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Health Matters Newsletter from LoGrasso Health Center
Alcohol Issue: September 2007


Alcohol: What You Don’t Know Can Harm You


Going off to college is a monumental step in the life of a young adult.  It is a stage of life marked by change and exploration.  You move from your parents home into a dormitory or student housing unit, meet new friends, and discover what it truly is to be out on your own, making your own decisions, including the decision to drink alcohol.  For many students, drinking is seen as a rite of passage, as part of having fun, of lowering social inhibitions.


Alcohol abuse is now a widespread problem on the nation’s college campuses.  The consequences of excessive drinking by college students are more significant, more destructive and more costly than many parents realize. Studies show that four out of five college students drink alcohol.  Two out of five report binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more for women in one sitting).  One in five students report three or more binge episodes over a period of two weeks. 


Statistics to make you think before you take another drink…..

Death: 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.

Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 each year are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.

Assault: More then 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 each year are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.

Sexual Abuse:  More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 each year are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.


Alcohol Does the Body Bad…….




Before a person feels “drunk”, alcohol has already stopped messages from going  to the brain. Even small amounts of alcohol affect judgment and reaction time.    When   you can’t think clearly, it’s hard to make good decisions. Your brain may  take as long as 48 hours to return to normal after a big night of drinking. Long    term, heavy drinking can cause permanent damage to the brain.  It can cause problems with memory, thinking and concentration.


Coordination and Balance

 Even small amounts of alcohol can affect coordination and balance.  This makes it  easier to fall or get into an accident.




Heavy drinking affects the immune system, making it easier to get lung    infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.



The liver cleans poisons, including alcohol from the body.  The more alcohol a   person drinks, the harder the liver has to work. People who drink regularly for  many years can have serious liver damage and may even get liver cancer. If the liver is damaged badly enough, it can stop working, causing the person to die.



Alcohol irritates the stomach.  A little can cause nausea.  A lot can make you vomit. Excessive drinking can cause ulcers in the stomach which may eventually bleed.




The pancreas helps regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. Long term heavy  drinking can lead to inflammation of the pancreas causing severe abdominal pain,  malfunction, and eventually death.


Do you really know how much you had to drink???


Most people don’t know what counts as a standard drink, and therefore, don’t realize how many standard drinks are in the containers in which these drinks are sold.


For beer, the approximate number of standard drinks in

12 oz can/bottle of beer  = 1 standard drink

16 oz can/bottle of beer = 1.3 standard drinks

22 oz can/bottle of beer  = 2 standard drinks

40 oz can/bottle of beer = 3.3 standard drinks


For malt liquor, the approximate number of standard drinks in

            12 oz  malt liquor = 1.5 standard drinks

            16 oz  malt liquor = 2 standard drinks

            22 oz malt liquor = 2.5 standard drinks

            40 oz malt liquor = 4.5 standard drinks


For table wine, the approximate number of standard dinks in

            A standard 750 ml (25 oz) bottle of wine = 5 standard drinks


For 80-proof spirits or “hard liquor”, the approximate number of standard dinks in

            a mixed drink = 1 or more standard drinks

            a fifth (25 oz) = 17 standard drinks

            a pint (16oz) = 11 standard drinks

            1.75 L (59 oz) = 39 standard drinks



Past the point of possible no return……


Excessive drinking can be hazardous to everyone’s health!!! Some people laugh at the behavior of others who are drunk.  Some think that it’s even funnier when they pass out.  As you are laughing about the drunk who has passed out in the corner, there a couple of things that you should know.


It is common for someone who has indulged in an excessive amount of  alcohol to vomit since the alcohol is an irritant.  Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the ability to gag (which prevent choking).  Typically, one of the biggest concerns when someone vomits, and is unable to control their gag reflex to prevent choking, is aspiration of the vomit.  When vomit is aspirated, the lungs are flooded with foul material which blocks the ability for oxygen to get in and out.  If not treated, this could eventually lead to death .


Common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or sleeping it off or walking it off.  These are just myths.  The only thing that reduces the affects of alcohol in your system is TIME. And time is something that you do not have enough of when you are suffering from alcohol poisoning.  




Critical Signs for Alcohol Poisoning


-Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.



-Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).

-Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).

-Hypothermia (low body temperature),

bluish skin color, paleness.



Don’t be afraid to seek medical help for a friend who has been drinking.  In the long run, you could be saving their life.


If you or someone you know needs help or more information, contact:



Alcoholics Anonymous 





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