Drinking and Driving

duii

I think the statistics on drinking and driving speak for themselves.  Alcohol doesn’t mix with driving.  It impairs your judgment, plainly stated.

  • On average someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes. In 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in drunk driving related crashes—a decline of 9.8 percent from the 13,041 drunk driving related fatalities of 2007.
  • Fifty to 75 percent of drunk drivers whose licenses are suspended continue to drive.
  • Over 1.46 million drivers were arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 139 licensed drivers in the United States.
  • Of the over 159 million alcohol-impaired driving trips estimated that Americans took in 2002, over ten percent (18 million trips) were made by 18-20 year olds.
  • Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost the public an estimated $114.3 billion in 2000, including $51.1 billion in monetary costs and an estimated $63.2 billion in quality of life losses. People other than the drinking driver paid $71.6 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill, which is 63 percent of the total cost of these crashes.
  • About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.
  • A first time drunk driving offender on average has driven drunk 87 times prior to being arrested.
  • In 2001, more than half a million people were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured almost every minute.

After watching people I love and care about pay hundreds even thousands for drinking and driving in fines, it’s just not worth it and all of them when it is said and done, wish they had just called a cab/sober friend.

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October 15, 2009 at 12:50 am 2 comments

Pregnancy and Alcohol

no alcohol

What are the hazards of drinking alcohol during pregnancy?
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause FASDs, with effects that range from mild to severe. These effects include mental retardation; learning, emotional and behavioral problems; and defects involving the heart, face and other organs. The most severe of these effects is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a combination of physical and mental birth defects.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk for miscarriage and premature birth (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). Studies also suggest that drinking during pregnancy may contribute to stillbirth. A 2008 Danish study found that women who binge drink three or more times during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy had a 56 percent greater risk for stillbirth than women who did not binge drink. Another 2008 study found that women who had five or more drinks a week were 70 percent more likely to have a stillborn baby than non-drinking women.

Pretty much to sum it all up, drinking while being pregnant is definately not a good thing and will in no way ever be a possible benefit for your baby, but more of a hazard.

How much alcohol is too much during pregnancy?
No level of drinking alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the patterns of drinking that place a baby at greatest risk for FASDs are binge drinking and drinking seven or more drinks per week. However, FASDs can occur in babies of women who drink less.

Researchers are taking a closer look at the more subtle effects of moderate and light drinking during pregnancy.

  • A 2002 study found that 14-year-old children whose mothers drank as little as one drink a week were significantly shorter and leaner and had a smaller head circumference (a possible indicator of brain size) than children of women who did not drink at all.
  • A 2001 study found that 6- and 7-year-old children of mothers who had as little as one drink a week during pregnancy were more likely than children of non-drinkers to have behavior problems, such as aggressive and delinquent behaviors. These researchers found that children whose mothers drank any alcohol during pregnancy were more than three times as likely as unexposed children to demonstrate delinquent behaviors.
  • A 2007 study suggested that female children of women who drank less than one drink a week were more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems at 4 and 8 years of age. The study also suggested similar effects in boys, but at higher levels of drinking.
  • Other studies report behavioral and learning problems in children exposed to moderate drinking during pregnancy, including attention and memory problems, hyperactivity, impulsivity, poor social and communication skills, psychiatric problems (including mood disorders) and alcohol and drug use.

If a pregnant woman has one or two drinks before she realizes she is pregnant, can it harm the baby?
It is unlikely that the occasional drink a woman takes before she realizes she is pregnant will harm her baby. The baby’s brain and other organs begin developing around the third week of pregnancy, however, and are vulnerable to damage in these early weeks. Because no amount of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy, a woman should stop drinking immediately if she even suspects she could be pregnant, and she should not drink alcohol if she is trying to become pregnant.

What is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)?
FAS is one of the most common known causes of mental retardation. It is the only cause that is entirely preventable. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that between 1,000 and 6,000 babies in the United States are born yearly with FAS.

Babies with FAS are abnormally small at birth and usually do not catch up on growth as they get older. They have characteristic facial features, including small eyes, a thin upper lip and smooth skin in place of the normal groove between the nose and upper lip. Their organs, especially the heart, may not form properly. Many babies with FAS also have a brain that is small and abnormally formed. Most have some degree of mental disability. Many have poor coordination, a short attention span and emotional and behavioral problems.

The effects of FAS and other FASDs last a lifetime. Even if not mentally retarded, adolescents and adults with FAS and other FASDs are at risk for psychological and behavioral problems and criminal behavior. They often find it difficult to keep a job and live independently.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Small amounts of alcohol do get into breastmilk and are passed on to the baby. One study found that breastfed babies of women who had one or more drinks a day were a little slower in acquiring motor skills (such as crawling and walking) than babies who had not been exposed to alcohol. Large amounts of alcohol may interfere with ejection of milk from the breast.

For these reasons, the March of Dimes recommends that women not drink alcohol while they are breastfeeding. Similarly, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding mothers not drink alcohol. However, according to the AAP, an occasional alcoholic drink probably doesn’t hurt the baby, but a mother who has a drink should wait at least 2 hours before breastfeeding her baby.

October 8, 2009 at 3:55 am 4 comments

WHAT is Alcoholism and DO I need to get help?

A lot of times alcoholism can be hard to cure, because you may not even know that you are an alcoholic.  The first step is knowing that alcoholism is a disease, and that it is serious.  The second step is knowing, that there is help out there for especially YOU.  YOU are the most important person involved, and the one that we can help.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, which is also known as “alcohol dependence syndrome,” is a disease that is characterized by the following elements:

  • Craving: A strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
  • Loss of control: The frequent inability to stop drinking once a person has begun.
  • Physical dependence: The occurrence of withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. These symptoms are usually relieved by drinking alcohol or by taking another sedative drug.
  • Tolerance: The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to get “high.”

Next we have in line is what is known as “alcohol abuse”.  It’s not as severe as alcoholism but can most definately lead up to alcoholism.

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism in that it does not include an extremely strong craving for alcohol, loss of control, or physical dependence. In addition, alcohol abuse is less likely than alcoholism to include tolerance (the need for increasing amounts of alcohol to get “high”). Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that is accompanied by one or more of the following situations within a 12-month period:

  • Failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities;
  • Drinking in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or operating machinery;
  • Recurring alcohol-related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or for physically hurting someone while drunk;
  • Continued drinking despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by the effects of alcohol.

While alcohol abuse is basically different from alcoholism, it is important to note that many effects of alcohol abuse are also experienced by alcoholics.

So ask yourself a few questions here if you are the one trying to figure out if this is a problem in your life, or that of a loved one.

What Are the Signs of a Problem?

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (eye opener)?
  • The Decision To Get Help

    Acknowledging that help is needed for an alcohol problem may not be easy. But keep in mind that the sooner a person gets help, the better are his or her chances for a successful recovery.

    Any reluctance you may feel about discussing your drinking with your health care professional may stem from common misconceptions about alcoholism and alcoholic people. In our society, the myth prevails that an alcohol problem is somehow a sign of moral weakness. As a result, you may feel that to seek help is to admit some type of shameful defect in yourself. In fact, however, alcoholism is a disease that is no more a sign of weakness than is asthma or diabetes. Moreover, taking steps to identify a possible drinking problem has an enormous payoff–a chance for a healthier, more rewarding life.

    The time to act is NOW.  Don’t waste another minute thinking if you should get help, if you know it’s serious and this person could be off in a better position with getting help, call for help today.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 am 1 comment

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