Alcohol Class Humor

An elderly man is stopped by the police around 1 a. m. and is asked where he is going at this time of night.

The man replies, "I am going to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body. "

The officer then asks, "Really? Who is giving that lecture at this time of night?"

The man replies, "My wife."

The DUI That Got Away

There was definitely a time in my life where I did not trust police officers.  The fact that my body and mind were under the influence of alcohol and other drugs most certainly was a contributing factor. It would come as no surprise that I had run ins with the police on many occasions, many involving alcohol, drugs and shoplifting. 

News of the Weird

The story a supposed-drunken driver ramming into motorists not moving unfortunately is not uncommon. That a breathalyzer showed his blood-alcohol content at the time was 0.19 – not uncommon – but obviously this is on the really drunk side. That the supposed drunken driver is an off-duty police officer, also probably not too uncommon.  The fact that his legal counsel fully expects all charges to be dismissed – who, what, where – how is this going to happen?

This is the case currently going on against former police officer David Bisard in Indianapolis, Indiana.  There is no question that Bisard was driving the vehicle that struck to motorcyclists stopped at a red light. There is no question one of the two died from injuries sustained in that accident. So why on God’s Green Earth is he likely to get away with it?

Somehow the police testing and arresting Bisard “improperly procured” the breathalyzer exam. How does this happen? Obviously something crazy went on because the DA already withdrew the drunken driver charge because he knew it would not be admissable.

Even without the DUI charge, there is the fact that he rammed two motorcyclists – killing one.  Anyway, thought this was a strange story and will try to follow it as it wends its way out.

Underage Drinking By The Numbers

Those of you who follow this blog regularly know that I am a tireless supporter for education on underage drinking.  This is especially true this time of year.  If this looks familiar it is.  I figured you might also like to take a look at some of the current figures regarding underage drinking

Teenagers have this ability to believe they are indestructible and the numbers happen to other people, perhaps those not as careful or as smart as they are. 

Cannot Bury Your Head In The Sand

There can be no denying that underage consumption of alcohol is of concern in our country.  According to a recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes for Health the numbers are not getting any better.

The study showed that almost 15% of eighth graders had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days.  This is especially frightening given that research has proven that the earlier one starts drinking, the more likely they are to have a drinking problem when they get older.

For 10th graders the figure doubles with almost 3 out of every 10 sophomores admitting to having indulged in alcoholic beverages in the past month.  Slightly more than 40% of all high school seniors have imbibed in the past 30 days.

More Alarming Statistics

If the above statistics are somewhat alarming, there are plenty more where that came from.  Almost 25% of all high school students admit to binge drinking in the past month.

Of this group of drinkers 10% admit to having driven while intoxicated in the past month, and almost one in three of this group admit to having been a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunken driver.

When is it going to stop? The answer of course is probably never. But we must continue to educate teens about the dangers and make sure options are available other than drinking alcohol. There also have to be options for teens who already are drunk – to get them and their passengers home safely.

Underage Drinking at the Prom

Those of you who follow this blog regularly know that I am a tireless supporter for education on underage drinking.  This is especially true this time of year.

Prom night is supposed to be one of the highlights of high school  It certainly was for me.  Unfortunately underage drinking not only ruins this night for many, it ruins their lives.  In an effort to combat underage drinking on this night, schools all over the country are putting on live performances showing the horrific impact of drinking and driving.

In an earlier blog entry I mentioned the school that used the Grim reaper as a prop, going in and selecting random students to come out and play the “victim” of a drunken driving accident.  I have noticed many high schools are using the Grim reaper for this purpose.

Drunken Driving Acted Out

DuPage County High School District in Lombard, Illinois is putting on “Operation Prom” a play about the dangers and effects of drinking  and driving – and the actors are students themselves.  This play includes the drunken students, the fiery car crash, the professional medical personnel and of course – the extremely emotional funeral.

Creative ideas like this and the Grim Reaper can have a profound impact on adolescents, especially when they happen right before the event. 

It may seem like teens will never listen, but that does not mean we should quit trying. The goal should always be 100% safety and zero lives lost. Certainly more alcohol education for teens can help.

Students Against Destructive Driving

This is a dangerous time of year for high school students – especially those who drink alcohol.  Underage drinking is at record levels right now with no signs of slowing down. Most of you have heard of the group MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), but have you heard of SADD?

Guess What SADD Stands For?

The answer of course is Students Against Destructive Driving. SADD is becoming a much more vocal group and its voice is being heard since the message is coming from peers not parents.

Recently SADD reported that more than 70% of all high school students have experimented with alcohol before graduation. They estimate almost 40% have tried it before graduating eighth grade.

Alcohol and Decision Making Do Not Mix

The fact is alcohol affects decision-making skills.  Let’s face it there is no doubt that decisions made by teens can be questionable at best. Add alcohol to the mix and well – this is not mathematics where two negatives make a positive. The effect of alcohol on teen decision-making can be hazardous.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that teen drinking is riddled with bad decisions.  It estimates that 90% of teen alcohol consumption is binge drinking.  90% - that is amazing. What is your experience? My recollection of high school drinking would add credence to that number for sure. Another reason for minor in possession classes, for sure!

