Does Alcohol Make People Crazy?

There is no doubt people do stupid things when they drink alcohol.  All you have to do is turn on Tru TV and watch any one of the “World’s Dumbest…” shows to see how people do especially stupid things when they drink booze.

Child Abuse

You have to wonder how much damage alcohol had done to the brain of one Marla Lemer. The 43-year-old was arrested and charged with felony child abuse and neglect when she knocked her daughter to the floor and pinned her down in an effort to take the money the girl had earned selling raffle tickets for school. Why would a sane mother do that to her daughter? Lemer needed the money to buy vodka!

Total Brain Damage?

The story gets worse. Lemer was set for a preliminary hearing earlier this week and showed up to the court house intoxicated. I am not talking about a little woozy because she mixed Robitussin with Tylenol Cold, I am talking totally soused! Her blood alcohol concentration was .22% - almost three times the legal limit in the state of North Dakota.

Her punishment – Go to Jail – Go Directly to Jail – Do Not Pass Go! Would it surprise you to know that Lemer is on probation for DUI and is not supposed to have or drink alcohol?  I thought not. Here’s a prayer for Mrs. Lemer to give up alcohol and become the responsible adult she signed up to be when she had a child!

Broadcasting the Wrong Message about Alcohol

It seems like every week some celebrity, professional athlete or noteworthy person is getting arrested for driving under the influence. These people make millions of dollars but prove they are human and make very stupid decisions by drinking and driving. Add Former Chicago Cubs all-star first baseman Mark Grace to that list.

Grace’s arrest comes less than a week after NFL great Joe Montana’s son, Nate Montana, was booked under the same charges. Montana is the starting quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He is currently a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Grace spent 15 years in the major leagues, most of it with the Cubs. A career .303 hitter, Grace finished with 2,445 hits and made the All-Star team five times before retiring in 2003.

He was arrested last month after an officer in Scottsdale, Arizona spotted his 2009 Jaguar swerving around the road.  It was 1AM.  Grace admitted to having a few drinks and when asked how he performed his field sobriety test he responded with, “Not well enough.”

What Grace did have was a young woman in the car, but no wallet or driver’s license. His blood test has not come back with what his blood alcohol concentration was at the time, but he was nevertheless arrested and booked with DUI.

While it saddens me to see the affable guy with the great left-handed swing arrested, it really is just another story of a millionaire making a dumb decision to drink and drive. Maybe we'll see him in one of our online alcohol awareness classes?

Dumb Decision Tend to Compound!

Emotions can lead to irrational decisions.  Emotions and alcohol together make for a lethal decision-making combination!  The following story is played out around the country on a seemingly daily basis with incredibly intoxicated people making one bad decision after another. 

Nebraska Cops Episode

Police officers in Chadron, Nebraska have been busy lately with alcohol related disturbances, and one instance escalated to an officer allegedly being assaulted in the process of a DUI investigation. Of course this altercation began after midnight (***bad decision alert).

It began with a police sergeant making contact with a male and female involved in a verbal argument. The 20-year-old female was running down the street without a shirt (***bad decision alert).

It Could Have Ended Well

After a short period of time, both the male and female were released, then a short time later, another officer observed the same female laying in an intersection near a parked pickup.  It turns out the female, later identified as Jessica Benson had fallen, and he male companion/arguing partner, 24-year-old Ty Werdel drove his truck to pick her up (*** very bad decision alert)

When officers approached him they detected a strong odor of alcohol and initiated a DUI investigation on Werdel.

Then it gets Worse

While officers tried to investigate Werdel’s DUI Benson began to hinder and physically disrupt the ongoing investigation (*** very bad decision alert), and approached the officer’s location while shouting profanities. She was asked to step back repeatedly, but instead walked up to a patrol vehicle and began pounding her fists on it.  She became even more irate when told she was now under arrest.

The Snowball Gains Size and Momentum

Two of their friends showed up making it three intoxicated males on the scene (**bad decision alert), along with Benson and the officers.  The pugilistic Benson then punched the arresting officer (***extremely bad decision). 

An altercation ensued between the arresting officer, and the second officer un-holstered his taser to keep the other subjects from becoming engaged in the altercation. During the scuffle, Benson grabbed the officer in the groin (***very bad decision), and after being handcuffed, she kicked him in the groin again (***ditto on bad decision).

