What are drinking games?

Drinking games are contests or challenges during which a maximum amount of alcohol is consumed in a very short time. The practice is also known as binge drinking.

Drinking contests may take place casually, among friends, or be more formally organized by a bar or a club. They can be public or private, with or without spectators.

The games go by various names. Century Club, Quarters, Boat Races and Chug-a-Lug are a few you may have heard about.

The point is that these are all very dangerous “games” that can lead to severe intoxication and alcohol poisoning. The danger begins when your blood alcohol level hits 400 mg per 100 ml of blood (commonly referred to as .40). More than that, and there is a serious risk of coma and even death.

Drinking games = Danger

Many things can happen when you drink too much. The effects become more serious the more you drink, and the risk is extremely high when your blood alcohol level is over 200 mg per 100 ml of blood (.20).

0 to 50 (0 to .05)

Stage

Sobriety: normal behaviour

Effects

  • Little or no significant influence
  • Anxiety and inhibitions may be reduced
50 to 100 (.05 to .10)

Stage

Euphoria: mild intoxication

Effects

  • Euphoria (feeling of well-being and satisfaction)
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Increased talkativeness, sociability and liveliness
  • Progressive decrease in attention, concentration and judgment
  • Coordination impairment begins
100 to 200 (.10 to .20)

Stage

Inebriation: moderate intoxication

Effects

  • Progressive decrease in memory and comprehension
  • Difficulty paying attention and exercising judgment
  • Progressive visual impairment
  • Face pale or flushed
  • Slurred speech
  • Emotional instability
  • Augmentation du temps de réaction
  • Increased reaction time
  • Slower reflexes
  • Poor coordination
200 to 300 (.20 to .30)

Stage

Advanced inebriation: severe intoxication

Effects

  • Spluttering
  • Incoherence
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Marked sensory impairment
  • Alteration in perception of colours, shapes, motion and dimensions
  • Insensitivity to pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Apathy, drowsiness
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Temporary blindness or blackouts
  • Marked decrease in motor coordination
300 to 400 (.30 to .40)

Stage

Stupor: extreme intoxication

Effects

  • Significant decrease in response to stimuli
  • Daze accompanied by numbness (loss of sensitivity and slowed thinking)
  • Very marked decrease in motor coordination
  • Deep sleep
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Hypothermia (reduced body temperature)
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Risk of inhaling vomit
400 to 500 (.40 to .50)

Stage

Coma or death

Effects

  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Marked respiratory depression
  • Coma or death due to respiratory arrest

Source: Ben Amar, Champagne, Vallée, Cyr, Léonard et Charbonneau, Les Psychotropes : pharmacologie 

How to calculate your blood alcohol level?

When it comes to drinking, there’s no point looking to your friends, no matter how nice they are. Everyone responds differently to alcohol, depending on various physical and emotional factors. How quickly you drink, how much you weigh and how much muscle mass you have can also affect how you react. And, unfair as it may seem, alcohol affects women more quickly than men. In terms of impact, an average drink for a woman is equivalent to a drink and a half for a man. So it’s very important to know exactly what your tolerance is.

Calculate your blood-alcohol content

These charts can help you determine what your blood alcohol level is likely to be after drinking. Please remember that these figures are approximate only.

Subtract 15 mg of alcohol per hour from the time you take your first drink, since that’s the rate at which your body eliminates alcohol.