“Excess alcohol consumption is the third-leading preventable cause of death in this country, causing 85,000 deaths a year,” says Gail Bailey-Wallace, Medical Director of the Kyle Goldberg Turning Point Program at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). “To avoid driving home drunk, pace yourself at parties: sip as opposed to guzzling and pair your alcohol with high-protein food, like cheese, to slow absorption.”
Dr. Bailey-Wallace recommends no more than one to two drinks during the night, pointing out that 12 fluid ounces of beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 percent proof spirits all have 14 grams of alcohol.
If you’re hosting a party, you can go the extra mile, and “call your guests beforehand and, depending on your level of friendship, find out their health risks.” Certain medical conditions and mental-health issues may require medications that adversely interact with alcohol, she says.
“Keep the guest list small, so you have better control,” Dr. Bailey-Wallace adds. “Make sure you serve a full meal before alcoholic beverages are served, and serve cheesecake or a hefty, high-protein dessert.” Consider having spritzers, which have more seltzer than alcohol, or encourage guests to make their own creative mocktails. “If someone looks disinhibited, laughs at every silly joke or speaks louder than usual, they should not drive,” Dr. Bailey-Wallace says.
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