21 shots, not so smart

By Daina Havens
March 30, 2006

Timothy Hague

Imagine what would happen if you ingested 32 ounces of alcohol in the matter of a few hours. The new college campus trend of drinking your age in shots to celebrate your 21st birthday is basically promoting young adults to down the equivalent of an entire large McDonald’s soft drink, filled to the brim with toxic liquid.

An blood alcohol content conversion chart that I filled out at www.onlineconversion.com/bac.htm, showed that an average person weighing 150 pounds who drinks 32 ounces of liquor at the lowest alcohol percentage will maintain a BAC of .46 within one hour. At this stage of the game, it is very common for an individual to lose all of their common reflexes, such as gagging, and could quite possibly choke on their own vomit and asphyxiate or just stop breathing and die.

At 12:01 a.m., on March 5, I celebrated my 21st birthday. My five closest friends and I gathered around my birthday cake and raised our shot glsses in the air, as the disc jockey at my family-owned bar counted down to that magical moment of becoming legal. When time was up, we all threw back the shot, and I made my birthday wish and blew out the candles.

This would be one of the most memorable nights of my life, and my wish was to remember it. I spent the rest of the evening enjoying the excitement of being a part of a new social realm, and managed to consume only two shots, along with my many Coronas with lime and Miller Lights.

By the end of the evening, I had successfully spent quality time with my friends and family, taken what seems like millions of stupid, but hilarious, drunken pictures, and reached that border line between comfortably drunk and hopelessly wasted, without crossing over.

This was my choice. I chose to be a responsible adult when I was handed an adult privilege. So much tragedy comes from irresponsible drinking, and this new trend is basically suicide in my opinion.

Even when you pass out, your BAC level continues to rise to toxic levels, as the alcohol remaining in your stomach continues to enter your blood stream. This is real. Alcohol is toxic to the human body, and people have died because of this trend.

Brad, a junior at Michigan State University, died on the morning of his 21st birthday on Nov. 4, 1998 due to ethanol poisoning, according to brad21.org, a site which tells Brad’s story. He had taken 24 shots in one-and-a-half hours to out-do his friend’s latest record. When they all left the bar, his buddies wrote 24 on his forehead and put him to bed. His BAC continued to climb to .44 g/100ml after he had passed out, and he stopped breathing at 4:30 a.m., on the morning of his birthday.

I imagine how my mother would feel discovering my lifeless body on the very same day she gave me life just a short 21 years ago. I imagine how my roommate would feel having to finish out the semester sleeping with my empty bed above her every night.

This trend that is sweeping across college campuses has serious consequences. The point of becoming of legal age is to act as an adult while still enjoying your youth.

Forcing your body to accept 21 shots does not support either of my points on becoming an adult. It’s time to grow up.

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

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Daina Havens

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