Standard Servings and BAC

How is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measured?

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is a measure of alcohol in the blood as a percentage. It is calculated in grams per 100 mL of blood, so a BAC of 0.08 means your blood is 0.08% alcohol by volume.

What Symptoms Occur at Different BAC Levels? 

The following are typical effects associated with increases in blood alcohol content. Because of the effects of tolerance, some individuals will not experience feelings of relaxation or euphoria until reaching a higher than typical BAC. However, physical and visual impairments do not improve with increased tolerance. 

Symptoms and Possible Effects of BAC

.02% to .04% | Lightheaded - Mildly relaxed, mood may be mildly intensified

.05% to .07% | Buzzed - Feel warm and relaxed, good moods are better and bad moods are worse, euphoria, may talk louder/act bolder than usual

.08% to .10% | Legally Impaired - May slur speech, balance/motor skills become impaired, sight/hearing ability clearly diminished, judgment/self-control impaired, may take poor/risky sexual choices.

.11% to .15% | Drunk - "High," balance very impaired, judgment, memory and motor skills impaired, may forget how many drinks you have had past this point, men may have trouble functioning sexually.

.16% to .19% | Very Drunk - Euphoria may give way to unpleasant feelings (depression), difficulty talking/walking/standing, sharp increase in chances of physically injuring yourself or others, may experience a blackout at this level or higher, nausea, dizzy, blurred vision.

.20% | Confusion and Disorientation - May need help to stand or walk; if you hurt yourself, you probably won't realize it because the alcohol has numbed your pain and your judgment is so impaired you might not do anything about it; nausea and vomiting common, getting very dangerous because gag reflex is impaired, so you could choke if you do throw up (especially if you black out).

.35% | Equivalent to general anesthesia, breathing may stop.

.40% | Coma likely, breathing and heartbeat slowed to dangerous levels due to slowdown in nerve activity.

Standard Servings - What Counts as One Drink?

A standard serving of alcohol, or "one drink" contains 14 grams (0.5 oz) of pure alcohol.

The amount of alcohol in the drink is more important than the volume of liquid. Different types of drinks contain different concentrations of alcohol. You might see the concentration of alcohol in the drink expressed as a percent (e.g. 40% alcohol by volume), or as a proof. Proof is simply the percentage multiplied x2, so a drink with 40% alcohol by volume is 80 proof. 

Light Beer Regular Beer Micro Brew White Wine Red Wine 80 Proof
4.20% AbV 5.00% AbV 6.70% AbV 12.0% AbV 15.0% AbV 40.0% AbV
1 drink = 14 oz 1 drink = 12 oz 1 drink = 9 oz 1 drink = 5 oz 1 drink = 4 oz 1 drink = 1.5 oz
1 bottle = 0.85 drinks 1 bottle = 1 drink 1 bottle = 1.33 drinks 1 glass = 1 drink 1 glass = 1 drink 1 shot = 1 drink

When a Serving Can't be Measured

Have you ever heard of Jungle Juice? The term “Jungle Juice” can be used for various things, however, in this context it is referring to a concoction (made in a bathtub, ice cooler, garbage can, or other type of large container) that contains large amounts of alcohol and can mixed with other liquids like juices, punches, pop/soda, and fruit (one of the reasons it is referred to as “Jungle”). Because “Jungle Juice” often has several types of alcohol (often alcohols with higher proofs such as Everclear) and is mixed with other liquids, there is no way to know the actual alcohol content of each cup of juice a student is drinking. When students consume this, they can easily drink a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, which can result in rapidly rising blood alcohol levels and put them at risk for alcohol poisoning.

Another concoction drink, a borg, or “blackout rage gallon”, typically contains a fifth of vodka, water, and liquid flavor enhancer. Borg drinking is popular among some college students, but consumption of the high amounts of alcohol often found in borgs can cause harmful health effects, similar to those resulting from heavy alcohol use or binge drinking. ​Mixing energy drinks and alcohol can cause heart failure.  

Important Facts to Remember with Unknown Alcohol Drink Mixtures

  • We don’t know what is in the concoction
  • There is no way to calculate how many drinks a person has had. Since “Jungle Juice” or "Borgs" contain a mix of a lot of liquids, there is no standardization.
  • If you or a friend experienced alcohol poisoning or another medical emergency, what would you tell EMS? You have no idea how much you or your friend has had to drink or what was in you or your friend’s drink.
  • “Jungle Juice” is often made in a bathtub, garbage can, etc. How clean do you think the container is?
  • Having an increased blood alcohol level puts a person at increased risk for driving under the influence, assault, sexual violence, alcohol poisoning, and other medical emergencies.
  • People often assume that “Jungle Juice” or "Borgs" have far less alcohol than it really does and therefore drink way too much.
  • Students who identify as women can be particularly vulnerable when “Jungle Juice” is involved.
  • Be cautious in settings where large quantities of free or low-cost alcohol are available
  • Use the “buddy system” to watch out for each other
  • Amnesty is a policy at BGSU that allows you to not be charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct if you obtain medical assistance for yourself or someone else who has over-consumed alcohol or is experiencing a drug overdose.

Learn About BGSU's Amnesty Policy  

Updated: 03/23/2023 10:44AM