Alcohol Facts

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Combining alcohol with other central nervous system depressants like Xanax or painkillers like Vicodin can slow your heartbeat and breathing and may result in death.

Alcohol

A standard drink is equal to .6 oz of pure
alcohol, which is equal to 12 oz of beer,
8 oz of malt liquor, 5 oz of wine and 1.5
oz or a “shot” of 80-proof liquor (e.g. gin,
rum, vodka).

Class of drug: Depressant

Main active ingredient: Ethanol/Ethyl alcohol, which is made by fermenting or distilling grains, fruit and vegetables. Alcohol is found in beverages like beer, wine, and hard liquor like rum and vodka.

What it looks like: Liquid, either clear or colored

Street names: Booze, Juice, Spirits, Brew, Sauce

How it is used: Taken orally

Duration of high: Effects of high can last from one to four hours. The effect of alcohol on the body by volume is the same. It is the amount of ethanol consumed that affects a person most, not the type of alcoholic drink.

Withdrawal symptoms: Restlessness, sweating, tremors, insomnia, anxiety, convulsions, death

Detected in the body: With a healthy liver, an average person can eliminate one drink (.6 oz of alcohol) per hour. Detection time in urine is one to two days.

Effects

Physical: Small amounts can produce relaxed muscles, headache, nausea; somewhat large amounts can cause slurred speech, double vision; very large amounts can cause respiratory depression, coma and death

Mental: Small amounts can impair judgment and decrease inhibitions and anxiety; large amounts can produce memory loss

Long-term: Liver and brain damage, heart disease, cancer, ulcers, pancreatitis

Doses: A standard drink is equal to .6 oz of pure alcohol, which is equal to 12 oz of beer, 8 oz of malt liquor, 5 oz of wine and 1.5 oz or a “shot” of 80-proof liquor (e.g. gin, rum, vodka). Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08g/dL or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours.

U.S. information

In 2013, 18.6 percent of high school students in the United States reported that they drank alcohol for the first time before the age of 13. Approximately 66 percent of students said they had at least one drink of alcohol in their lifetime, compared to 71 percent in 2011 and 81 percent two decades ago. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2013)

Sources: National Household Survey–US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Drug Abuse Warning Network, US Department. of Health and Human Services-Center for Disease and Prevention, Illinois Drug Education Alliance