Bienville Community Coalition
Alcohol

Can Alcohol Hurt You?

Adults do it all the time, so why should you worry, right? Wrong. As a teen or young adult, your brain is still growing and developing and will continue to do so until the age of 22-24. Studies now prove that drinking alcohol, even in small quantities, can harm that growth.

When you drink alcohol, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream, and then affects the central nervous system. The central nervous system is your brain and spinal cord, which controls all of your body functions.

Even small amounts of alcohol can be risky. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down or depresses the brain. You might start out happy and relaxed, but usually alcohol makes you sad. Alcohol users often cry uncontrollably. It affects your ability to think, speak and even your sense of balance.

In a national study, more than 90% of kids think teens that drink alcohol are not cool. 89% said drinking alcohol between ages 9-13 was never ok.

*Kids Health Study from Nemours


The Effects of Alcohol

  • It can make you physically sick. You could throw up—which is never fun or attractive to others—pass out or worse. You can also wake up the next morning with a hangover, which feels awful.
  • You might act out of character, or say or do something you don’t mean.
  • It can hurt your ability to make good decisions. Kids who drink often act impulsively and do things they otherwise wouldn’t do—including having sex, or trying other drugs they otherwise wouldn’t.
  • You might end up doing something embarrassing. When you drink alcohol, your inhibitions are lessened, and you might regret it—especially since everything can be documented and put on the internet or sent through cell phones.
  • It can get you into trouble—not only with your parents, but potentially with the police, or school administrators. It’s no fun to have to call your parents from jail, get kicked out of school, or get grounded.
  • You might let your guard down, and decide to trust someone you wouldn’t otherwise trust. You might decide to ride in a car with someone who has been drinking, or leave with someone you don’t know at all, which is risky.
  • Teens who drink are more likely to get into fights, both verbally and physically.
  • Teens who drink don’t do as well in school. It can damage your ability to study well and earn good grades.
  • It can affect your ability to perform well in sports, because alcohol affects balance and coordination.
  • Teen drinkers are more likely to gain weight or have health problems like high blood pressure.
  • Alcohol is addictive. If you start drinking when you’re young, it increases your chances for developing alcoholism, especially if it runs in your family. You might start needing alcohol just to feel good.

Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time can result in alcohol poisoning. This is why drinking games can be so dangerous. Violent vomiting is usually the first symptom of alcohol poisoning. You can also feel extremely sleepy, or slip into unconsciousness. You could experience difficulty in breathing or even a seizure. It also can create dangerously low blood sugar. In extreme situations, it can cause death—and no party is worth that.

The Facts About Binge Drinking

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that nearly 38 million or one out of every six Americans have participated in binge drinking. In the Jan. 10 issue of the CDC journal Vital Signs researchers surveyed 458,000 Americans who were 18 and older, asking them how much they had to drink in the past 30 days. The age group with most binge drinkers is 18-34 years.

– CBS, January 12, 2012

In a previous study by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, researchers reported that 29.8% of those 12 and older reported binge drinking in the past month.

– National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2008-2009

Bienville Parish Teens and Binge Drinking

According to the 2014 Louisiana Caring Communities Youth Survey in Bienville Parish:

  • 11% of Bienville Parish 6th through 12th grade students reported binge drinking (having 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row) in the past two weeks.
  • 11.9% of students in Grade 8 as compared to 18.6% in Grade 12 binge drank, supporting research that shows that binge drinking in the past 30 days for adolescents typically increases with age.
  • “Everybody” isn’t binge drinking, and it’s important to get the word out!

Binge Drinking is Dangerous

Drinking large amounts of alcohol (four of five drinks) in a short period of time is known as binge drinking. In Bienville Parish, many teens are daring each other to drink a lot at one time. They’re also playing drinking games. This is extremely dangerous, because it can result in alcohol poisoning.

Binge Drinking Can Lead to Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time can result in alcohol poisoning. This is why drinking games can be so dangerous. Violent vomiting is usually the first symptom of alcohol poisoning. You can also feel extremely sleepy, or slip into unconsciousness. You could experience difficulty in breathing or even a seizure. It also can create dangerously low blood sugar. In extreme situations, it can cause death—and no party is worth that.

  • The first symptom of alcohol poisoning is usually violent vomiting.
  • When teens over drink, it can result in a sleepy feeling, or even unconsciousness.
  • Binge drinkers can experience difficulty in breathing or even have a seizure.
  • Alcohol poisoning can create dangerously low blood sugar levels.
  • In extreme situations, alcohol poisoning can cause death.

Drinking and Driving

According to the CCYS 2014 Survey, nearly 1 in 4 students report riding with a drinking driver during the past 30 days.

Alcohol + Diet Drinks or Energy Drinks

Do Alcohol Mixers Affect Intoxication Levels?

  • Does it make a difference if you drink alcohol with regular or diet sodas? According to a new study, it does. In a study of men and women ages 21-33, those who drank vodka mixed with diet soda had breath alcohol concentrations that were 18% higher after 40 minutes compared to people who drank the same amount of vodka mixed with regular soda.
  • After three to four drinks, people who used diet soda as a mixer had a breath alcohol level that exceeded the legal limit for an adult operating a motor vehicle. People who used regular soda in their drink did not.
  • People who used diet mixers scored worse on a test measuring reaction time than people who used regular mixers. However, both groups reported feeling similar levels of intoxication.
  • The test findings suggest that diet mixers, although lower in calories, may have insidious effects, according to study researcher Cecile Marczinski, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University.

“People think they’re saving some calories by drinking their alcohol with a diet drink, but it’s much more harmful to the body to have a high blood alcohol concentration,” Marczinski said. Regular mixers may slow down the time it takes a person to become intoxicated from drinking, the researchers said.

Alcohol is absorbed by the body when it reaches the small intestine. But the stomach may treat the sugar in regular mixers as if it were food. As a result, the alcohol doesn’t reach the small intestine as quickly. In addition, the artificial sweeteners in diet soda may not delay stomach emptying, so the alcohol travels straight through to the small intestine.

An earlier study found that men who drank vodka mixed with a diet beverage had higher blood alcohol levels than men who drank vodka mixed with a regular beverage. Using an ultrasound, the researchers showed that the regular drink delayed stomach emptying, but the diet drink did not.

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