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Toxicology Notes and Literature



This is an interesting area of study since a dramshop case not only requires that a person’s BAC level be elevated beyond the legal limit, but the plaintiff must also show that the person in question was served a number of drinks appropriate to produce that BAC level at the defense’s establishment.  While the bartender or server may be able to ascertain the number of drinks served directly to the customer, it is difficult to keep track of drinks he/she consumed that were purchased by others. Behavior consistent with intoxication is one piece of information that certainly would help the plaintiff’s case but bartenders typically do not conduct roadside sobriety testing in their establishments and what if the customer is an alcoholic? Alcoholics can consume enormous amounts of alcohol and carry BACs in excess of 0.20% without showing signs of intoxication. There is a publication by Brick and Erickson that addresses this issue and could be of immense value to those defending DRAMSHOP cases. Further complicating the issue is the fact that alcoholics metabolize alcohol much faster than casual drinkers. There is data showing metabolism rates as high as 0.03BAC per hour where as the casual drinker’s metabolic rate is closer to 0.015BAC per hour. This has serious implications when conducting retrograde calculations to determine BACs at a certain point in time such as time when customer was served his last drink.

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