Benson was transported to the Dawes County Jail and charged with Assault on an Officer in the 3rd Degree (a Class IIIA Felony), Obstructing a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest (both Class I Misdemeanors), and Minor In Possession of Alcohol (a Class III Misdemeanor). Werdel was placed under arrest for Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol above .15 (a Class W Misdemeanor), and was housed at the Dawes County Jail.

And to think they had already been released by police and given a second chance not to have their night and perhaps the rest of their lives ruined with felony charges

Mumbai Trying to Join World’s Drinking Elite?

Question – how old should a person be before they are legally allowed to drink and purchase alcoholic beverages?  In the United States of course the age is 21.  In Europe the age is 18. In India it has just been increased to 25!

The rule has attracted strong reactions from all sections of society. Many feel it is regressive and not the best way to get youngsters to drink responsibly.

Old Enough to Own a Liquor Company but not drink – huh?

The rule has attracted strong reactions from all sections of society. Many feel it is regressive and not the best way to get youngsters to drink responsibly.

Author Shobhaa De said, "The rule is not just regressive, it is also unrealistic and impractical. Enforcing it will prove to be a nightmare. Twenty-five is seen as the new middle age these days. Try curbing a 25-year-old's desire to knock back a drink. Most young Indians are married and parents by that ripe old age. They decide for themselves what they want in life."

Actor Imran Khan said, "It's completely unfair to expect that one has to wait till 25 years to exercise his freedom of choice regarding one's lifestyle. Young India is not as irresponsible as the older establishment assumes it to be."

24-year-old Sid Mallya is GM and owner of the third largest liquor company in the world. Guess what? It's illegal for him to drink!

What do you think? Should the drinking age be raised? Should alcohol be banned?

Bootleg Booze Can Kill

There is no doubt that home manufacturing of alcoholic beverages has become easier through the years. Charlie Papazian’s groundbreaking book The Complete Joy of Home Brewing facilitated brewing beer and thousands of people make their own wine.  Throughout America’s history citizens have been building stills and manufacturing their own grain alcohol.  One of the primary types of homemade alcohol is called “Moonshine.”

While home-crafted alcohols can be delicious, it can also be deadly to both the makers and the consumers.

4 Dead from Bad Booze

Hence this blog entry about 4 Russian tour guides who died after drinking bootleg alcohol in Turkey. The Russians died Monday after consuming fake liquor during a yacht tour in the Aegean Sea. The three other Russian tour guides died for the same reason earlier, including one who passed away shortly after returning to Moscow.

The cause of death in this case was methyl alcohol which is often used to illegally produce cheap liquor.  It makes less expensive to manufacture by avoiding government controls and high taxes.

In 2009, such alcohol killed 11 people, including three German students who had travelled to Turkey on a class trip. In 2005, three Turks were sentenced to eight years in prison for distributing bootleg liquor after more than 20 people died of it.

The motto of this story is be careful if you making alcohol or consuming an alcoholic beverage that is homemade.

Celebrity DUI – Part 2

As defined by Merriam-Webster, celebrity is “a famous or celebrated person (”. Synonyms include, “big name, cause celebre, celeb, figure, icon, light, luminary, megastar,  somebody, standout, star, superstar, and VIP (Ibid)”.

Two words you do not see mentioned are “role model”. While it may not be a reason for inclusion in Merriam-Webster’s definition there is no doubt celebrities often do not comport themselves in a manner you would want modeled. We talked some about celebrities in Celebrity DUI Part 1. Now here's part 2.

Don’t Drink & Drive Like These Socialites

Among the youthful Hollywood “A List” are a group of hard-partying kids with alcohol issues.  Right at the top of the list has to be the celebrity whose only reason for being a celebrity is celebrity itself (if that made sense to you perhaps this socialite should be a celebrity) – Paris Hilton.

Besides having a homemade sex tape exposed she was arrested for driving under the influence back in September 2006.  Her punishment was 3 years of probation and a mandatory alcohol awareness class. She later was arrested and charged with driving on a suspended license and spent 23 days in the slammer.

