by Sol Auerbach
Let me start by saying that in no way are these guidelines and tips meant to encourage underage boys and girls to drink on Purim. The ideal situation for underage persons is to not get drunk on Purim or ever; however let’s be realistic. We have a huge issue of underage drinking when it comes to Purim. The vast majority of Frum teenagers drink lots of alcohol regardless of laws, restrictions and penalties. Teens are getting drunk, sick, vomiting, hungover and at times ending up in the hospital in growing numbers.
Kids who won’t touch alcohol on any other day are going to get drunk. It’s what everyone else is doing (including many adults) so in their minds, there’s no reason not to drink.
I therefore realize that the best way to approach the issue of underage drinking on Purim is by guiding our kids on how to drink without getting sick, hungover, vomiting or G-d forbid ending up in a hospital. These methods have proven to be helpful and many teenagers have eagerly been asking me for these pamphlets. They have given me positive feedback saying it worked well with them last year. One kid even told me he thinks my pamphlet might have saved him from ending up in a hospital.
It is because of these reasons I am asking every adult reading this to print out and show these guidelines to any teen or young adult before Purim. Hang it up in your Shuls, schools, work places and anywhere else possible.
Tips to Avoid Passing out or Getting Sick/Hungover after Drinking on Purim
1) Water – Follow every drink (or every two drinks) with at least one full cup of water. This will keep your body hydrated and seriously reduce your chances of passing out, getting sick/hungover, or G-d forbid ending up in a hospital.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of hangover symptoms and drinking water along with any alcoholic beverage can prevent those symptoms. Drinking a cup of water before you start drinking alcohol, and after every drink (or every two drinks) will go a long way towards relieving hangover discomfort.
DON’T drink a whole lot of alcohol and wait until you need to throw up until you finally drink some water. Wherever you go, bring at least 2 bottles of water with you and follow every 1 or 2 drinks with at least 5 ounces of water.
2) Drink Moderately – This bears repeating. If you do not drink to the point of total intoxication, your chances of vomiting or getting sick/hungover is very slim. Although there are exceptions, generally only people who drink to excess will experience sickness.
DON’T play the game of, “I know what I could handle.” Play the game of, “I know when to stop.”
Some days our bodies are not able to handle the same amount of alcohol as it has on prior days. Just because you were able to handle X amount of drinks at previous parties and situations, this IN NO WAY indicates you will be able to handle that same amount of alcohol.
The number one reason people end up hospitalized for drinking too much is because they had previously drank the same amount of alcohol without having any problems and so did it again. The same way you can’t handle the same amount of food or soda every day, you can’t handle the same amount of alcohol each time you drink. Regardless of how much or little you drank, as soon as you feel any symptoms of drunkenness (slight head-aches, dizziness, nausea, needing to vomit etc…), stop drinking alcohol IMMEDIATELY and drink some water.
3) ONLY drink on a full stomach or after eating a substantial amount of food. Drinking on an empty stomach is simply dangerous. Most people don’t realize that drinking alcohol on an empty stomach should be avoided because it leads more quickly to intoxication. Neither do they realize what a big difference drinking with food in the stomach can really make. For example, Swedish researchers had a group of people consume a few drinks after an overnight fast. The next day they had the group consume the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time after eating a modest breakfast. After having breakfast, the group had a much lower average blood alcohol level — only 75% of the BAC reached when drinking on an empty stomach.
Eating food – especially proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates – slows down the intoxication rate, as does drinking slowly.
Don’t drink too fast, too much at once, and don’t chug. Chugging is very dangerous because it leads to faster intoxication as the alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and neutralizes the body’s ability to reject the toxin by vomiting.