Irish Need Alcohol Awareness Class

The Irish are known for many things.  One of the things they are known for is drinking alcohol.  Now the Irish government is going on the offensive.

The Irish government plans to put alcohol abuse alongside drug abuse.  However, the drinks industry has concerns about the policy.

Alcohol is a “gateway drug” to illicit drugs such as ecstasy and heroin, and measures to tackle it in the forthcoming National Substance Misuse Strategy will “have to be radical”, according to a member of the steering committee.

The steering committee on substance misuse is due to report in coming weeks and the National Substance Misuse Strategy will be published “before the end of the year.

One plan is to introduce a minimum price for alcohol to stop below-cost selling, to reduce the number of outlets where it is available, to reduce alcohol industry sponsorship of sports and music events and to really strengthen enforcement of the laws against sales to underage customers.

Katherine D’Arcy, acting director of the Alcohol and Beverage Federation of Ireland, said her members did not accept that drugs and alcohol should be treated in the same way.

“Alcohol when enjoyed in moderation is not a health risk, unlike illicit drugs. It is far too complex an issue to say using alcohol leads to taking drugs. There are many more issues.”

The federation is on the steering committee and had “co-operated fully with it”, but she did not comment on possible recommendations.

McCabe said there was probably “no other country, even in northern Europe, where drink, and getting drunk, is seen as so integral to everything – christenings, funerals, retirements, engagements, sports events, concerts, a night out”.

“Drinking alcohol is very much part of our culture,” said McCabe.

“We need to break that. We all know its cost to society, to the economy, the health services, to mental health services.”

Let’s hope McCabe and his Irish brethren are successful in their efforts to curb alcohol consumption.

Killer Alcohol Claims African Lives

Alcohol costs lives every day of the week in every part of the world. In Africa, the alcohol itself is a killer.

In two adjacent weeks in August and September, about 30 people were killed by illicit brews. Others who survive are blinded by the drinks.

So disturbing have these deaths been that President Kibaki ordered the Central Provincial Security Committee to crack down on illegal brews.

The Central PC chaired the “crackdown” session as police across the region conducted impromptu inspection of drinking joints.

He read the riot act to the administrators, reminding them that the fight against illicit brews would form a key appraisal consideration of their performance contract. But the consumption and abuse of illicit brews in the province has a long history.

Indeed, this is what prompted the passing of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act (also known as Mututho laws).

Questions Need to be Answered

The two leading questions, which the government and the provincial political leaders are avoiding, are the following:

First, what actually is the genesis of this alcoholic plague among the Kikuyu?

And second, is it realistic to imagine that by using the police and elite acts passed by Parliament, the ordinary folk can be completely stopped from alcohol, while the rich and the mighty drink barrels of Tusker and Whitecap, which the ordinary folk also want but cannot afford?

To answer the first question, I want to say the following: Among Kenya’s communities, the Kikuyu, more than others, have seen their communal bonds and cultural norms badly damaged by capitalism and Western education.

This has led to the rise of a very disturbing and acquisitive individualism. The result is a society with a very rich and isolated people, on the one hand, and a very large number of very poor and desperate class that can only assuage their desperation by consuming alcohol.

Unfortunately, the alcohol which they can afford is the wretched stuff that often causes death and blindness. Is the government to blame? Should they make alcohol more affordable for the poor? I would like to hear your opinions on these questions.

George Mason University Understands Need for Alcohol Awareness Class

What is college life really about? What do most students get out of their four or more years at the university?

Widening your world view and learning about alcohol consumption are probably the two most common lessons college students take away from university life. Beginning this fall, George Mason University near Washington, D.C.  is offering a class that combines these lessons as part of the curriculum under the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies.

“This class is sort of half experience, half analytical,” said Professor Gabriella Petrick, who teaches the new 3-credit elective Global Health Perspectives on Alcohol. The goal, she said, is to give students “a much greater appreciation of the role that alcohol plays in society. The good and the bad.”

Last week, students gathered in Mason’s nutrition lab a kitchen in the old Metro Diner in Fairfax City to brew beer. Students teamed in groups of about three to make ales such as a festive Christmas-style ale with cinnamon, an Apricot Harvest Wit ale for fall, and a Belgian-style ale. While gathering around tall silver caldrons used to boil water, students added mull extract, orange peel, yeast, hops and other ingredients from their recipe lists to the pots.

Is this Class Really Educational?

