Alcohol Awareness Month, held every April, was founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Each year, health care organizations and communities connect with the American public with information about alcohol and alcoholism.
Alcohol is an ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. It affects every organ in the body. As a central nervous system depressant, it is rapidly absorbed by the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes. However, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body.
Individuals may vary in their reactions to alcohol and could be influenced by many factors, including:
• Race or ethnicity.
• Physical condition.
• Amount of food consumed before drinking.
• How quickly the alcohol was consumed.
• Use of drugs or prescription medicines.
• Family history of alcohol problems.
The following facts regarding alcohol consumption in the US are quite alarming.
• Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually.
• 4% of all deaths are related to alcohol. Of all alcohol related deaths, 6.2% of casualties are male compared to 1.1% of which are female.
• 320,000 people aged between 15 to 29 years old die annually from alcohol-related causes resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group.
• Only almost 50% of men and 33% of women do not consume alcohol.
• 69% of American adults are confident that they drink responsibility.
• 7,000 American kids under the age of 16 have their first alcoholic drink every day.
• 70% of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involve a driver with a BAC=.15+.
• Drivers with a BAC=.15+ are nine times more likely to have a prior DWI Conviction.
• 63% of full-time college students are current drinkers.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines low risk drinking for women as having not more than three drinks on any single day and not more than seven drinks per week. For men, it is defined as having not more than four drinks on any single day and not more than 14 drinks per week. Research showed that only about 2 in 100 people who drink within these limits have an alcohol use disorder.
To evaluate your alcohol habits, the NIH has a useful tool and pamphlet called Rethink Drinking and there are additional resources available at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.