Alcohol

Drug Class:
Sedative hypnotic. It is a depressant drug.
Common Terms:
Booze, ale, beer, liquor (e.g., vodka, whisky, rum), spirits, wine.


Consumption and Standard Dose:
  • Liquid drink
  • A standard drink is defined as 12 oz. (341ml) of beer, 5 oz (142 mil) of wine, 1.5 oz (85ml) liquor.
  • Beer (5% or less alcohol); wine (9-12% alcohol); liquor (40% alcohol).
  • Alcohol affects some people more or less strongly than others, and can affect the same person differently at different times. This can depend on body weight, metabolism, tolerance/experience, food in the stomach and other factors.
The Buzz:
  • Low to moderate amounts can produce feelings of relaxation, lowered inhibitions, and increased sociability.
  • Larger amounts can cause dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, slower reflexes, sleepiness, bad judgment, dehydration and a hangover the next day.
Overdose and other negative effects:
  • Overdoses (usually drinking too much too quickly) can cause loss of motor control, black-outs, temporary coma (passing out), and in extreme cases, death.
  • Highly addictive and tolerance builds quickly.
  • Long term use can damage the liver, brain and other organs resulting in mental and physical problems.
  • Impairs vision and motor coordination. Driving drunk is illegal and endangers yourself and others.
Dangerous Drug Combinations:
  • Be careful when mixing with GHB as this can cause a sudden loss in consciousness.
  • Dangerous to combine with anything else that makes you sleepy including sedative drugs such as opiates (e.g., heroin, morphine, Demerol, Oxy), barbiturates (e.g., Phenobarbital), quaaludes (methaqualone) or valium-like drugs (benzodiazepines).
HIV Medications & Alcohol:
  • Didanosine (ddl, Videx) can increase the risk of pancreatitis. If you take ddl consider not drinking alcohol or drink modestly.
  • Some folks experience needing less alcohol to feel its effects once they start taking anti-retroviral medications.
  • If alcohol makes you throw up within an hour of taking HIV medication, it is recommended to that you take a dose of your meds again.

Sex on Alcohol
  • Can increase arousal in some people, or decrease arousal (depression) in others
  • Can increase feelings of personal attractiveness and sexual confidence
  • Can increase ease of making social connections and propositioning someone for sex
  • Can cause temporary erectile dysfunction
  • Dulls physical sensations making it difficult to climax
  • Can affect ability with decision-making and calculating risk/harm