ALCOHOL : THE BASICS
13,000 young people will take their first drink today. For a lot of them, it's just the first round…Are you one of them?
- Alcohol, specifically ethanol, is a potent central nervous system depressant.
- The simplest and most commonly used alcohols are methanol and ethanol. Methanol was formerly obtained by the distillation of wood and called "wood alcohol."
- One sip of methanol (as little as 10ml) can cause permanent blindness.
- Ethanol is used in alcoholic beverages, but it is also used as an industrial solvent and raw material. It has to be mixed to be drink-able.
- At first, alcohol can produce feelings of relaxation and cheerfulness. But further consumption can lead to blurred vision and coordination problems. Once alcohol is in the bloodstream, it can diffuse into nearly every biological tissue of the body.
- The concentration of alcohol in blood is usually measured in terms of the blood alcohol content. This is what the police test for,
- Extreme levels of consumption can lead to alcohol poisoning and death: a concentration in the blood stream of 0.40% will kill half of the people who try it.
- After excessive drinking, unconsciousness can occur
- Death can also occur through choking on vomit.
- Blackouts are a common problem associated with heavy drinking. You won’t be able to recall anything that happened during a black out period..
- Women become intoxicated more quickly than men.
- Drinking large amounts of alcohol over long periods of time changes the sensitivity of the brain to the effects of alcohol. This means that larger amounts of alcohol are required to produce the same effects. This adaptation is called "tolerance.”
- If you are dependent, you will show an extraordinary adaptation to alcohol. You will end up drinking huge amounts to produce the high and the behavior which used to happen when you drank smaller quantities.
- Your capacity to drink very large quantities without losing control of your actions marks you as different from the moderate or heavy drinker.
- Later on, in the chronic stage of drinking, tolerance decreases. You may become drunk on relatively small amounts of alcohol.
- There are an estimated 3.3 million problem drinkers among young people in the 14 to 17 age range.
DON'T BECOME A STATISTIC! BECOME A GOOD DECISION MAKER.
America is a nation of drug takers. Far too many Americans are drug-misusers. By whatever standard it is measured: numbers of users, abusers, cost in dollars, death, disease, violence, shattered lives…
ALCOHOL IS NUMBER ONE.
LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN NOW!
Alcohol is a DEPRESSANT that slows down the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Drinking alcohol causes a loss of inhibitions, which can lead to embarrassing behavior, aggression, sexual abuse, and violence.
Roughly 50% of violent crimes involve people who have been drinking.
People have been drinking alcohol for its intoxicating properties for gazillions of years.
People generally drink alcohol because it makes them feel
• more relaxed, happy, sociable, and confident
• less anxious, less depressed, and able to forget their problems
Other behaviors produced by alcohol include
• slurring words
• reduced inhibitions
• loss of coordination and judgment
• aggressive or rude behavior
Effects on the body: The effect on the nervous system by alcohol can cause
• increased or decreased heart rate (depending on how much you drink)
• bloodshot eyes
• slowed breathing
The long-term effects of excessive alcohol use over many years include liver failure, heart disease, and cancer.
Overdose: Drinking large amounts of alcohol has serious risks. The first signs of real trouble are nausea and vomiting. If you continue to drink at this point, and your Blood Alcohol Content rises, the parts of the brain that control consciousness and breathing are in trouble. The drinker can then fall unconscious, stop breathing, and die within a few minutes.
How quickly does alcohol act? The effects of drinking alcohol are generally felt within a few minutes and persist for several hours.
Drug tests for alcohol: The most common test is to have a person blow up a balloon. The air in the balloon is then tested for the presence of alcohol. A more accurate test is to measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). In the United States it is generally illegal to drive a car with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Many people become unconsciousness at a BAC around 0.30. Values above 0.45 can cause death.
Urine tests can also detect alcohol consumption starting about an hour after drinking. These tests continue to work for several days after a person has stopped drinking.
How many teenagers drink alcohol? Close to 35% of eighth graders say they have used alcohol within the past year.
ARE YOU ONE OF THOSE 8TH GRADERS?