RSA and sobering up

Responsible Service of AlcoholPatrons who are approaching intoxication may try to convince managers and RSA staff of their instant ‘sobering up’ techniques, but there is no easy way to sober up. Sobering up or reducing the alcohol in your body takes time. Most alcohol is broken down by the liver, and the liver can only eliminate one standard drink per hour. Nothing can speed up the process, not even exercise, coffee, vomiting, or cold showers.

See if you know the myths of sobering up and use this information to support your responsible alcohol service.

TRUTH OR MYTH: Coffee (black or white) will sober a person up? 

This is a myth. Coffee is a stimulant and makes people feel more awake. But they are no less impaired; they are just more awake, impaired people. 

TRUTH OR MYTH: Mixing your drinks makes you drunk faster? 

This is a myth. It is the alcohol content of a drink that affects people, not the type of drink. While mixing beer, wine and

spirits might make a person feel sick, it doesn’t by itself increase the level of impairment or intoxication. 

TRUTH OR MYTH: Fresh air, exercise and cold showers will sober a person up. 

This is a myth. These things do very little to make people any less intoxicated. They only buy time and allow the body to reduce the alcohol from the bloodstream. 

TRUTH OR MYTH: If you don’t feel drunk, you’re okay to drive 

This is a myth. If you have been drinking, feeling sober is not a safe indicator of whether you are under .05 BAC. You may feel sober, especially if your BAC is reducing, but you could still be over the legal limit and your driving skills possibly impaired. 

TRUTH OR MYTH: Vomiting will sober up a person quickly. 

This is a myth. Vomiting will not reduce the concentration of alcohol already in a person’s bloodstream. What it will do is prevent any alcohol in the stomach from being absorbed into the bloodstream – at best this is likely to be the last drink consumed. 

RSA staff must be aware that there is no easy way to sober up.