Alcohol Use and Older Adults

Frequently Asked Questions

12. What is blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures the percentage of ethanol—the chemical name for alcohol in alcoholic beverages—in a person’s blood. As you drink, you increase your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. The higher the BAC, the more impaired a person is. In all states, it is against the law for people to drive if their blood alcohol concentration is above .08.

The effects of increased blood alcohol levels can include

  • reduced inhibitions
  • slurred speech
  • motor impairment
  • confusion
  • memory problems
  • concentration problems
  • coma
  • breathing problems
  • death.

Learn more about the risks of alcohol overdose.