Imagine you meet up with some friends for a drink at the bar. You end up staying for a while and you each have the same number of drinks over a couple hours.
Now imagine you all get in your cars to drive home and each of you is stopped by police for suspected drunk driving. Some of you are arrested for DUI, others are cleared and sent home because they did not show signs of intoxication or have a high enough blood alcohol level to warrant an arrest. How can this be?
Alcohol affects every person differently. In fact, as this ABC News article notes, there are biological, genetic and physical factors that cause some people to get drunker faster than others.
Some factors that could cause you to get more intoxicated or more quickly intoxicated than others who had the same number of drinks that you had include:
- How much you weigh: It typically takes heavier people longer to feel impaired.
- Your ethnic background: This can affect how quickly you metabolize alcohol and how alcohol affects your appearance.
- What you’ve eaten: If you haven’t eaten anything but your friends had snacks or a meal, you could feel drunk more quickly, since food can delay intoxication.
- How old you are: Alcohol can affect people differently as they get older. You can feel the effects of alcohol more drastically than your younger friends due to changes in your brain and hormones.
- Your gender: Women typically get drunk more quickly than men because they have less water in their bodies.
- What you are drinking: Having a few beers is very different than having a few strong cocktails, as liquor typically has higher alcohol concentrations than beer has. This is due to fermentation and distillation processes.
So, while your friends might seem sober and claim they are in no way impaired after having a few drinks, you could be legally intoxicated. Remembering this the next time you go out with friends can be important, as failing to consider that you might be drunker than others could lead to regrettable decisions, like getting in your car and driving while intoxicated.