During the semester, which ends in December, students will study the history of beer and wine production, learn how grapes are grown and the process of making wine and how grains are malted and turned into beer. They will discuss the social and cultural aspects of alcohol consumption including lessons on the American Prohibition era.

Assignments for the course include two research papers, one on the course material and the other on an aspect of health, social and cultural trends shown through a specific type of alcohol such as vodka.

About 300 students are enrolled in courses offered by the new Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, which began because of heavy interest among students. This includes a cooking group called CAFÉ-GMU, which was started by about 30 students last year and quickly grew to more than 100, she said.

You know my philosophy, there can never be too much education. Perhaps combine this with a nice 24-hour online alcohol class.

Darrell Hammond Needs Alcohol Drug Class

A master of impersonation, Darrell Hammond is recognized almost everywhere he goes. Oftentimes, however, he is not noticed for himself. As a master imitator on the famed NBC television show “Saturday Night Live” Hammond has made a career of playing other celebrities, namely President Bill Clinton.

Hammond sheds light upon his years at SNL as well as all of the drug use and abuse he endured as a member of the cast.

Hammond used drugs, alcohol and cutting himself to deal with a viciously abusive childhood -- and once cut himself so badly that he had to be taken from "SNL" in a strait jacket, he says in his new memoir.

Hammond says his drinking problem led him to miss President Clinton's second inauguration, and that he didn't begin to recover until an emergency room doctor told him he was suffering from a post-traumatic disorder.

Hammond -- who was with "SNL" for 14 seasons and has uttered the phrase "Live from New York, it's Saturday night" more times than anyone else in "SNL" history -- describes his battle with drugs, alcohol and cutting in his new memoir, "God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F---ed: Tales of Stand-Up, 'Saturday Night Live,' and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem."

Among the revelations in the book: 

1. Hammond used impersonations to escape abuse.

Hammond said his mother once purposely cut his tongue -- with a serrated steak knife -- until he bled on their kitchen floor. He says she also used to make him hold out his hand so she could slam car doors on it. When he was five, she hit him in the stomach with a hammer, he said. Hammond said he learned to impersonate people in his neighborhood to distract his mother from hurting him.

2. Grand Marnier got between Hammond and Bill Clinton's second inauguration

The POTUS loved Hammond's impersonation of him and invited him to attend his second inauguration in 1997. But when he got to his Washington, D.C. hotel and spotted Grand Marnier, a liquor he'd never tried before, he got drunk. He not only missed the inauguration, but woke up incoherent at the airport, and had to rely on a stranger to buy him a plane ticket back to New York.

3. He was invited to come "Dancing"

Hammond says he was invited to be a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" a few years ago. His response: "I called my agent and said, 'Tell them I'll be happy to do the show as long as there's no dancing.'"

4. From "SNL" to the ER … in a straitjacket

Hammond said he cut himself because each wound would create "a fresh crisis to get me out of the one in my head. It gave me something else to focus on." But once he cut himself so badly in his "SNL" office that he had to go to the NBC infirmary, and started to scream as the nurse treated him. Hammond was taken away by a paramedic who placed him in a straightjacket.

Hammond is a talented and funny guy, not a role model. Hopefully, this book will help keep him on the straight-and-narrow.

Boston College Knows About Online Alcohol Classes

A certain fact is that college students will drink alcohol. Will anyone disagree with that? The key is keeping the brightest of our nation’s future safe. It is always nice when we see that colleges, hospitals, and other institutions seek to educate their personnel. This has a double-edged positive effect. First, it makes employees aware of the dangers and physical signs of addiction. It also makes everyone who takes aware of the dangers and impacts of alcohol abuse on the human body.

Dateline – Boston College University (as well as every other University in the country)

The college year is in full swing — and so are the keg parties. And the police. In the first month of the school year, the Boston Police Department received 150 criminal complaints against students. His words should be heeded. Please look for the general meaning and peripheral meanings.

“We are not the anti-party police, but if you are going to draw our attention, shame on you,” Superintendent William B. Evans said.

Boston University, one of 32 schools in the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking, has upped the ante in problem areas off-campus in Allston. Extra manpower by both BU and Boston police patrol the student swath known as the GAP (Gardner, Ashford and Pratt streets) on Fridays through Sundays.

Last month, BU police transported 33 students to the hospital for alcohol use. Two underage students were arrested for possession of alcohol, and 24 students were sent to criminal court in Boston and Brookline for possessing or procuring alcohol for minors. BU police officer Peter Shin said transports due to alcohol are up 29 percent from last year. They made a conscious decision this year to step up enforcement, not that we haven’t in previous years.

