How To Identify Signs of Intoxication and Prevent Over-Consumption

According to data from 2020, 2,041 individuals lost their lives in car accidents related to alcohol consumption. All the drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) ranging from .01 to .07 g/dL.

This is a sobering reminder of the dangers of excessive drinking.  It highlights the importance of preventing the over-consumption of alcohol.

As a server or bartender, it is good practice to be aware of the signs of intoxication. You must take steps to prevent customers from over-consuming alcohol. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify signs of intoxication and prevent over-consumption. We’ll provide tips for dealing with drunk customers in a professional and responsible manner.

What Is Intoxication?

Intoxication is a state of being when someone has consumed too much alcohol or drugs. It can impair a person’s ability to function and make sound decisions.

Preventing the over-consumption of alcohol is important to avoid the negative consequences of intoxication. 

Signs of Intoxication

Identifying signs of intoxication is crucial for ensuring alcohol safety and preventing over-consumption. There are both physical and behavioral signs that show a person is intoxicated.


Physical signs of intoxication are often the most visible indicators of excessive alcohol consumption. They are obvious to those around the person who has consumed alcohol in excess. These signs include:

Slurred Speech

When a person is intoxicated, they may have difficulty with clear speech and pronunciation. This is because alcohol affects the central nervous system. It becomes harder for the brain to coordinate the muscles required for clear speech.

Loss of Coordination

Intoxication can cause a loss of coordination, making the person stumble, sway, or have trouble balancing themselves. This is dangerous, as it increases the risk of falls and accidents.

An Unsteady Gait

Another physical sign of intoxication is an unsteady gait. People may have difficulty walking in a straight line or appear to be staggering. This can be a clear sign that the person has had too much to drink.

Bloodshot Eyes

Intoxication can cause bloodshot eyes, which can be an obvious sign of excessive drinking. The dilation of blood vessels in the eyes can cause them to appear red and irritated.

Behavioral Signs of Intoxication

Intoxication can lead to behavioral changes that are less noticeable. They are still indicative of alcohol impairment. Some of the behavioral signs of intoxication include:

Aggressive Behavior

When someone is under the influence of alcohol, they may become aggressive and hostile toward others. This can manifest in verbal or physical confrontations. This is dangerous for both the intoxicated individual and those around them.

Mood Swings

Intoxication can cause sudden and unpredictable changes in mood. Someone may go from being happy and friendly to sad or angry without any clear reason. These mood swings can make it difficult for others to communicate with and understand the intoxicated person.

Impaired Judgment

Alcohol impairs decision-making abilities, and an intoxicated person may make poor choices or act recklessly. This can result in dangerous situations, such as driving under the influence or engaging in other high-risk behaviors.

Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

Intoxication can lead to inappropriate sexual behavior, such as making unwanted advances or engaging in sexual activity without consent. This behavior can be harmful to others. It can result in serious consequences for the intoxicated individual.

Preventing Over-Consumption

This is essential for maintaining a safe and responsible drinking environment. There are several ways to prevent over-consumption. They include:

Know When to Stop Serving Alcohol

One way to do this is by assessing the level of intoxication. This involves observing the physical and behavioral signs of intoxication to decide the customer’s level of impairment.

It’s essential to refuse service to intoxicated customers, even if they ask for more drinks, to prevent them from becoming more impaired. 

Responsible Service Practices

Promoting moderate drinking can help ensure the safety and well-being of customers and individuals around them. One effective strategy is to limit the number of drinks per customer.

Other strategies include:

  • Provide food
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages 
  • Encourage customers to take breaks and drink water

Create a Safe Environment

Creating a safe environment is crucial for preventing over-consumption. It will help in promoting alcohol safety. This can be done by:

Monitoring Customer Behavior

Keep an eye on customer behavior. Intervene if necessary to prevent over-consumption or other risky behaviors.

Maintain a Clean and Well-lit Establishment

A clean and well-lit environment can help customers feel safe and comfortable. It helps in reducing the risk of over-consumption or other incidents.

Designated Drivers

Encourage the use of designated drivers and ride-sharing services.  Help them plan ahead for transportation to prevent drunk driving and promote responsible drinking

Drunk Customers

Dealing with drunk customers can be a challenging task, but staying calm and professional can help manage the situation. To maintain professionalism, it’s essential to remain courteous and respectful. You must avoid confrontational language or behavior.

In case of aggressive behavior, it’s best to speak in a calm and authoritative tone while keeping a safe distance from the customer. If a customer is too intoxicated, refusing service and asking them to leave may be necessary. 

Contact Law Enforcement 

If a situation becomes uncontrollable, contacting law enforcement may be necessary to ensure safety. You must call 911 if there is an immediate threat to safety.

It is important to provide clear and concise information about the situation and the location when calling the police. This will help them respond with speed and efficiency to the situation.

By providing the necessary details, law enforcement can assess the situation. They can then determine the appropriate response. It is essential to stay calm and provide accurate information to help resolve the situation.

Empower Your Team with RBS Training

Preventing the over-consumption of alcohol is essential. Knowing the signs of intoxication is crucial in ensuring the safety of everyone. Getting RBS certification in California can help.

As a bartender or server, you have a responsibility to serve alcohol responsibly and create a safe environment for your customers. By following responsible service practices, you can help prevent incidents of excessive drinking. 

RBS training can further enhance your knowledge and skills in this area. Online training from will give you the necessary tools to promote alcohol safety in your establishment. Let’s work together to promote a safe drinking culture.