Student's Revenge for Being Caught in Possession of Alcohol

School officials in the East Bay recently punished the entire senior class after a "disrespectful" food fight escalated in the cafeteria. A harmless food fight is much safer than a bullet in the eye ... or poison in your coffee. 

A student at Oakland International High School reportedly put dry erase fluid and most likely even bleach in her teacher's morning cup of java.

According to student reports, the teacher took a sip of her morning brew and, not surprisingly, spit it right out.

The student who has not been charged as of yet, was allegedly getting revenge on her teacher who got her into trouble after the student brought alcohol to school.  It all starts with alcohol.  The 17-year-old girl could face a charge of attempted murder.

The teacher, who was not harmed, decided not to press charges, yet school officials, who only learned of the incident a day after it happened, aren't taking this lightly. The district has a long history of violence and the board has decided to implement a get-tough policy.  Said policy has not yet been rolled out. 

Noel Gallo, a member of the Oakland school board, that for too long the district has not properly dealt with students' criminal behavior. Now wouldn't a minor in possession class been a good thing for this student to take?

Binge Drinking Your Memory Away

We all know the dangers of alcohol. There is virtually no part of the body that alcohol cannot affect. The most recent study continues to show the dangers of binge drinking, most specifically among youths.

Binge drinking is very popular among college students in the United States. It also is becoming more popular among even younger children in parts of Europe. The Europeans are alarmed by the increase in binge drinking and have undertaken a number of studies. One recent Spanish study revealed that binge drinking by those 18-20 affects their ability to learn new information when it is transmitted to them verbally.

The Spanish study also showed the genetics played no role in whether or not the student’s learning ability was affected by binge drinking. It didn’t matter whether you had a family history of alcoholism or a family of teetotalers, binge drinking affected all groups.

Hippocampus

The part of the brain primarily affected by binge drinking is the hippocampus. This region of the brain plays a pivotal role in learning and memory and appears to be susceptible to the effects of heavy alcohol consumption.

While Southern European countries tend to have young drinkers who drink more often, but moderately, the Northern European countries like Germany, Finland and Norway have seen soaring binge drinking rates.

They can do studies for years and years and the conclusion always will be the same – alcohol is a poison. It would seem that overindulging on a poison might be hazardous to your health!

Alcoholism is a Tough Fight

No matter how tough you think you are. No matter how mentally sound you feel. No matter how focused and in control you may think you are – alcohol can, and given enough time, will eventually kick your butt! Those of you who have grown to know me know that I love a comeback story. I love stories where someone battles the ravages of alcoholism and returns to success. Kelly Pavlik is one of these stories.

Kelly Pavlik – Hometown Hero

A crazy sports fan my entire life I follow many sports on many continents. Who better to exemplify an epic battle with alcohol more than a boxer?

Pavlik, once the hero of Youngstown, Ohio, where he made his working-class family and neighbors proud by fighting his way to the top and becoming both the WBC and WBO Middleweight champion. He was on top of the world – fame and fortune were his oyster.

Loss in Ring Leads to Lost Sense of Purpose

Those of you who are boxing aficionados know that Bernard Hopkins is one tough hombre. It was Hopkins who gave Pavlik his first taste of defeat back in 2008 in a non-title bout. Two years later Pavlik had lost his titles to Sergio Martinez and from there the wheels came off the bus.

The fame and fortune Pavlik had gained from thousands of hours in the gym and dedication to his body, mind and sport were being tossed away. Pavlik, quite simply, was lost.

Knocked Down by Booze

Like many professional athletes who suffer a loss after feeling invincible, Pavlik did not cope well. His best friend became booze and both his personal and professional career suffered. Not to belittle other jobs, but alcoholism can affect a boxer’s professional career much more quickly that say a car salesman or office worker. It does not take long for the human body to lose its edge when not kept in shape.

Questioning himself and his ability, alcohol certainly did nothing to bring up his spirits. Pavlik had worked hard not only on his professional career, but his personal life as well. Married with two lovely, healthy children, Pavlik was the hero in Youngstown, a role model for kids and parents alike.

He never imagined his life could be sunk by alcohol. Who does, really?

Getting Up Off the Canvas

Like the good prize fighter he is, Pavlik lifted himself off the canvas and said the most important eight words of his life – “I am an alcoholic and I need help.” Help for Pavlik was the betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. He checked himself in about six months ago and has been sober ever since.

Back in the Ring

After more than a year out of the ring, Kelly Pavlik finally was back to doing what he loved most – boxing. On May 7th, he completed his comeback from alcoholism by fighting on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Sugar Shane Mosely fight.

After a slow start, Pavlik regained his form and beat the tar out of a determined Texan named Alfonso Lopez. In the end it was a unanimous decision – Kelly Pavlik had not only won the fight against Lopez (unanimously) but showed the world he could beat alcohol addiction as well.

Remember, alcohol is a drug and its use should be strictly controlled. If you or anyone you know is suffering from an alcohol problem please seek help. In addition to social network groups like Al-Anon, there in person and online alcohol awareness courses.