Boston College in Massachusetts also doesn’t take the issue lightly. “If a student gets documented (imbibing) in a residence hall or by a BC police officer, they are given a referral to us for counseling..

Even with these disciplinary deterrents, university officials know the parties will continue.

For eight years, incoming BC freshmen have been required to take an alcohol education course online before arrival. The school also promotes a drink-safe program called Green Zone ( Students are given wallet-sized cards that show blood alcohol levels based on weight and gender.

But some students see crackdowns as just another back-to-school routine.

A study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that students who took alcohol prevention training online reported reduced alcohol use in the fall semester, but did not follow through in the spring.

“For so many years we were relying on educating students on alcohol. We know now that education doesn’t translate to behavior change,” said Judith McGuire Robinson, associate dean for student outreach and support at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The prevention is about creating a culture that supports low-risk, student safety and student success.”

Mary Lynne Detoni-Hill and Kelly Hoyer, both 19-year-old BU sophomores, said there is little variety in off-campus activities for those not yet 21 years old.

“I’ve always looked on Google for different ideas of stuff to do in Boston,” Detoni-Hill said. “We want to go bowling, but on the weekend it’s 21 and up. During the week we can go but we have class.”

Alcohol consumption and college life has gone hand-in-hand long enough. It is time that colleges embrace a more sober society.

While you serious alcoholics out there may question the validity, it is a fact that serious addiction does not take hold for many years. So, if you can break the addictive behavior cycle early, you may be able to avoid long-term addiction issues.

Ball State Recognizes Need for Alcohol and Drug Awareness Class

Drinking and experimenting with drugs are common in colleges and universities throughout the world. College is after all about education first and foremost. For many college students it is their first opportunity at freedom and independence, both in actions and the choices they make. That’s why educating them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is so important.

Despite the best efforts of Ball State (alma mater of David Letterman and located in Muncie, Indiana) campus organizations and the University Police Department, students continue to find alternative — and sometimes illegal — ways to pass time.

The annual Campus Crime Report shows an increase in on-campus arrests for drug abuse and alcohol violations, something the university has been trying to curb with free activities like Late Nite and athletic events.

Arrests on charges of liquor law violations increased in the past year. Ninety-five arrests were made in 2010. There were 77 arrests in 2009 and 128 in 2008.

While arrests were up, the number of disciplinary referrals decreased. These are citations that do not result in arrest. About 400 referrals were documented on campus and in on-campus housing. That means about 2 percent of the student population has received a referral.

A decrease of more than 100 off-campus citations seems to suggest that students are drinking more in the residence halls than they do off campus

Jerry McKean, associate professor of criminal justice and criminology, said UPD's efforts contribute to overall campus safety in a big way.

It doesn't mean students shouldn't have fun, but maintaining order in the residence halls is important because it's so many people in one space.

Alternative weekend fun

McKean said he's not sure if alternative programs like Late Nite and UPB events help curb drug and alcohol abuse. But he supports their missions nonetheless.

Kay Bales, vice president of Student Affairs, said it's these programs that provide an environment that encourages good choices.

"We take safety very seriously on this campus and work hard to educate students and help them make decisions that help protect their interests and well-being," she said in an email. "We're making progress, even as we realize the ongoing value of the programs we have in place."

All Drunken Drivers: Your 9-year-old is Not a Suitable Designated Driver

As a recovering alcoholic who has driven while intoxicated thousands of times, and having counseled thousands of individuals who also have driven in a drunken state, I never have heard of anyone using their child as a designated driver.

Shawn Weimer from Michigan thought it might be a good idea to have his 9-year-old daughter chauffer him to buy more booze and fill up at a local convenience store. It would be funny if it wasn’t so terrifyingly real.

When officers pulled over the van driven by Weimer’s 9-year-old daughter she asked the police officers, “what did you stop me for? I was driving good.”

Apparently her 39-year-old father had been bragging to convenience store employees that he had a 9-year-old designated driver. Video surveillance shows him dancing in the parking lot next to his van.

By the way, I forgot to mention that this occurred at 3AM.

Like most alcoholics, Weimer had made other stupid decisions. This was not the first time she had driven her inebriated father. She told authorities that she often drove him when he was “drinking whiskey all night.”

By the way, did I mention that he had custody of his child as the responsible parent, separated from his wife.

Weimer is facing 15 years in jail as this latest episode falls on top of a 2007 DUI.

Man, alcohol makes people do stupid things. Now this poor little girl is going to be without one or both parents for quite some time. Of course, it could have been worse...

