(runs in the family) and environmental factors
More on Alcohol and Health
Poll finds that parents of teens think alcohol ads have a
serious effect on teen drinking habits
or Download the
Peter Heart Survey, Alcohol
Advertising troubling to parents.
Get Info On Talking to your
kids about Alcohol from NIAAA
Sign Petition for Alcohol Warning on products and promotions
More than 40% of individuals
who begin alcohol consumption at age 13 or younger will develop alcohol
dependence. (suffer from Alcoholism)
-Source: Grant B.E., Dawson, DA, 1997. Age onset of alcohol use
and association with DSM IV alcohol abuse and dependence, Results from
the National Longitudinal Study
Young people ages 12 to 20 saw two
beer or ale ads in 2001 for every three such commercials aired on
programs viewed primarily by adults.
has three of the top 92 markets ranked by the number of alcohol ads on
- New Orleans ranked 56th -- 63,811 alcohol
- Shreveport ranked 66th -- 63,571 alcohol
- Baton Rouge ranked 91st -- 63,074 alcohol
A recent report found that substance
abuse and addiction will add at least $41 billion—10 percent—to the
costs of elementary and secondary education this year, due to class
disruption and violence, special education and tutoring, teacher
turnover, truancy, children left behind, student assistance programs,
property damage, injury and counseling.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia
|NHSDA Report April
2002 Binge Drinking Facts:
In 2000, almost one in five underage persons
aged 12 to 20 was a binge drinker, drinking five or more drinks on
the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days.
The rate of binge drinking among underage persons
was almost as high as among adults aged 21 or older.
Underage persons who reported binge drinking were
7 times more likely to report using illicit drugs during the past
month than underage persons who did not binge drink.
Alcohol Overdose-Alcohol Poisoning
by John Brick
Ph.D., M.A., F.A.P.A.
Alcohol is a central nervous system
depressant that affects virtually every organ in the human body.
Most people have general knowledge about the consequences of
alcohol intoxication and risk for a fatal automobile crash, and
some often-fatal medical consequences of long term alcohol abuse,
such as liver disease or risk for cardiovascular disease. Fewer
people realize that deaths from alcohol overdoses occur as often
as for other drugs.
Alcohol can be produced in nature when airborne yeast combines
with water and sugars from fruits, for example. Many years ago,
some thirsty human probably stumbled onto a fruit tree or a puddle
of water in which such natural fermentation occurred. The mild
intoxicating effects from that first alcohol encounter were
probably quite a surprise, but unlikely fatal, because
fermentation stops naturally when alcohol from yeasts reach
concentrations of about 15%. However, when large quantities of low
concentration alcohol or smaller quantities of distilled alcohol
are ingested, the risk for a fatal reaction is present.
Fortunately, most people who drink alcohol, even to excess, do not
die from acute intoxication. Yet about 50,000 reported cases of
alcohol poisoning occur each year, and about once a week someone
dies from alcohol poisoning. Understanding the symptoms and causes
of a toxic reaction, and responding intelligently to such a
situation, can avert a fatal overdose.
How Alcohol Kills
Death from alcohol overdose can occur
through several physiological mechanisms. When the concentration of
alcohol in the brain becomes high enough to depress the brain areas
responsible for the control of consciousness and respiration, for
example, the drinker lapses into a coma, stops breathing, and dies
within minutes. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol can
kill just as easily as barbiturates, heroin or other depressants,
because when organs that are necessary for life support fail, so
does the patient. Even superficial examination of the term in-toxic-ation,
should alert the consumer that alcohol is a toxin, and can be toxic
(deadly). The consumption of even small quantities of non-beverage
types of alcohol, such as methanol or rubbing alcohol, can be fatal
(see Brick 2003).
In many cases, overindulgence will produce an early symptom of
toxicity from alcohol: nausea and vomiting. Most people stop
drinking after such a reaction. Although tolerance to alcohol can
significantly increase the threshold for this effect, the threshold
for a fatal overdose does not increase in proportion to other
behavioral effects of this drug.
Contrary to street wisdom, mixing drinks generally does not make you
sick. However, people who mix drinks may be consuming more alcohol
because they are sampling different kinds, which will increase their
blood alcohol concentration. Drinking games, sweet tasting alcoholic
drinks, or novelties such as Jell-O shots can be deceptive in terms
of gauging alcohol consumption. Being caught up in the excitement,
or having a significant delay between the consumption of a large
quantity of alcohol and the eventual effect, can be dangerous. If
blood alcohol concentrations increase very rapidly or reach high
concentrations, specialized cells in the brain detect this change
and send signals to the stomach to violently contract. This is the
brain's way of trying to save itself! Removing unabsorbed alcohol
from the stomach through a vomit reflex will prevent blood alcohol
levels from increasing further.
