Health & Safety Guidelines  »  Staying Well



  1. If you drink, do so in moderation. This means no more than 2 drinks a day for males; 1 drink if you are female or age 65 or older. One drink has one half of an ounce of pure alcohol (e.g., 12 oz. of regular beer, 4 to 5 oz. of wine, 11/2 oz. of 80-proof liquor).

  2. Ask your doctor how much, if any, alcohol you can have with conditions you have and/or medications you take. Heed warnings on over-the-counter medicine labels, too.

  3. Drink slowly. You are apt to drink less.

  4. After you have 1 or 2 drinks with alcohol, have drinks without alcohol.

  5. Eat when you drink. Food helps to slow alcohol absorption.

  6. Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver who will not be drinking.

  7. Coffee or fresh air cannot make you sober. To get sober, stop drinking.

  8. Know your limit and stick to it. You may decide it is better not to drink at all.

Persons Who Should Not Drink

  1. Children and teenagers.

  2. Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

  3. Persons who can’t restrict drinking to moderate levels.

  4. Persons who plan to drive or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination.

Questions to Detect an Alcohol Problem

Answer the questions that follow. A key word in each of these 4 questions spells CAGE.

  1. Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking?

  2. Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

  3. Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?

  4. Have you ever had a drink to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (Eye opener)?

One “Yes” answer means there might be an alcohol problem. Two or more “Yes” answers means it is highly likely that you may have an alcohol problem. In either case, contact your doctor or other health care provider to discuss your responses to these questions. You may have answered “No” to all four CAGE questions, but there could still be a problem. Some men say, “But I only drink beer.” This doesn’t mean they don’t have an alcohol problem.

{Note: Most alcoholics deny or don’t see that they have a disease. Alcoholism is a serious condition that is treatable. If you suspect a drinking problem in you, a family member, or a friend, seek advice.}

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

800.662.HELP (4357)