No less a celebrity whose life is even more of a train-wreck than Hilton’s is the uber-naughty Lindsay Lohan (who has also made an appearance on our theft blog).  She may well be the reigning Hollywood “bad girl”. The naughty Miss Lohan was first busted for DUI in May 2007 when her car jumped a curb.

A rehab stint later and she was back behind the wheel loaded in July 2007.  That’s right 2 months later. When police tested her she had a BAC of 0.13. She also had a small baggie of cocaine in her pocket.

These two epitomize a fairly suspect group of young celebrities. Take heed–do not celebrate the deeds of these out of control celebrities by miming their actions.

Michigan's Super-Drunk Driving Law

If you live in Michigan and are caught driving under the influence (DUI) you may be facing much tougher penalties if you are totally wasted.  Recently the Michigan State Legislature passed a “Super-Drunk Driving” law which toughens the penalties if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) shows you are more than double the legal limit.

Double The Limit – Double The Punishment

The seven-month-old law doubles the amount of possible jail time to 180 days and includes a full one year of alcohol rehabilitation course.  Since it has been enacted it appears judges are not doling out the longer prison sentences, but are strictly enforcing the year-long rehab course.  The primary reason extended jail time is not being given is due to severe over-crowding in state prisons.

"You aren't seeing more people go to jail for longer periods of time," said Eaton County District Judge Harvey Hoffman, who was a proponent of the new law. "People are more readily putting themselves into those (alcohol rehabilitation) programs. I think in the long run it might be very beneficial."

So far 39 people have been charged under the new law, with 33 able to plead down to lesser charges.  The countywide sobriety court gives offenders an aggressive, tailored program for recovery and requires an in-court review by a judge, probation officer and treatment official about every two weeks.

It should be interesting to follow the recidivism rates among the drivers who go through this program.

Celebrity DUI – Part 1

There is no doubt that celebrities are exalted in this country. Maybe not quite as much as the Royal Family in Great Britain, nevertheless American’s adore their celebrities. The questions are out there.

The Questions:

  • Are celebrities role models?
  • Do people imitate celebrities?
  • Should celebrities be role models?
  • Should people imitate celebrities?

The only question with a definitive is answer is that yes, people imitate celebrities.  Look no further than the “Little Monsters” following Lady Gaga or all the “Gangsta” rappers.  They do.  Whether you think they are role models or not really depends on the each individual person’s desire to follow a celebrity example or not.

I certainly think we would like the young stars of today to be good examples for our youngsters growing up!  I am sure if you have kids who are in the impressionable years (they all are impressionable), especially tween through teen, you want your kids following people who have a positive influence on their lives.

Enough of the Babble, Already

This blog entry, as well as the others that follow, will not answer any of the above questions.  I can assure you that after reading the majority of these blog entries you will hope that the behavior of those being blogged about do not influence you, anyone you love, or anyone at all for that matter!

An Example

I won’t just tease you.  Here is one example of “Celebrity DUI.”  Let’s start at the top – the former President of the United States – George W. Bush!!!

A 30-year-old Bush was arrested and pled guilty in the state of Maine in 1976. As punishment he paid a $150 fine and had his Maine’s driver’s license temporarily revoked!  Until next time…

Alcohol Education Works!

Everyone always likes a little good news.  When it comes to studies, surveys and statistics related to alcohol, the findings generally are somewhat terrifying.

Alcohol Awareness Classes Are Working

This is why I would like you to be aware of a recent survey by the Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Programs.This survey revealed that all this alcohol awareness may be working. 

The survey showed that various statistics regarding alcohol consumption have seen a decline since 2007.  It showed that only has alcohol use slowed down, but binge drinking and the problems associated with alcohol have been reduced as well. The study also showed that underage drinking and driving under the influence may also be on the decline!

The study was done on a group of students who were chosen randomly.  It showed that binge drinking was down almost 5% and the total number of students who had consumed alcohol in the past month had declined about 3.5%.

Other uplifting stats that the survey showed that underage drinking was down over 4% and the number of students driving under the influence declined over 8%.

Many of the students surveyed admitted that they had had problems after drinking alcohol in the past and had learned from their own experience.  

Anyway, just thought I’d pass on a little good news!