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Drunks have zero idea how drunk they are. Yes really

The scientists behind the study say the results could help with alcohol-fuelled violence.
The scientists behind the study say the results could help with alcohol-fuelled violence.

FOUR leading universities spent six months figuring out what we already know - drunk people are terrible at guessing how wasted they are.

Researchers from Deakin, Virginia Tech, La Trobe and Curtin universities spent the period between December 2011 and June 2012 interviewing and breathalysing drunken partygoers to find out whether they knew how drunk they really were.

The study, published in the Drug and Alcohol Review today, finally confirmed what most people knew - that boozed up revellers could not accurately estimate their level of intoxication.

A drunken racegoer passed out amongst rubbish.
A drunken racegoer passed out amongst rubbish.

The results could however prove useful to emergency services personnel and venue staff when dealing with drunken patrons.

More than 7000 revellers on a night out in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth were asked to rate their own level of intoxication on a scale out of 10 before being breathalysed.

It was found that as an individual's BAC increases, the ability to evaluate the degree of their own intoxication was impaired.

"At approximately 0.100 g/100 mL BAC and above, intoxicated individuals in night-life settings have reduced ability to distinguish between increasing levels of intoxication," the authors wrote.

"This finding was supported by the observation that as BAC level rises, so too does the magnitude of disagreement between self-rated and interviewer-rated intoxication."

The clearest sign of intoxication was a combination of signs, the researchers say. Picture: Tony Gough
The clearest sign of intoxication was a combination of signs, the researchers say. Picture: Tony Gough

The interviewers also looked at physical signs of intoxication including loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, staggering/falling over, boisterous/loud, disjointed responses and being confused.

The researchers said further studies could be built on this study to help curb alcohol-fuelled violence.

"Identifying the point at which this intoxication becomes problematic remains the critical challenge for venue staff and emergency service workers and other professions required to make rapid assessments of intoxication based upon observation," the authors wrote.

"The current findings suggest that certain physical symptoms were more predictive of intoxication than others, and the clearest indicator of high intoxication is showing a combination of these more reliable signs. Showing four or more visible intoxication symptoms emerged as a potentially useful meaningful field cut-off for identifying intoxicated patrons."

Topics:  alcohol booze drunk



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