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Friday, September 14, 2018

Metabolization of Blood Alcohol Concentration by Hour

As part of my research for the "Designated Defender" initiative that I plan to sponsor here in Florida, I had to determine how quickly alcohol was metabolized by the human body -- in other words, how long it took for people to sober up -- and I came upon some very interesting data that my gun-owning friends will find useful.

The actual specifics can be found in this article by DrinkFox, "an independent worldwide resource aimed at helping individual’s make better decisions when consuming alcohol" to use their own words, with actual footnoted references to peer-reviewed journal articles listed on the page.

The TL;DR version is "While increase in Blood Alcohol Concentration upon drinking varies by body mass, gender, rate of consumption and other factors, decrease in BAC is remarkably consistent at 0.016% BAC per hour and there is no practical way to speed up that rate."

Which means that some simple math gives us this handy little chart which I made:



This gives us a very useful rule of thumb when it comes to determining whether or not you are safe to drive, operate heavy machinery, use firearms, or anything else involving safety:
  • If you are inebriated but not drunk (below 0.1 BAC), then a 6 hours period of not drinking alcohol will result in full sobriety. 
  • If you are properly drunk (0.2 BAC or over), best wait twelve hours. 
  • If you are falling down, vomiting, and passing out (0.3 BAC or more), you're going to want to wait at least a full day, if not longer -- which likely won't be a problem, because you're going to be so hungover you won't want to do anything for a good long while. 

For example, let's say you are nicely impaired and want to know when it's safe for you to drive, but you don't have a breathalyzer on you. If you assume you are at 0.2 BAC, and the legal limit to drive in the US is 0.08 BAC, then 8 hours is a comfortable margin. 


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