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.

Minors Learn the Dangers of Underage Drinking

Beware of the Grim Reaper

Given that today is Friday the 13th and Americans are a superstitious bunch, I think a recent idea to use The Grim Reaper to help promote awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving is apropos. North Muskegon High School in Michigan were treated to a creative way to make students aware of the number of alcohol-related death they and their peers face daily.

The students arrived at school expecting a treat. Perhaps some candy taped to the outside of their locker, or perhaps a free homework pass.  Instead, they were visited by The Grim Reaper.

Everyone Must Face the Grim Reaper

There is no doubt that many adolescents feel invincible.  Part of maturing is taking risks. All of us who have experienced this phase know all too well that even if we are aware of possible negative repercussions, we are too careful for it to happen to us.

Other than needing oxygen, water and sustenance the only true fact of life is that we all eventually will face the Grim Reaper.

A Great Educational Experience – Every 15 Minutes

At North Muskegon, a pair of off-duty police officers dressed up like the Grim Reaper and collected some students from class, taking them out to a parking lot complete with a car accident, emergency personnel and bloody body underneath blankets on the road.

It is an extremely disturbing statistic, but research has shown that a teenager dies in an alcohol-related accident every 15 minutes in the United States alone. As part of the “Every 15 Minutes” program, the Grim Reaper would bring out another student every 15 minutes.

The students who were visited by the Grim Reaper were sent back to class wearing black T-shirts and not allowed to speak to anyone for the rest of the day. They were call the “living dead.”

It is very difficult to get teens to acknowledge they are not invincible.  Unless they have personally experienced a tragedy involving drinking and driving they do not believe they could possibly become a statistic.  Imaginative ideas like these may help shake these kids loose so that they can look outside the box they have created for themselves and understand their own mortality.

Source: http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/05/north_muskegon_high_school_stu_2.html

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

Can’t Argue Out of This One

It does not matter whether you are a school teacher, firefighter, police officer, doctor, politician or attorney, alcohol can cause a problem in your life.  Sometimes it seems like professional athletes, politicians and lawyers feel like they are invincible or above the law, but reality always will catch up with you if you confront it often enough.

Recently I blogged about a school teacher in the United Kingdom who had been drinking white wine out of a water bottle and a school bus driver who was arrested for a DUI and having a loaded weapon next to her seat.  These were both 57-year-old women showing zero common sense.

OWI – Beware of this Common Offense

Now comes the story of the Town Attorney getting arrested for OWI.  You don’t hear about this offense too often, but I assure you it is quite common. 

Quick – guess what it stands for.  If you answered “operating while intoxicated” you were correct.

If you Can’t Start Your Car Maybe the Problem is You!

Here is how the situation with Town Attorney (Perry McCall) went down.  A police officer from Sellersburg, Indiana found McCall in his car with the key in the ignition trying to start the engine.  The officer heard McCall complaining to someone else in the parking lot that he had been trying to start the engine for 10 minutes.

Police officers are very observant.  Upon hearing this, the officer gave McCall a thorough examination noting his glassy eyes, poor dexterity and a strong odor of alcohol.

Bad Breath

Realizing he might be in trouble with the officer looking over his shoulder, McCall explained to the officer that he was only trying to start the engine for a sober friend who was going to drive the vehicle.  He was with two young women at the time, neither of whom are mentioned in the police report.

There was little doubt of McCall’s drunkenness as he submitted to a breathalyzer on the scene and blew a 0.19.  He currently is facing a number of charges and his punishment could be up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

On the positive side, the Town Council has decided that McCall will keep his job since this will not affect his performance.  On a side note, this is the 2nd time McCall has been cited for OWI, having also been busted in 2001.

Best Customer Service I Have Ever Encountered

Here at Online Alcohol Class, we prefer to use our blog to talk about the goings on with alcohol awareness, alcoholism, underage drinking and related topics. But from time to time, we do like to talk a little about our products and what we offer.

