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A responsible guide to responsible drinking

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While drinking, parties and nights on the town are among the greatest of youthful joys and part of the university experience, there are dangers and pitfalls that need to be known and avoided lest someone gets hurt. The Gauntlet has decided to save you some lengthy research by summarizing the more important items.

Transportation

Simply put, drinking and driving is a tragedy. It's not worth it legally, morally or physically. So here are some suggestions to enjoy a liquored-up evening while staying safe.

Designated Driver: Round up a bunch of friends, pick a DD and away you go. To be fair, take turns or become friends with a non-drinker. Some bars have programs where you get free stuff if you're a DD five times in a row. Also, you gain important blackmail material on your drunken buddies, which may come in handy later.

Taxi: Cabbing may be an expensive option for tuition-riddled students. However, if you gather up friends who live near you, the kick in the ass might not be so bad.

Transit: Granted, it might infringe on late-night drinking but it's convenient most of the time. If the Students' Union implements the U-Pass, who knows what will happen.

Walking: A lucky few live within stumbling distance of their favourite watering hole. We've heard stories of some people stumbling back from the Night Gallery to North Hill mall and then going back the next day, hungover, to pick up their car. (Editor's note: this is not recommended.)

Sleeping over - Befriend those who live near the bars and crash on their couch. If you're lucky, they may even cook you breakfast--as long as they're not hungover as well.

Legal stuff

If you do drink and drive, here are the legal repercussions in
Alberta.

The law: Any driver charged with having a blood or breath sample over 0.08 blood alcohol content or refusing to give a breath sample will receive an automatic three-month suspension of their drivers licence.

Keep in mind, even if your BAC is below 0.08, you can still be charged with impaired driving.

Consequences: If convicted, a driver who causes bodily harm will receive an automatic, on-the-spot, six-month licence suspension as well as a more serious charge like vehicular manslaughter.

A first-time offence automatically nets you a one-year suspension. A second-time offence results in a three-year suspension. A third-time offence is a five-year suspension.

Impaired drivers causing injury or death receive a mandatory five-year suspension whether or not it is a first, second or third offence.

If you drive while your license is suspended, you can be fined or sent to jail and six months will be added to your suspension.

Your vehicle will be seized and impounded for 30 days, regardless who owns it.

As well, don't forget the other consequences. If you need your licence for your job, you may be unemployed. And don't forget about the financial costs such as increased insurance, legal fees, fines and alternative transportation costs.

Advice for ladies

It's unfortunate, but when the ladies head out to the bars, they have to be more careful then guys. Regardless of gender, everyone should take heed of these tips. Drinking is more fun when it's done safely and there's no chance for the police to be involved.

Go with a bunch of friends: The more the merrier, I say. There's less of a chance of crazy people intimidating you if you have a posse.

Always tell people where you're going: Tell your parents or roommate which bar you're partying at. When you hit the bar, tell someone if you're going to get a drink or the bathroom. In case anything happens, someone will know to come looking for you if you don't come back immediately.

Watch your drink: Rohypnol, the date rape drug, is an odourless, colourless substance and you can't tell if it's in your drink. Afterwards, victims can't recall anything about the past night.

Get home safe: Don't drink and drive (see above section). Make alternative arrangements, be it a DD or a cab.

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