(booze, bevy etc.)
Alcohol is a depressant that can effect people in a huge variety of ways - some folk are pleasantly relaxed by the drug, others lose their inhibitions completely while for the less fortunate it can turn them into mumbling, dribbling bores or crazed psychotic nutters.
It's important to note that even though alcohol is legal, it is still a very powerful and addictive drug that can have a devastating effect on some people's lives
Casual drinking and the occasional blow out can be real fun - heck, the urban75 team spend enough time in the pub - but it's important to be aware of the long term effects and watch out for increasing consumption.
Commonly, drinking brings about a reducing of inhibitions, increased relaxation and sociability and a desire to waffle on and on. Wolfing down more lagers can lead to a loss of control, blurred/double vision, dizziness, wobbly legs, sickness and even loss of consciousness. And if all that wasn't bad enough, wait till the morning when you'll have the King Of Hangovers.
Alcohol slows reaction times, so some activities - like driving, cycling and operating machinery - can get decidedly dodgy. When you're off your box, your ability to make rational decisions goes flying out the window too and this can lead to sexual risk taking (if you're capable - it can also seriously affect performance in that department!) and the increased chance of catching HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Alcohol use has been linked to lots of social problems, including domestic violence and violent crime. The loss of inhibitions can lead to aggressive behaviour. It might also lead to relationship problems - being drunk isn't much of an excuse if you say something to a friend you regret the next day.
Regular use of alcohol can lead to tolerance, so if you're down the pub every night you'll find yourself having to wolf down more and more beers to get the same effect. If you're not exercising, expect to have to invest in some larger size trousers as your waistline expands. More worryingly, but physical dependence can occur for regular drinkers - much like heroin addiction - where the user gets ill without alcohol.
Taking a large dose of alcohol can cause memory loss, so you might not even remember what you said or why. Long-term use of alcohol is known to cause many physical illnesses including liver damage, stomach cancer and heart disease. Alcohol is estimated to cause 28,000 excess deaths per year in England and Wales.(181) 2,000,000 deaths per year worldwide.
Alcohol causes the body to lose heat to the environment - the blood vessels dilate, bringing them closer to the surface of the skin. Alcohol should never be given to someone to 'warm them up' (it will make them feel warmer, but their body will actually cool down).
Alcohol will also reduce a persons sensitivity to pain. It's possible to suffer injuries and not realise until the alcohol wears off - burns, cuts, bruises and even frostbite might go unnoticed. Alcohol causes dehydration, so taking alcohol with other drugs that dehydrate (like speed and ecstasy) is potentially very risky.
A large dose of alcohol will cause overdose leading to loss of consciousness and possibly even death. For a non-tolerant person (someone not drinking regularly) about 30 units (a bottle of spirits) would end in a trip to hospital and could be fatal. If someone is drunk, the only thing that will help them to sober up is time.
The body breaks down alcohol at the rate of one unit per hour - it's metabolised by the liver, which only works at one speed. Giving someone black coffee, speed or a cold shower to sober them up won't make any difference to their metabolism - they'll still be drunk, asleep or awake.e.
Taking alcohol with other drugs that have depressant effects (like heroin, methadone and some prescribed medicines like temazepam, diazepam or valium and antihistamines) will increase the potential for overdose. If you are with someone who has been drinking and loses consciousness, make sure they are in the recovery position and try to stay with them.
Even if they don't overdose, they could vomit while they are unconscious and choke - this is how Jimi Hendrix met his maker. Calling for an ambulance will ensure that they receive medical attention should they need it.
The Health Education Authority (HEA) indicates that 3-4 units a day for a man and 2-3 units a day for a woman are relatively safe benchmarks for drinking. People who regularly drink more than this increase the risks of suffering alcohol-related illnesses.
If you drink, having several alcohol-free days each week will reduce the risk of harm. The HEA suggests that pregnant women should not drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol a week. One unit = half a pint of beer, lager or cider, one glass of wine or one 25 ml measure of spirits. Many of the alcoholic colas, lemonades and other fizzy drinks available contain as much alcohol by volume as beer or cider.
There has been a huge rise in date rape in the UK, where victims have their drinks 'spiked' with drugs like rophynol, GHB and oxycodone. Always keep an eye on your drinks and don't accept opened drinks off strangers. See out date rape guide for more details - be prepared!
The use of Alcohol in this country is legal. There are aspects of alcohol use (such as drinking alcohol before driving and public order offences involving alcohol) which are controlled by law, but generally the legal controls focus on the sale of alcohol to others. It is not against the law to produce alcohol in the form of beer or wine, but distillation is illegal.
Institute of Alcohol Studies - UK
Alcohol info links- worldwide
Alcohol Concern - UK
US Alcohol deaths
UK DrinkLine Youth 0345 32 02 02
Teenage binge drinking
Alcohol & Health (Dept of Health)
Men's alcohol safe limits
Alcohol: calorie guide
Liver deaths rise 'linked to alcohol
Archived urban75 discussion:
> Giving up the booze
This page dedicated to Keith Williams - a good friend and talented guitarist who lost his life to alcohol.
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