Alcohol is a distilled liquid from fermented fruits, grains and vegetables. It is also used as a solvent, antiseptic, and as a sedative.
How does alcohol work in the body?
Many people drink alcohol to “relax,” to be sociable at a party or other gathering, or for a cheap “high.” Alcohol works in the body as a depressant, slowing the brain’s functions. The more someone drinks, the more the central nervous system slows down, sometimes to a dangerous point. As little as two beers or drinks can impair coordination and thinking. With prolonged drinking of alcohol, the brain and other bodily organs are permanently damaged.
What are the short-term effects?
The relaxed feeling of alcohol use makes people more likely to do dangerous things—things like driving while impaired or even trying other drugs that they would normally avoid.
Alcohol impairs your judgement. Because alcohol is a sedative, it slows you down, reducing the time it takes your to process information and react to situations. Alcohol reduces your ability to see distant objects and night vision can be reduced by 25 percent. Blurred and double vision can also occur. Ability to perceive what is happening at the roadside is weakened. Loss of peripheral vision could be crucial. Alcohol may also create a sense of overconfidence, with the result that people are willing to take greater risks.
How can you tell if someone is drunk?
Alcohol works in the body as a depressant, slowing the brain’s function. The more someone drinks, the more the central nervous system slows down, sometimes to a dangerous point. As little as two beers or drinks can impair coordination and thinking.
Signs of drunkenness include:
A standard drink of alcohol is equal to:
Alcoholism can happen at any age. It is generally defined by these symptoms:
How common is alcohol abuse?
Binge drinking means drinking five or more alcoholic beverages on the same occasion on at least one day in the past month. Some experts say the standard is five or more drinks for men, and four or more for women.
How dangerous is binge drinking?
Binge drinking dangerously raises the level of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. That quantity is measured by blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. For instance, having a BAC of 0.10 percent means that a person has 1 part alcohol per 1,000 parts in the body. Currently, it is illegal in Michigan to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08. It’s important to note that alcohol can affect your driving skills at even lower BAC rates. For people under 21, drinking any alcohol is against the law.
How much is too much? If a 160-pound person has three drinks in an hour, he or she can flunk the BAC test. For women, it’s often less than that. So the more a person drinks, the more dangerous the individual is, especially on the road.
People can also die from alcohol poisoning if they binge drink. So much alcohol floods a person’s system that they can go into a coma, and their heart stops beating. Remember that the next time someone wants you to participate in a drinking contest or hands you a large glass of beer.
What’s the difference between binge drinkers and alcoholics?
Binge drinking is not alcoholism, but drinking so much can put a person at higher risk of alcohol addiction. Alcoholism can happen at any age.
How common is binge drinking?
Alcohol poisoning is the most serious result from binge drinking. Alcohol poisoning happens when too much alcohol is consumed, and the brain is deprived of oxygen. Breathing and heart rate may slow, then stop completely, and the person dies. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
How do I counter the pressure to drink alcohol? If you believe everything you see and hear, you might think that drinking alcohol makes you sexy and successful. They reality is a much different picture. Drinking too much can make you vomit — that’s not a sext picture. All the “good” feelings of drinking are countered by equally bad results: hangovers, sickness, and sometimes a lapse of memory where you’re not certain where you’ve been what you did or what happened to you.
If your fiends try to pressure you to drink, think about whether real friends would want you to do something you’re not comfortable with — especially if you’re underaged. Is impressing your friends worth making a fool of yourself by getting ill, or even worse — killing someone while you’re driving drunk?
Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug, one whose addictive qualities are often glossed over. Hangovers are often made fun of in the movies or on TV, but the reality of alcohol addiction isn’t very comical. People lose their jobs, get into fatal car accidents, and have serious health problems from drinking too much. Memory loss—commonly called “blackouts”—is common among heavy alcohol users.
It’s the Law!
Laws forbidding underaged drinking are in place for a reason: to protect young people and those they may injure. Driving under the influence of alcohol carries heavy penalties including probation, loss of license, and for repeat offenders—jail time. But no punishment could be worse than carrying the burden of knowing that you killed someone because you drank and got behind the wheel of a car. Remember that when someone says, “Just one won’t hurt you.” One drink can hurt you—and you’re better off without it!
.08 Lower Limit, Tougher Law. On September 30, 2003, Michigan became the 44th state in America to lower its drunk driving standard to .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Previously, Michigan had a two-tiered standard which treated .10 as “drunk driving” and .08-.09 as “driving impaired.”
Why has Michigan Lowered the Drunk Driving Standard?
Although you may feel capable of driving at .08, you run serious risks to yourself and others. Please, play it safe.
It’s Not Just About Alcohol
Drivers with any trace of non-medical drugs in their systems are subject to the same fines and penalties as drunk drivers, even if they show no signs of impairment. Among the prosecutable substances: