Drinking to stupor by the numbers

Like many Canadians, I’ve been watching the unfolding events in Toronto with disbelief and disappointment.

I wish I could find who it was on Twitter that asked how much Rob Ford would have to drink to get into a “drunken stupor”, but it got me wondering.

First, I needed his weight – which was listed as 147.6 KG (313 lbs) on June 6, 2012 at the end of his weight loss challenge. It’s likely to have changed, but that’s the last data point I could find, and I doubt he’d answer that question if I asked.

Next I needed a tool to do the calculations, which it turns out, have already been written, saving me some time.

To start, we’ll define 1 drink as either one 355 ml/12 oz beer, 150 ml/5 oz of (10-12%) wine, 90 ml/3 oz of fortified wine (16-18%), or 44ml/1.5 oz of liquor (40%).

The target blood alcohol levels we’ll be looking at are 0.10 to 0.19 and .20 to 0.29.

These numbers are approximate.

0.10: Nine drinks (3.2 litres of beer / 0.396 litres of vodka)
0.19: Fifteen drinks (5.3 litres of beer / 0.66 litres of vodka)
0.24: Nineteen drinks (6.7 litres of beer / 0.836 litres of vodka)
0.29: Twenty-three drinks (8.1 litres of beer / 1.01 litres of vodka)

With a blood alcohol level of .29, he would be unfit to drive for at least sixteen hours, and over twenty hours to being sober.

Stupor shows up in the list of effects over .20, so for Rob Ford, that’s 16+ drinks (give or take).

Numerous people in the media have suggested the possibility that he’s showing signs of alcoholism (the preferred term is apparently alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence).

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men may be at risk for alcohol-related problems if their alcohol consumption exceeds 14 standard drinks per week or 4 drinks per day, and women may be at risk if they have more than 7 standard drinks per week or 3 drinks per day.

No matter how we look at it, Mr Ford and his family are going through a difficult time, and probably have been for a number of years now. Alcohol abuse and drug use are both indicators of being in need of help, and I sincerely hope he gets it.

One thought on “Drinking to stupor by the numbers”

  1. The biggest problem with HFAs (high functioning alcoholics) is that their successes give them plenty of reasons to think they don’t have a problem. HFAs will point to everything that is right about their life and downplay the difficulties that alcohol has caused them.

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