Safety Tip # 3: Know Your Limit. We Are Not All EQUAL

We all know not only from biology class that women’s bodies are different from men’s.

First of all on average women way less than men. But that is not the only important difference.

Let’s take a closure look at the differences in metabolism of alcohol:

Females have less “alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme” in their stomachs, an enzyme your body needs to break down the alcohol you consume. Which is why women can only drink half of what a male can drink over the same amount of time. Leading to the conclusion that women face higher risks of alcohol poisoning while attempting to keep up with their male peers.

Your brain can only tolerate a certain amount of alcohol until it shuts off due to the toxic levels.  Literally, your brain is poisoned by the alcohol (which is why we call it alcohol poisoning) to the point that you are killing brain cells.  And it’s the ones you use that you lose.

Low-risk drinking limits defined by the NIAAA include women should have no more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks on any single day.

Just like girls and guys are different in their metabolism of alcohol, certain ethnic groups are also different. 

People with Asian ancestry often have genetic differences in one of their metabolic enzymes for alcohol – alcohol dehydrogenase therefore will become intoxicated and “poisoned” by the build-up of an intermediary bi-product [acedaldehyde – a metabolite of alcohol] faster than Caucasians.  [].  This build-up of acetaldehyde leads to a “flushing” response then profuse vomiting.

For more information review this very informative fact sheet by the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)

Safety Tip #6: Be self-aware. Beware of Black Outs Safety Tip #4: Be a Samaritan. Take care of friends

What does it mean when you “Black Out”?  Blacked out doesn’t mean passed out, although you eventually do.  It means you are walking around in “auto-pilot” – acting on instinct without an awareness of what’s going on around you.  The high amount of alcohol makes your brain poisoned (i.e., “alcohol poisoning”) and kills brain cells – the ones you use are the ones you lose.


The article “Your Brain on Booze” addresses “What happens when we become too drunk, and how to help a friend who’s had one (or five) too many.”

In addition the article is giving us an idea of how to Be a Samaritan. Take care of friends – Safety Tip #4

WARNING SIGNS OF ALCOHOL TO ALERT YOU TO DANGER FOR A FRIEND (INTOXICATED/OVERDOSE): If you see someone who seems to be passed out or if they have urinated or defecated on themselves – immediately call 911.

  •        Try to wake them up, ask them questions.
  •        If they are not making sense when they talk, not answering your questions or seem unconscious, turn them on their side. They can die from choking      on their vomit.  Call 911.
  •        If they are awake and able to talk, give them water, help them sit up so they can throw up. Continue giving them water to drink, a cold cloth to clean their face with, and call their parents.
  •        Pupils are dilated, they have shallow breathing, and low pulse – immediately call 911.

If you have to submit a friend to the ER, you will NOT automatically be tested or questioned for alcohol or drug use as well!

Check out the resources provided by your College or Community to find more information on where to go if you or a friend of yours needs help. You will find an overview on ULifeline – Your Online Resource for College Mental Health 

Safety Tip #8: Use Common Sense. Limo drivers are smart.

Limo drivers are smart – they participate in trainings, to keep YOU safe!

There is a Zero Tolerance for alcohol, tobacco and drugs with those Limousine companies trained.

The Keeping it SAFE:
Under Twenty-One Alcohol Prevention Coalition 

held a training for limousine companies covering Maryland alcohol and drug laws and consequences, indicators of alcohol and drug impairment, current teen trends, and best practices regarding the transportation of clients under the age of 21.

To view all limousine companies that participated in this years Keeping it SAFE Coalition Limousine Training, please click here.”

Look at the limo guidelines:

Parent Information Limousine Companies 03.2014

Don’t risk getting kicked out of the limousine ruining not only your own but also all your friends’ night, it’s very simple DON’T SMUGGLE ALCOHOL OR ANY OTHER DRUGS in to the vehicle!

You would like to be treated with respect – treat other’s with respect! Limousine companies are NOT childcare services – if you would like the privilege to attend Prom act in a way that you deserve it, BE SMART!

Safety Tip #9: Fashion Tip. Don’t Vomit on your Favorite Clothes

Yes you might or might have not seen your peers ending up laying in or being covered with their own vomit. Disgusting, right? Remember the last time you had thrown up and ask yourself: WAS IT FUN? DID IT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD? 

Vomiting can be caused by Alcohol Poisoning

What happens to your body when you get alcohol poisoning? It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach.

“Teens can drink to dangerous levels before they realize they should stop. This can result in alcohol poisoning, which occurs when high levels of alcohol affect a drinker’s breathing, heart rate and gag reflex, potentially leading to coma and death.

Many teens think alcohol poisoning is just another part of the party scene and say they’ve been to at least one social event at which someone was taken to the hospital. In May [2012], three ambulances were called to the B-CC prom for students with suspected alcohol poisoning, according to principal Lockard. “It was disturbing for me and students who witnessed their classmates in such a serious condition,” she says.” (

Watch this YouTube video and decide for yourself whether YOU would like to end a night that way:

Consider, really drunk guys or girls are not really attractive at all, are they?!

