ZocdocAnswersIs it safe to order a mixed alcoholic drink when visiting an international country?

Question

Is it safe to order a mixed alcoholic drink when visiting an international country?

I?m not sure if restaurants mix these drinks with water.

Answer

This is a difficult question to answer. It is always a good idea to visit your primary care physician prior to traveling, in order to receive a general check up and review travel safety advice, specific health risks present at your destination, and potentially preventative therapy recommendations, all of which are available from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The degree of risk will obviously vary depending on where you are traveling and establishment in which you are consuming the drink. There are actually two health risks associated with consuming mixed drinks abroad. The first and foremost, actually, is that mixed drinks are the most common route by which travelers are unknowingly passed sedatives. The most familiar scenario is a woman being passed a "date rape" drug such as GHB or another sedative in a drink, in order to facilitate sexual assault. However, in developing countries or other unsafe locales where crime and banditry are poorly controlled, both sexes are at risk of being drugged for purposes of sexual assault, robbery, or even kidnapping. This is obviously the most serious health risk, however there is also the risk contracting an infectious disease by drinking water in the drink. This risk is decreased in alcoholic drinks, depending on the concentration of alcohol in the beverage. Occasionally liquors are watered down or drinks contain ice made from non-potable water. It is therefore conceivable that you might contract an infectious disease as a result of consuming the drink. Here are some important tips to enjoy alcoholic beverages safely while traveling abroad. Always consume alcohol in moderation. Bring a friend and stick with them throughout the night. Always drink in establishments frequented by travelers, in well-lit, busy areas. Always know where you are and how to safely get back to your lodgings. Consume only beverages that you have opened yourself (such as a bottle of beer), hold the beverage in your hand until you are finished with it, and never leave a beverage unattended and then return to drinking it. Again, please speak with your doctor regarding your concern.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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