Kelly Center Drug and Alcohol Wellness Network
Misconceptions About Drinking
"If I have too much to drink, I can drink a lot of coffee to sober up quickly. Right?"
Ha. Tell us another one! Drinking a lot of coffee after drinking too much alcohol may, however, increase your discomfort through the need to use the bathroom while being transported to the jail on DUI charges. Only time reverses impairment.
"Will eating breath mints after drinking fool a police 'breath test'?"
Eating mints will not affect your BAC level since it isn't the smell of your breath, but the alcohol content, that's measured. Using breath mints, however, may earn you points with the arresting officer if you normally have bad breath.
"Well, at least eating breath mints might fool the officer, right?"
Ha. Sure, police are really fooled when they see a combination of erratic driving behavior and powerfully minty breath. Yep, that one fools us every time. Get real.
"I've heard preparing yourself by eating certain foods before an evening of heavy drinking will help keep your sober. Is that true?"
That story has been around since before your grandparents were born. The only relation we've seen between what you eat before drinking and your drunkenness is that the more you drink, the more likely we are to find what you ate on your shirt, or on the floorboard of the patrol car.
"Ok, but if I eat a BIG meal before drinking, won't that help keep me from getting drunk?"
How much you have eaten, and how recently, may have a small effect on how quickly or slowly the alcohol you consume will enter your bloodstream--but it won't stop the alcohol from entering. If you drink too much, you will become intoxicated. There may be, however, a direct correlation between the size of your meal and how much of your meal may be found later in patrol cars and jail cells.
"Will splashing cold water on my face or taking a cold shower help sober me up?"
Splash away! And by all means, take a cold shower. It may make you cleaner, but it won't sober you up or make you a safe driver. The deputies at the jail, however, prefer clean drunks and recommend showering prior to doing anything that will lead to your arrest, such as driving after you've been drinking.
"Will running around the block a few times sober me up enough to drive home?"
Exercise won't sober you up any faster, but feel free to run around the block as many times as you like. The deputies at the jail ask us to remind you to shower after your long run and before you drive a car.
"They were serving a spiked punch, but I couldn't even taste the alcohol in it. I can't be drunk!"
Party-goer, beware. Fruit juices have the ability to mask the taste of alcohol. A fruit "punch" can contain a substantial amount of alcohol without the taste of the alcohol being noticed--but it will make you just as drunk as alcohol which you can taste in another kind of drink. A mild-tasting cup of punch at a party may contain more alcohol than any normal drink you would buy at a bar.
Nothing sobers up a drinker except time!
Excerpted with permission from The University of Oklahoma Police Department website: http://www.ou.edu/oupd.