Alcohol passes from blood to the lungs to a person’s breath.
When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed throughout all the water-bearing tissue in a person’s body, including the blood. Deep in our lungs, a very, very small amount of alcohol evaporates from the blood into the lungs. When a person exhales, the alcohol that evaporates from the blood appears in their breath.
Alcohol is a depressant – it can kill you!
Some people find milder depressing effects of alcohol pleasurable. At higher intoxication levels – .40 and higher – the depressant effects of alcohol can kill a person by shutting down the central nervous system.
The liver eliminates alcohol from the body.
Enzymes in the liver remove most of the alcohol from the body. A very small amount of alcohol is eliminated by respiration and sweating. Knowing that the liver removes alcohol helps us to understand that there is no way to speed up the elimination of alcohol from a person’s body.
The body eliminates alcohol at a steady rate, lowering alcohol level by .015 per hour.
Regardless of body size, on average a person’s liver can lower intoxication level by .015 an hour. .015 is approximately the intoxicating effect of one drink.
Body size affects how intoxicated a person will get.
A small person will get more intoxicated on the same amount of alcohol than will a large person. When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed in all the water-bearing tissue in a person’s body. A small person has less water-bearing tissue than a larger person, and so the alcohol will be more concentrated in the water-bearing tissue of the small person than the larger person.
How quickly a person drinks affects how intoxicated a person will get.
A person must drink faster than the rate of elimination – faster than one drink an hour – to become significantly intoxicated. If a person drinks slowly, at the rate of one drink an hour or slower, a person will not become significantly intoxicated.
Women, on average, get more intoxicated than men from the same amount of alcohol.
Women generally have less muscle tissue and more fatty tissue than men. Because muscle tissue is water bearing and fatty tissue is not water bearing, a woman has less water in their body than does a man of the same size.
Rules of thumb:
The body eliminates about one drink an hour.
One drink produces about .02 alcohol level in an average size man.