Alcohol is the most commonly used, and abused drug in the United States. And while acceptable in moderation, its dangers are well-documented and can be life-changing, or even life-threatening.
Perhaps the most avoidable and destructive alcohol-related threat is drinking and driving. Every day, about 28 people die nationwide in drunk driving crashes (NHTSA). In total, over 10,000 people lost their lives at the due to an impaired driver. All of those deaths were avoidable.
It’s important to remember that when operating a motor vehicle, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a person’s bloodstream is .08 (only in Utah is it lower – 0.5).
A person’s BAC can reach .08 in as few as two or three drinks, though it varies by gender, body type, weight, and more. This infographic is a good indicator of when a person’s BAC reaches .08. Regardless, even just one or two drinks can be enough to affect driving ability, so it’s best to be cautious and avoid driving after drinking entirely.
Alcohol Safety Tips
- Always have a safe mode of transportation back home if at an event where you will consume alcohol. If you drove to the function, give a sober person your keys when you arrive and have a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft downloaded. Additionally, don’t enter a vehicle if you think the driver may be impaired. Just because you aren’t behind the wheel doesn’t mean that can’t become a life-altering decision.
- Even if not operating a vehicle, be responsible. Slip and fall accidents are much easier when under the influence of alcohol, along with other types of preventable, potentially tragic accidents.
- Alcohol also poses health risks. Heavy drinking takes a major toll on the liver and can lead to serious health conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, arrythmia, and cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute: “There is a strong scientific consensus that alcohol drinking can cause several types of cancer. In its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen.”
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