Safety Tip #10: BE SMART – Beware of Prom Gaming

“It’s a chilly evening in May, and a 17-year-old Kensington girl in a long, silver gown lies on the sidewalk along Rockville Pike, sobbing. “I just want to go to my senior prom”, she wails. (Bethesda Magazine “Wasted Youth”)

For the last months YOU had been looking forward to that day, YOU picked out the perfect gown and your friends just LOVE IT. If that wouldn’t be already awesome enough, that really cute guy or girl, you have had a crush on for quiet a while had asked you for a date. It seemed like all your dreams were coming true.

It’s the day, YOU got all dressed up, the door bell rings…and there is your date, looking as stunning as you could only imagine, ready to pick you up. But before going to your senior prom YOU and your friends get together…and the pre party starts


“Everyone loves games. No one thinks just sitting on the sofa drinking beer is fun.” Good point, but nevertheless it is also more dangerous. You can easily lose control of how much you drink by getting carried away in the game. Games always have rules, right? Meaning you get forced in to drinking because that’s what the rules demand. Personally I love playing beer pong. To me it is not only a fun but also a competitive game…but the fun is only guaranteed until people are too drunk to still score. It is the decision you make. When filling up the cups you could use nonalcoholic beverages instead or just use a little bit of alcohol to be able to still enjoy the rest of YOUR night and NOT end up on the side of the road crying. I for example made it clear that I am not going to drink every single cup, so I had friends to drink for me.

It is okay to say NO. Don’t give in to peer pressure.

We don’t want that special night to end for you in a disaster. There are a few things to keep in mind to have a fun night that YOU WILL REMEMBER. It is up to you to make the decision. BE SMART!

Kick off for the Better Safe Than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix! Campaign at the Winston Churchill High School in Montgomery County, Maryland

We launched the Better Safe Than Sorry Project with a kickoff today at Churchill High School. Our project aims to empower young adults to make informed decisions about alcohol and other drug use, including it’s consequences. Our focus on prenatal alcohol exposure and the reproductive health consequences of alcohol use is incorporated into broader messages, presented in a format that is both light-hearted and serious. This “train the trainer” approach attempts to engage adolescent “change agents” in the program development to tailor each school-based project according to each school’s interests.

Dr. Joan Benz, the principal of Churchill High School (#1 public high school in Maryland for 2013), requested our leadership to develop a Churchill BSTS campaign after she heard Dr. Rich present in Baltimore at the FASD and the Law Summit (read former article). Over the past several weeks, BSTS volunteers collaborated with Churchill students and staff in a series of 4 focus groups designed to train students as change agents while getting their direction, feedback and perspectives about the campaign.  Together, we developed the BSTS Project’s kick off presentation for Churchill seniors that we held on April 2nd.

The multimedia presentation (developed during the focus groups) was designed to prepare seniors for prom, graduation, beach week, college and beyond. The Safety Tips evolved out of Dr. Rich’s desire to catch the students’ attention while sharing important information for healthy transitioning. Her father, a retired police officer, helped start the original MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) programs in Randolph and Guilford County, NC and has been an inspiration in her prevention efforts.  As a child psychiatrist, she always appreciates the simple approach of children’s books to get serious points across. “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathmann is the inspiration for the safety tips, with David Letterman’s “Top Ten reasons” lists providing additional humor.  To get an idea on how Officer Buckle and Gloria presented their Safety Tips watch the book reading on YouTube:

Our aim with this first presentation is:

1) To empower High School students to make informed personal decisions about alcohol use;

2) To kickoff our student led blog and internship program;

3) To inspire Churchill students and faculty to begin incorporating messages about reproductive health consequences of alcohol use into their curriculum, and

4) To help develop and empower student leadership toward prevention initiatives on a broader scale by posting the presentation to our blog, which has the potential to reach a global audience.

Our Safety Tips are:

Safety Tip #10: Be Smart – Beware of Prom Gaming


Safety Tip #9: Fashion Tip. Don’t Vomit on your Favorite Clothes


Safety Tip #8: Use Common Sense. Limo drivers are smart.

Safety Tip #7: Catch 22

EtOH (til21) & Mj r illegal – 18 y.o.’s go to jAIL not juvie.


Safety Tip #6: Be Self-conscious. Beware of Black Outs & Booty Calls


Safety Tip #5: Have Self-respect. Avoid Social Media Frights!


Safety Tip #4: Be a good Samaritan. Take care of friends


Safety Tip # 3: Know your limit. We are NOT all EQUAL


Safety Tip #2: Be safe. Learn Self-Defense


Safety Tip #1: If you use alcohol, CONTRACEPT. If pregnant or might be, AVOID alcohol.

  Copyright by Dr. Susan D. Rich Better Safe Than Sorry Campaign

In upcoming posts, more details on each safety tip will be provided along with information, useful web links and resources.

Feel free to spread the word or to get in touch with our team for further questions on our Better Safe Than Sorry Campaign.

Prom is Not a Big Deal

It’s almost this time of the year again – Prom is coming up.

Plus we are getting ready to start of next wednesday at the Churchill High School with our first presentation for “The Better Safe than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix! Campaign aiming to empower high school students to make informed personal decisions about alcohol use.

A word of advise:

Safety Tip #8: Fashion Tip.

Don’t Vomit on your Favorite Clothes! You spent all this time picking out a stunning dress or tuxedo but you drink too much, you get sick and in the end you throw up all over yourself. IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. Be aware!

Don’t make prom bigger as it is. Stick to the same high standards you would have for yourself at a dance on any other night of the year. BE SAFE and you will have FUN!