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Alcohol: Still A Killer

L’Observateur / May 27, 1998

The abuse of alcohol continues to be a major health problem in this country. It has been estimated that if we could do away with all alcohol and tobacco use in this country, we could reduce our total health bill by 50 percent.

Alcohol is also a major factor in accidental deaths, particularly with motor vehicle accidents. One out of every two Americans will be involved in analcohol related accident in his or her lifetime. Most states, includingLouisiana, have open container laws which make it illegal to have open alcoholic beverage containers in vehicles.

Any alcohol in the body causes some functional impairment. A 12-ounce can ofbeer is just as intoxicating as a 5-ounce glass of wine or 1 mixed drink with 1 1/2 ounces of liquor. Black coffee, exercise and cold showers will not soberyou up. Don’t think you are safe if you stick with one kind of drink. It is thequantity of alcohol that counts – not the type. The legally drunk blood alcohol measurement is 0.1 percent.There are safety guidelines which can be followed to avoid drunken driving. Ittakes one hour or more for the body to eliminate the effects of just one drink.

If you host a party, serve a variety of non-alcohol beverages and close the bar one hour before the party is over. Do be aware that the time you must waitafter drinking any alcoholic beverages depends on the amount consumed, gender, general health, medications taken, etc. Be prepared to make alternativetransportation arrangements.

Don’t mix alcohol and other drugs. The combination can kill you or cause you to hurt or kill others. Do eat high protein foods like cheese, meat and eggs beforedrinking to slow down the rate of absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.

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