Now you might think from our website that what we offer is just alcohol awareness classes and minor in possession classes. That's not the whole truth. We try to deliver a customer service experience which is superior to every other online and classroom education provider out there.

We know that often our students are in a state of stress. They might have a court related requirement which is looming on the horizon. If they have to take an alcohol class or MIP class they might have other family, legal or personal problems that they are dealing with. So we understand that making the experience with us as smooth as possible will make their lives just a little better.

Here's a recent testimonial we received from a customer:

"Thank you for helping me so quickly. Best customer service I have ever encountered. Greatly appreciated."

We really love getting these unsolicited comments from our customers. In this case, the client needed to make a change to their class and we tried to quickly and courteously respond. Other things that we try to include:

  • Easy to reach customer support. Our customers can contact us both via email and phone. We have a real phone number posted right on our site.
  • A no-nonsense guarantee. If for any reason you aren't satisfied with our product we'll give you a refund. 
  • Fast certificate shipping. We ship our certificates every business day because we understand that once you finish the class you want to get your certificate as soon as you can.
  • Handle special requests. If you have a need for a particular length of class, we'll do it. Other requests? Just call us and ask!
  • An easy to use class. Many companies tell you their products are easy to use. But once you start their program you find out you need flash or download a pdf or other program. Our years of experience has created a truly simple product.
  • Free and helpful blog. This blog is, of course, free. But we spend time trying to give our clients and other people on the web information that we find interesting and hopefully they find interesting. And maybe we try to add a little humor as well?
  • Really great classes. All this wouldn't matter if the class wasn't really great. And by great we mean well researched materials that are presented in a clear and understandable fashion. And we're always trying to improve our classes so your feedback is welcome.

So enough tooting our horn in this blog. Let's get back to the interesting topics that you guys like reading!

Be Aware that Alcohol is a Major Carcinogen

Move over tobacco you have just been passed. According to a recent study by the Cancer Council, alcohol is responsible for 5% of all cancer cases and for as much as 20% of all breast cancer cases. 

Class 1 Carcinogen

According to the leader of the Cancer Council, Ian Olver, alcohol should be classified as a Class One carcinogen. This places alcohol up there right alongside tobacco and asbestos for substances that cause cancer.

In the past alcohol had primarily been associated with liver cancer, as well as cancers of the head and neck. But new evidence has shown that alcohol accelerates the chances of contracting one of the most popular cancers found in women.

Look Out Ladies!

Once again research has come out that alcohol is more hazardous to the health of women than men. Of course alcohol likes to bind with fatty tissue and that has always been a major reason why women are more susceptible to ill effects to their health from alcohol consumption.

Given that it is the primary cause for 1 in 5 breast cancer cases is quite alarming. Twenty-five percent of all cancers found in women in the USA are breast cancer (second only to skin cancer). In 2009 there were an estimated 192,000 new cases of breast cancer in women in the USA alone. That would make alcohol responsible for almost 40,000 cases of breast cancer in women every year.

The key is moderation or abstinence. Even scientists like Olver agree that consuming one alcoholic beverage a day should be fine.

Irish Alcohol Consumption Tragedy

Some parents are more lenient when it comes to their children experimenting and even using drugs or alcohol. Some parents allow their teens to have a drink at the dinner table or even allow their child to go to social gatherings where they have a pretty good idea that drugs and alcohol may be involved.

Still other parents actually serve alcohol to their teens and their friends. The thought process is a rational one – they would keep the children in their home so that they don’t do something stupid like do drugs or drink and drive.

Illegal Stupidity

Despite it sounding rational to many people, providing alcohol to your children and their friends in your own home is not only morally wrong, but illegal. Growing up one of my classmates had a party, without parental consent. One of the kids crashed into a tree after leaving the party. Guess who got sued? Yep – the parents. They are responsible for the alcohol in their home. Be smart don’t supply it.