Although vomiting is certainly helpful in many overdose situations,
it can also be fatal. As a depressant, high blood alcohol
concentrations will produce depression, even coma. The drinker will
no longer be able to maintain consciousness. If someone is in a deep
sleep from the depressant effects of alcohol and vomits reflexively,
he may asphyxiate on his own vomit and be too intoxicated to know or
How Much is Too Much?
Scientists use the term "lethal dose"
(LD) to describe the dose (or in the case of alcohol, the
concentration) that produces death in half the population (LD:50).
Most authorities agree that blood alcohol concentrations in the 0.40
- 0.50% range meet the requirements for the LD:50. The blood alcohol
concentration is the percentage of alcohol in the blood that results
after alcohol is absorbed from the stomach into the blood supply.
Obviously, studies of lethal dosage cannot be tested empirically in
the laboratory, so the LD:50 for alcohol is estimated from
post-mortem cases in which alcohol poisoning was found to be the
primary cause of death. However, there are documented cases of fatal
overdoses from alcohol at blood alcohol concentrations lower than
0.40%. To place this in perspective, a 100-pound woman or man who
consumed 9-10 standard drinks, respectively, in less than an hour
would be in the LD:50 range. A 200-pound man would have to consume
about 5-6 drinks per hour for 4 hours to reach the LD:50. Although
such high rates of consumption are atypical of most situations,
participating in drinking "games" or club "initiations" often
involves highly unregulated alcohol consumption. Impaired judgment
from intoxication, coupled with large amounts of alcohol, is a
potentially fatal combination.
Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
The first symptom of alcohol poisoning
is nausea, followed by vomiting. These indicia are messages from
your body that you overdid it. In general increasing order of
severity, the following list of signs and symptoms are indicative of
- No withdrawal from painful
stimuli (e.g., pinching)
The most difficult part of saving
someone from an alcohol overdose does not occur in the Emergency
Room, nor does it involve a complex medical treatment. The most
difficult aspect of an overdose case is making the decision to do
something. Fear of possible legal implications (e.g., for underage
drinkers), embarrassment, or not having the information to make a
decision can also be fatal.
If someone who has been drinking heavily persists in falling asleep,
waken him or her. If the person does not respond easily, it is time
to call the police emergency number (911) and ask for assistance. Do
not assume that your friend will sleep it off or would prefer not to
be disturbed. Getting the person home and in bed is not a solution,
and may actually place the drinker at risk, because he or she is no
longer being observed. If you reasonably believe that other drugs
were also ingested, be sure to tell the ambulance personnel. Alcohol
in combination with other drugs accounts for about a third of all
drug overdose cases in the US.
Brick, J. (1996). Alcohol Poisoning.
Technical Document No. 1. Retrieved March 10, 2003, from Intoxikon
Brick, J. (2003). Characteristics of
alcohol: chemistry, use and abuse. In J. Brick (Ed.), Handbook of
the medical consequences of alcohol and drug abuse (pp 1-11).
New York: Haworth Medical Press.
Brick, J., (2003). Medical consequences
of alcohol abuse. In J. Brick (Ed.), Handbook of the medical
consequences of alcohol and drug abuse (pp 13-93). New York:
Haworth Medical Press.
Litovitz, T.L, Holm, K.C., Clancy, C.,
Schmitz, B.F., Clark, L.R. and Oderda, G.M. (1993). 1992 annual
report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic
Exposure Surveillance System. American Journal of Emergency
Medicine 11(5), 494-555.
John Brick, Ph.D., M.A.,
Biological psychologist and Executive Director of
an education and consulting firm located at:
1006 Floral Vale
Yardley, Pennsylvania 19067
Center of Alcohol Studies
607 Allison Road,
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8001
CAS Library (732)445-4442
The alcohol industry poured money into advertising in
Alcohol at the check out, iced down seem like a bad idea?
CDC Report on effect on our kids!
Ads for Alcohol are not providing information about harms.
Youth Get one side of the
story with alcohol ads, and what the alcohol industry is not telling the
public is the very real risk of alcohol overdose/death.
fail to mention the truth about alcohol poisoning.
According to the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2.6 million young people
do not know that a person can die of an overdose of alcohol. Alcohol
poisoning occurs when a person drinks a large quantity of alcohol in a
short amount of time.
Harm to Youth-
It's A Brain Thing!
Report on harm to the Brain of Youth who drink alcohol.