What Teens and Parents Need to Know About, Drinking, Drugging, Driving and the Law – Part 1

The purpose of this 3-part article isn’t to preach or lecture you about not drinking or using drugs. I realize that many teens reading this have probably already been faced with making that decision at one time or another. I hope the information contained in the following will do; help you make the proper decision when it comes to using alcohol or drugs, before getting behind the wheel of an automobile or being a passenger in an automobile being driven by someone who has just consumed alcohol or drugs. You and you alone will be making that choice. I only ask that when you consider the fact that when you make that choice, you can be taking a risk. And, when you take a risk you take the chance of having to face a consequence.

As you read the following, I want to share some facts with you. I believe you will find this information both frightening and informative. Much of what you will be reading is based on my 37 years experience as a law enforcement officer and substance abuse educator.

Many times when I talk with groups, regardless of their age and ask them to name some dangerous drugs, I often hear: crack, cocaine, prescription drugs, heroin and inhalants. Rarely, do I ever hear the two most popular drugs mentioned, alcohol and marijuana. Some of you may have heard these drugs referred to as, “gateway drugs.” 

About 65% of Americans over the age of 18 drink alcohol and 26% of Americans from 12 to 17 years old are regular alcohol drinkers. This use of alcohol by Americans accounts for half of the nearly 50,000 highway deaths occurring each year.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has discovered that, one American life is lost every 23 minutes in alcohol-related automobile crashes, 1,500,000 American are injured every year by drunk drivers and on an average weekend night, one out of every ten drivers on the road is legally drunk.
Approximately 20 million licensed drivers are heavy, problem drinkers and about 10 million of those drinkers are under the age of 21 with 4.4 million of those young people classified as binge drinkers (people who drink fast to get drunk). Within the past 10 years more than 11 million families have seen a family member killed or seriously injured by a drunk driver.

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Many of us don’t realize that it doesn’t really matter what type of alcoholic beverage we drink. Some people are under the misconception that beer and wine are not as strong or will not make a person drunk as quickly as hard liquor. It is a fact that the alcohol content in a 12 ounce can of beer is the same as a 5 ounce glass of domestic wine, a 10 ounce bottle of a wine cooler, or one and one-half ounces of 80 proof liquor (an average mixed drink). It takes the human body one to one and half hours to burn up the alcohol in one drink. Nothing else speeds up the process; not coffee, long walks, cold showers, or any other suggested methods.

 When we drink alcohol we are taking a depressant drug although the first drink or two will make us feel stimulated and confident. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream as it enters the mouth, stomach, and small intestine. The blood immediately carries the alcohol to the brain where it affects the nervous system. Although drinking on a full stomach will slow down this process, the alcohol will eventually reach the brain and the reaction although delayed will be the same. The drinker’s emotional state also influences the effect alcohol will have. If a person is depressed before drinking, the reaction of the alcohol will further the drinkers depression.

 Alcohol effects driving because it slows reaction time, coordination, visual awareness, attention, judgment, and information processing, which is also impaired when someone drinks alcohol. Because alcohol makes people think they feel good, it tends to make drivers take risks and feel overconfident. As stated earlier, it takes about one-to one and half hours for a drink containing alcohol to be process through our body. Therefore, if you choose to drink, a good rule of thumb would be to wait one and half-hours for each drink consumed before driving. 

Tips for Parents:  How to Deal with Underage Driving.

In Part 2 we will discuss driver responsibility and Part 3 discusses the effects of marijuana and driving and the laws surrounding drinking, drugging and driving.

Phil Bulone works for the National Safety Commission and has been teaching traffic school classes since 1994. He retired as a detective from New York City Police Department.

Article from articlesbase.com

Mixed Drinks Vol. 1 Shiesty of the ptown drunks and some others im not sure who
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