Students for Safe Drinking


Risk Ranking - Learning about the hierarchy of alcohol related harms

Not all alcohol related harms are created equal-- some drinking-related risks are far worse than others. The goal of harm reduction is to recognize which risks are the worst and to take steps to reduce or eliminate them. There are risks associated both with the amount of alcohol consumed, and with behaviors which people engage in when under the influence. Figure 1 is a graphical representation of harms associated with different levels of alcohol consumption and Figure 2 is a graphical representation of risks associated with certain drinking behaviors.


Figure 1


Figure 2

It is not difficult to see that planning one's transportation before going to a party is far less risky then driving there and driving back after one is intoxicated. Likewise, getting hammered by drinking 10 beers once a week on a Saturday night is far less risky than drinking a liter of vodka every day, 7 days a week. For more information about reducing risks please see the College Students Guide to Safe Drinking.

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