Free, Confidential Consultation

Concerned about your own or someone else's substance use? Schedule a consultation with Caroline Eichmann at the Counseling Center (781) 736-3730.


If you have a life threatening emergency, call Brandeis University Police at 781-736-3333.

Psychological Counseling Center

To reach the Brandeis Counseling Center, call (781) 736-3730 or visit the Brandeis Counseling Center website.


Photo of Brandeis Springfest

It's A Personal Decision.

Making a decision about whether or not to use alcohol is PERSONAL. It is your right and responsibility to make decisions for yourself. How often and how much you drink is your choice. Your best bet is to make informed choices and understand the consequences of your behavior. We've assembled some guidelines to assist you in making these choices.

Brandeis Norms

75% of Brandeis students drink 0-5 drinks when they party and 20% of Brandeis students identify themselves as non-drinkers.

What is The Right Amount For Me? 

One of the keys to a positive experience with alcohol is dosage.   Like any other drug, you want to feel the optimal effect with the least amount.

Typically, keeping your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) as close to .06 as possible means that you will experience the positives you want out of drinking such as euphoria, relaxation, and a nice buzz. When you keep your BAC around .06, it is unlikely that you will experience the negative effects of alcohol, such as poor judgment, memory loss, blacking out, or impaired movements.

Below you will find tips for minding your BAC.

How Do I Know The Right Amount For Me Personally?

Calculate your BAC using the  BAC CALCULATOR and make sure that your BAC remains below .06. BAC varies from person to person because it is based on your weight and biological sex.

See Lauren Grover for a personalized BAC Card to keep with you when drinking.

What Affects BAC?

  • Size:  Smaller people are generally affected more quickly than larger people.
  • Biological Sex:  Women are generally smaller and tend to have more body fat than men so their BAC tends to rise more quickly than that of a male.  Hormones and digestive enzymes play a role as well.
  • Food: A full stomach slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
  • Strength of Drink: Drinks can have different effects based on their composition.  Drinks that are straight up hit the bloodstream faster than drinks that are diluted by water. Sodas and carbonated mixers can actually speed up the absorption rate.
  • Rate of Consumption:  Gulping or chugging will increase the amount of alcohol taken into the system.
  • Mood:  Someone who is depressed or emotionally or physically stressed will be affected more quickly by alcohol.
  • Drug Use:  Legal or illegal drugs can speed up the effects of alcohol and have an unpredictable outcome. Even some over the counter medications can do this, so you should always check with a doctor or pharmacist before mixing.

Keep Track and Measure

What is one drink?

12 oz. beer

 5 oz. wine

1.5 oz. of 80 proof liquor

*Remember that some mixed drinks contain more than one serving of liquor.  A Long Island Iced Tea = 4-5 drinks

  • Your body can only metabolize 1 drink per hour.  The red plastic cups you use at parties are 18 oz if name brand and 16 oz. if generic brand.  A good rule of thumb is to fill your cup 3/4 full.
  • The brand name red cups a line at the bottom rim - this is where one shot of liquor (1.5 oz) is.  Again rule of thumb - pour hard liquor no higher than bottom rim and then add your mixer or juice.
  • A pint of beer (usual glass size at a bar) is 16 oz…that is 1 + 1/3 beers.
  • Typically speaking, Vodka has 40% alcohol by volume or 80 Proof; Gin is 85 Proof, Rum and Tequila are 90 Proof and Whiskey is 100 proof…keep this in mind when pouring!
  • There are 39 shots in a handle of 80 proof liquor.
  • There are 17 shots in a Fifth (or standard) bottle of 80 proof liquor and 11 shots in a pint.

Low Risk Behaviors

  • Think about whether you will drink, and what you will drink before the party
  • Space and pace your drinking to about one per hour (that’s all your body can metabolize!)
  • Always know WHAT you are drinking
  • Measure and Count: Set a limit before you start and stick to it!
  • Alternate between non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
  • Eat a full meal before drinking to slow down the absorption rate
  • Pour your own drinks and know what a standard drink is.  Count accordingly!
  • Stop drinking if you feel dizzy, nauseous, or tired
  • Plan how to get home safely....Use a designated driver, walk, or bring cab fare
  • Stay SAFE:  Establish a buddy system
  • Don’t accept opened drink containers from anyone you do not know well or trust
  • Be your own person- don't get caught up in peer pressure
  • If you are in the mood to hang out with friends but don’t want to drink remember that your true friends will respect and support your decision not to drink
  • Only abstaining can prevent you from experiencing the negative consequences of alcohol misuse.  However, if you choose to drink, you will have many more memories of your years at Brandeis University if you drink responsibly!
What to Avoid — High Risk Behaviors
  • Chugging, drinking games, shots, using punch bowls, luges, or funnels
  • Drinking to get drunk
  • Driving after drinking or riding with others who may have been drinking or using drugs
  • Drinking too much too fast (pre-gaming)
  • Not knowing what is in your glass or leaving it unattended
  • Mixing alcohol with other drugs
  • Using soda as a mixer; Carbonation speeds up absorption of alcohol and you can get too intoxicated too quickly
  • Never mix Tylenol  (acetaminophen) and alcohol - it can cause liver damage

What Is Tolerance?
Most heavy drinking students show some degree of tolerance to alcohol. That is, they require more alcohol (specifically a higher BAC) to get the same effect.  Many students perceive tolerance as beneficial, since they believe they will remain more in control of their actions at high BAC’s.

Tolerance can be a liability, however.  Not only is it financially expensive. It can also cause organ strain and can increase the likelihood of developing long term health problems due to high levels of toxins in the body for extended periods of time.

Can I Lower My Tolerance?

Fortunately, alcohol tolerance is reversible – it can be reversed quickly with brief periods of abstinence or reduced consumption.  A common strategy for reducing tolerance is for a student to set a safer BAC <.06 for a time period (i.e. 2 months) in which not to exceed this limit.

Generally, students who actively undertake this project find that drinking less alcohol has some real advantages, including feeling less hung over, less “regrets” over drunken behaviors, and having more money for other activities

The Hangover
Some symptoms of a "hangover" are a headache, feeling thirsty, due to dehydration and increased urination when drinking, experiencing nausea or vomiting, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, impaired attention and concentration, and a disrupted sleep cycle.  Alcohol is a diuretic and it interrupts normal sleep patterns.
Even just a a couple of drinks before sleep can interrupt to deep rejuvenating part of the sleep cycle and can exacerbate an underlying sleep disorder.
What are Blackouts?
Blackouts are periods of memory loss usually brought on by drinking to much too fast.  One may not remember a few minutes of the night, a conversation, or the entire evening. Entire events like driving or having sex may be forgotten!  This is not a loss of consciousness or passing out.
Blackouts are caused by high levels of alcohol in the body that prevent the brain from forming memories. A blackout may not be apparent to others and the person may engage in conversation and activities as if being mentally present. However, the information may not be recalled later on.
The reality is that, we are all responsible for our actions, whether we remember them or not.

Brandeis Rights and Responsibilities
(21 and over)
Both Massachusetts state law and Brandeis community standards of behavior require individuals to be 21 years old before they may drink or serve alcohol.
The policies are outlined in Brandeis University Rights and Responsibilities.

Alcohol Emergencies
Find out warning signs and what to do.