Cast of "The Hills" Needs Alcohol & Drug Class

I have said time and again that celebrities should not be considered role models.  America’s obsession with celebrities is nothing unique.Europeans, Indians and the rest of the world too idolize their celebrities.

But let’s face it – quite often their behavior is deplorable Like millions of others, I too am hooked on the “The Hills.”

The Hills is a reality television series which originally aired on MTV from May 31, 2006 until July 13, 2010. The show uses a reality television format, following the personal lives of several young adults living in Los Angeles, California, but tends towards a narrative format more commonly found in scripted genres such as soap operas. The series originally followed the personal life of former Laguna Beach star Lauren Conrad and her friends' new lives in Los Angeles, California. After five seasons, Conrad chose to leave the series, and was replaced by another former Laguna Beach star, Kristin Cavallari, beginning in the second half of season five. Cavallari signed on for two additional seasons following the fifth.

Drug Use and Sexual Harassment

A production coordinator for "The Hills" claims she was unmercifully harassed sexually by a male staffer during the filming of the Costa Rica episode, and even "pressured" to smoke marijuana.

In the suit, Eliza Sproul alleges Andres (she doesn't give a last name) -- a Costa Rican local -- was hired by MTV to do grunt work.  She says while they were driving together in 2010, she realized something was up when he took his shirt off and began making sexual advances, including comments such as, "I love your freckles. I like your eyes. Let's just take off."

A while later, Eliza says Andres drove her into the forest and "pressured" her to smoke marijuana.  Eliza has lots of other gripes, including:

  • She had to drive male cast members to a shoot and they were drunk and made crude and offensive jokes
  • She was forced to work insanely long hours
  • She had a meltdown and was abandoned in a hospital.
  • It got so bad doctors gave her Valium.

Again, celebrities and reality TV should never be mimicked.  These people are actors and entertainers, many of whom seem to have no self-control.

Alcohol Awareness Class Could Save America Billions

You hear about how much drugs and alcohol cost us as a nation and society, usually glancing over the outrageous figures.  Take a second to read this short blog – it is an EYE OPENER!

Excessive drinkers aren’t just racking up a tab at their favorite pub or liquor store.

Heavy boozers cost the U.S. economy more than $220 billion in 2006 from lost work productivity, increased health care costs and law enforcement, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The costs from excessive drinking totaled $1.90 per drink and averaged out to $746 per person in the U.S., according to the study. Data from 2006 were the most recent available.

Things may be getting a little better as research from 1998 estimated the costs of excessive drinking then at around $185 billion.

Excessive alcohol consumption is defined as averaging more than a drink per day, binge drinking — four or more drinks for women and five or more for men on a single occasion — or any alcohol consumption at all by pregnant women or underage youth.

The research highlighted the costs incurred by drinkers beyond the damage to their own wallets. About $94.2 billion, or 42%, of the total economic costs were government dollars. Families, mostly through lost household income, bore more than $90 billion in costs.

The study focused solely on the financial impact of drinking way too much. There are no health benefits with excessive drinking.

Binge drinkers represented about three-quarters of the societal costs of excessive drinking, even though they make up about 15% of the total population.

Researchers analyzed data from multiple sources including the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Application, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol-Related Conditions and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Those are staggering numbers.  Perhaps the high school curriculum could add an online alcohol class for all adolescents.  

"Pizza Drinker" Needs Alcohol and Drug Awareness Class

How many pizzas do you have to drink in order to qualify for a driving under the influence violation (DUI)?  No, that is not a trick question.

A Louisville, Kentucky man drove his car into a ditch and then told officers he only had "two pizzas to drink" for lunch.

Police said when officers arrived, an off-duty St. Matthews police officer was talking to the driver, 68-year-old Donn Adams.

Adams seemed confused and disoriented, police said, and told officers he only had two pizzas to drink for lunch (this is possible – I had a college roommate who blended up three slices of sausage and onion pizza and drank it in one gulp – on a dare).

Officers asked Adams if he was under the influence of drugs, and Adams told them he wasn't, but that took Suboxone for an opiate addiction.

Adams did not give officers permission to search his car, but two syringes filled with a brown liquid believed to be heroin were in plain sight in the car.

The excuse - Adams told police that he thought the liquid was heroin that his friend had left in the car.  Adams is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Well, Adams may have not gotten a DUI for his pizza drinking, but the heroin and drug paraphernalia was enough to land him in jail.  Perhaps a good online alcohol class or online drug class will keep him on the straight and narrow.