Irish Tragedy

Perhaps you saw the story out of the United Kingdom last weekend where a 15-year-old Irish girl died at a party after taking drugs. The parents, one of whom is a lecturer at a British university, allowed his 14-year-old daughter to host a party while he and his girlfriend went out.

Of course it was poor common sense to leave these teenagers alone to have a party. The underlying issue here is that middle-class parents are in denial that their children and/or their friends are using drugs.

The key here is to show some common sense. Understand that all teens are exposed to drugs and alcohol. Never assume your kids are different. This tragedy easily could have been avoided had parents had more common sense. Maybe if the children had taken a minor in possession or alcohol awareness class it could have been avoided

Presidential Alcohol Awareness - Part 4

As the 20th Century began to unfold and the United States was flooded with new immigrants, the attitude of a strong majority of people was to sour on alcohol consumption.  This 4-part series on the history of “presidential drinking.”  If you care to go back part 1, part 2 or part 3 which cover the alcohol consumption habits of presidents up through Theodore Roosevelt and into the Prohibition Era.

Role-Model Presidents

As we learned in the third-installment of this series, Teddy Roosevelt was a teetotaler.  Getting back to our original premise that the president is a role model for Americans, the presidents of the early 20th Century led the way.  Following Teddy were Taft and Woodrow Wilson.  Neither Taft nor Wilson drank alcohol.  It was during Wilson’s second term in office that the 18th Amendment was passed and ratified.

It has been said that Warren G. Harding won the presidency in 1921 because of his stature and charisma.  He was a tall (almost 6’4) and supposedly gave off a charismatic aura that drew people to him. 

He, like many US residents, completely disregarded Prohibition Laws.  He liked to drink and was smart enough to realize he really wasn’t smart enough to be President of the United States of America.  He drowned his guilt of being overwhelmed with a constant influx of alcohol and tobacco.  If he wasn’t smoking tobacco he was chewing it.  If it was evening, you could bet there was a drink close by.

A New Deal

While Harding drank despite the laws, Franklin Delano Roosevelt truly ushered in a “New Deal” for alcohol by overturning the 18th Amendment in 1933.  While not a heavy drinker, Franklin was known to indulge in a little bit of spiked egg not.

Following in FDR’s footsteps couldn’t have been easy.  But fortunately for our country the perfect man for the job, although few though him capable of the job, came into the picture.  A man of action who coined the famous phrase “the buck stops here” to show he takes responsibility for all under his command, Truman liked to have at least one shot of Bourbon each day.  He definitely could drink to the point of intoxication on occasion, but certainly was a man of moderation.

All in Moderation

All of the presidents since Truman have been drinkers at some point in their life.  All were fairly moderate drinkers with the exception of Reagan who drank almost no alcohol, and George W Bush who was an alcoholic but did not drink a drop during his presidency.

Some would argue that Gerald Ford was too fond of his gin and tonics, or that Nixon loved his rum and coke, but neither of these two demonstrated drinking problems before, during or after their presidencies. 

During the 60s alcohol seemed to be all the rage.  Just watch an episode of the television series “Mad Men” to get a decent glimpse as to the large role alcohol played in people’s lives.  Perhaps JFK drank more than we thought.

Slick Willie to Obama

Does William Jefferson Clinton have a drinking problem?  They say that if you ever had an accident and were heavily intoxicated at the time, you have a drinking problem.  I do recall Bill tearing his knee while falling down the stairs at golf great Greg Norman’s estate in Florida.  He was intoxicated at the time.  Other than that one incident, Clinton kept his name clean on the alcoholism front, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

As we mentioned earlier, Bush (the 2nd) was a teetotaler his entire time in office.   Current president Barack Obama is definitely a moderate drinker.  They serve sparkling wine at all state functions and he has been known to tip back a beer (Bud Light is his favorite).

That concludes our look at “presidential drinking.”  For the most part the presidents behaved themselves.  Certainly there has not been a heavy drinker in the oval office since Warren G Harding.  Hopefully we will continue to have presidents who model the behavior we should seek ourselves and we hope for our children.