Nevada Alcohol Awareness

I spend a good deal of time driving in the state of Nevada. Actually, as a teacher for alcohol awareness classes, I spend a good deal of time driving all over this great country. Nevada always has struck me as a pretty safe state to drive in.

Nevada Highway Patrol Does Its Job

I give a lot of credit to the safe feeling to the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP). It seems like the state of Nevada has done a great job staffing the NHP. I mean this both that the officers they have seem well-trained (I should know as I have been pulled over for speeding in that great state), but they are abundant (hence me getting nailed for going 75 in a 70 zone on I-25).

Because there are so many officers people drive more slowly. Interstate 25 is an open road with people generally staying within 5 miles per hour of the posted speed limit (which changes every 3 miles or so).

Nevadans Are Being Very Naughty

Despite my belief that Nevada is a safe place to drive, recent statistics prove otherwise. Last year more than 20,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Nevada. This number has increased steadily each year.

In 2006 it was estimated that a little less than 1 out of every 100 drivers in the state of Nevada was arrested for drunken driving. I am sure local authorities were puzzled by this number asking themselves it could possibly be true. Low and behold the figures come out for 2008 showing the ratio has gotten worse with 1 out of every 88 arrested for DUI.

In Washoe County, home to “Biggest Little City in the World” (self-proclaimed-AKA Reno), the rate of DUI arrests increased more than 50% from 200 to 2008.

These are alarming figures. State authorities are supposedly getting their best minds together for a social think tank to decide how to curb this alarming trend.

The Dangers of Alcohol and Energy Drinks

The Extra Boost is Harmful to Your Health

As a counselor for both in person and online alcohol awareness courses, I hear my students talk about the new trend of combining alcohol with caffinated energy drinks such as Red Bull. since I haven't drank alcohol in many years, I wanted to comprehend how this combination got so popular.

If You Drink This, You'll Drink Anything

Think fast - what is any beverage that has alcohol and at least one other ingredient? If you answered "cocktail" - you are correct. The earliest traces of cocktails came into existence in about 1800 when folks combined any type of alcohol with bitters, sugar or water.

The big joke surrounding the consumption of cocktails in the early 1800s was that they were powerful tools for politicans with the thought that if you would down a cocktail, then you would swallow anything. Perhaps that is why I'm so disenchanted with the current state of politics (I'm not swallowing anything).

Is Mixing Such a Good Idea?

There is little doubt that today, in 2011, energy drinks are extremely popularboth them and water with vitamins. Call me a hypocrite, but I just don't get either one of them. I take a multi-vitamin every day and am perfectly content to drink water out of the sink. I feel fortunate to live in a modern society that provides practically free healthy drinking water. While I've never touched energy drinks I do drink caffeinated coffee each morning (and sometimes after dinner).

Other than a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in a cup of coffee I had never combined alcohol with an energy-boosting drink. But combining the depressant - alcohol, with the stimulant - caffeinated energy drink, is the latest craze in alcoholic drinks.

I am sure these concoctions taste good, but are they safe?

Don't Let Yourself Get Gored by the Big Red Bull!

For many consuming either an alcoholic beverage or energy drink is safe. Consuming too many of either has proven to be not just unhealthy, but seriously harmful to your health. Students of my alcohol awareness classes find out about this this in the first couple of hours.

The French have many interesting culinary habits such as eating escargot. Horse meat can be purchased from the local butcher. But there's one thing you can't get in France - Red Bull! I know what you're thinking - you want to know why on Earth they would ban such a seemingly harmless drink?

Red Bull was banned after a number of widely reported and serious health incidents in which Red Bull was drunk. It was capped off by the death of an teenage athlete who died shortly after participating in a basketball game and drinking four cans.

Energy Drinks Side Effects

Research has shown there are more than just the energy-enhancing effects of these energy drinks, both physical and mental. In some people the effects are positive, increasing alertness and stimulating cognitive performance. But, if too many energy drinks are consumed one might experience a "high" from being over-stimulated, but more importantly have serious common side effects like increasing agitation, anxiety and inability to sleep.

Energy drinks are also known to cause nausea, irregular heart beat and even seizures.

Mixing Could be Hazardous to Your Health!

Mixing caffeinated beverages with alcohol is not new. Cuba Libra is a classic example. However, Red Bull and other "modern-day" energy drinks have three times the caffeine than cola.

One of the effects of alcohol is to change the ability of your brain to make rational decisions. It is a fact - alcohol slows the mind's ability to function and slows reaction time. A recent study showed that combining alcoholic beverages with a highly-caffeinated energy drink gave those who drank the toxic mixture a sense that they were more in control. This side effect might cause those who consume mixtures to take more risks than had they just consumed alcohol alone.

Also, those mixing energy drinks and alcohol tended to consume about two more drinks and believe they still had control. Many students with blood-alcohol levels well above the legal limit thought they were "100% in control." The false sense of sobriety provided by these energy drinks has a serious adverse effect on cognitive ability. Many students later had to take a minor in consumption class to learn that they actually weren't in control.