'Vodka Samm' student's BAC at potentially deadly level - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'Vodka Samm' student's BAC at potentially deadly level

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A University of Iowa student is lucky to be alive this week after blowing a dangerous 0.341 blood alcohol content (BAC) level.

Police arrested student Samantha Goudie at Saturday's Hawkeye game after police say she tried to get on the field at Kinnick Stadium.

She later tweeted under her Twitter handle @Vodka_Samm, "just went to jail #yolo." YOLO is textspeak for "You Only Live Once." The Twitter account appears to have been deactivated.

It's precisely because you only live once, experts say, that you should protect the one life you have.

While Goudie's incident has received a lot of publicity, it also points to the dangers of excessive drinking.

Dr. Tom Boxleiter is a doctor at Turning Point Substance Abuse Treatment Center at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque. He said when a person's BAC hits 0.3, doctors worry about that person slipping into a coma and his or her body essentially forgetting to breathe.

If a person's BAC gets any higher than 0.3, Boxleiter said, he or she could really be on death's doorstep.

Morgan Sullivan is a student at Clarke University in Dubuque. The 22-year-old said she drinks socially with friends but has toned it down a bit from her earlier college years.

"I'm playing soccer, and I just got over mono and chronic fatigue," she said Tuesday. "The toll that it takes on my body -- I can't afford to do that as much anymore."

She said some of her classmates, however, do binge drink. Experts define that as drinking that brings someone's BAC to 0.08. Generally, for men, that's five drinks in two hours. For women, it's four drinks in two hours.

"The thing that scares me the most is some kid who's laying there or almost unconscious or they've been sick," Sullivan said. "It's like, 'Where are their friends?'"

A 12-ounce cup of beer has the alcohol equivalent of one 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor.

Kate Zanger, Clarke University's vice president of student life, said the university addressed binge drinking this year at freshman orientation.

"Sometimes students are drinking alcohol in one of those red or blue plastic cups, and those contain more than one serving of alcohol," Zanger said. "A breathalyzer does not recognize that it's only one cup. It sees it as having more than one serving."

Dr. Boxleiter said the amount of alcohol in a person's body drops by half every four hours. If, after a night of drinking, a person's BAC is 0.2, four hours later it will be 0.1, and in four more hours it will be 0.05.

"A good guideline is, don't drink more than one alcoholic drink per hour," Zanger said. "If you asked anybody in my job, the chief student affairs officer at any college campus across the country, the number one thing that people worry about is students not drinking responsibly and perhaps dying from alcohol poisoning."

In Zanger's 18 years at Clarke, she said, the school hasn't seen any deaths from alcohol poisoning, but she has seen students go to the hospital for it.

"If somebody they believe might have alcohol poisoning, please get medical attention because you can die from alcohol poisoning," Zanger said. "Those deaths are preventable, so, please, use your good common sense and be responsible. That's the message we give students."

She said it's a message that's especially poignant in the fall, around colleges' and universities' homecoming events.

Dr. Boxleiter said Turning Point Substance Abuse Treatment Center generally has two to three college students as outpatients in any given week, and the center responds to one inpatient per week, he estimated.

There are many online resources to help educate people about responsible and safe amounts of drinking.

An organization called BRAD 21 (Be Responsible About Drinking) has a chart showing a person's estimated BAC given whether that person is a man or a woman, how much he or she weighs and how many drinks the person has had. That chart is HERE.

BRAD 21 also has a list of effects at specific BAC levels for an average drinker. Boxleiter pointed out a chronic drinker, such as an alcoholic, has built up a tolerance to alcohol and may feel these effects at higher levels. That list is HERE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent. More information is on its site HERE.

According to the CDC's site, "One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge."

KWWL reached out to Goudie to see if she wanted to comment on this story or her arrest. She did not get back to KWWL Tuesday.

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