10%, very much in line with Frank’s definition. Interesting. I wonder how other fields define being drunk?