What are standard drinks? Why is knowing about them important?
1. What are standard drinks?
A standard drink is any of the following. A
- 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer.
- 5-ounce glass of dinner wine.
- Shot (1.5 ounce) of liquor or distilled spirits.
2. How much alcohol is in such a drink?
Each standard drink of beer, wine and spirits has the same amount of alcohol. It’s six-tenths of one ounce. Alcohol equivalence refers to the fact that standard drinks are equivalent in their alcohol content.
3. Who says that standard drinks all have the same amount of alcohol?
Federal government agencies. Also national health and safety groups that fight alcohol abuse. They include these.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) (formerly the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
- Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) (formerly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BASTF).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Department of Transportation (DOT).
- National Consumers League (NCL).
- Department of Education (DOE).
- National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
- Public Health Service.
- Surgeon General’s Office.
- National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
4. Why is knowing about drink equivalence important?
Understanding alcohol equivalence helps us make wise decisions. Knowing about alcohol equivalence also helps us understand that there is no drink of moderation. There are only behaviors of moderation.
Recognizing that standard drinks are all the same to a Breathalyzer is very important. It can help us avoid driving while impaired. And that can prevent us from having trouble with the law. But much more important, it can prevent injuries and save lives. Perhaps our own life.
At this point you know much more about standard drinks and alcohol equivalence than most people. So congratulations!