Alcohol is the most used licit drug (for those 21 and older) in America. In 1997, 3.9% of high-school seniors reported daily drinking, while 81.7% reported using alcohol at least once. Eight million American teens drink weekly and the average college student consumes 34 gallons of alcohol a year.
Alcohol is the leading cause of injury and death in young adults. It is associated with motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides and drownings.
Alcohol abuse is a pattern of problem drinking that results in health, social, academic, vocational, family, legal or financial problems. Repeated use can lead to dependence. Alcohol dependence or alcoholism is a disease characterized by abnormal alcohol-seeking behavior that leads to impaired control over drinking. Withdrawal symptoms include severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening.
The average American child drinks alcohol for the first time at age twelve. Sixteen alcoholic beverages are offered on the average hour of American television: Fifteen are accepted, one is declined. By his twelfth birthday an American child watching only one hour of TV daily, has seen 65,700 alcoholic beverages offered and accepted. 97% of drug-abusing adolescents also use alcohol.
A 12-ounce can of beer, an ounce of 86-proof whiskey and a 4-ounce glass of wine all contain the same amount of alcohol.
Possible effects of alcohol include:
- Impaired judgment, depression
- Sensory alteration, reduced coordination, staggering
- Slurred speech, dilated pupils, drowsiness
- Alcohol odor on breath, aggressive behavior
- Confusion, disorientation, loss of motor nerve control
- Hangover, nausea, headache
- Increase in amount consumed, increased tolerance
- Blackouts characterized by memory loss
- Compromised immune system, sleep problems
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Increased risk of HIV and STD’s.
Lois offers help and hope for individuals and families affected by substance abuse.
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