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Commentary :: Education
The Truth About Alcohol
11 Nov 2009
Is it really a drug?
There is a lot of talk about drugs in the world – on the streets, at school, on the Internet and TV. But what about alcohol? Is it really a drug? After all, it is legal, it is a part of social life and is even recommended by some doctors as healthy in small quantities.
In surveys conducted by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, alcohol came up at the top of the list of substances youth said they are most likely to use and they consider as a problem. Because it takes so many young lives (more than all other drugs combined), it is the substance parents are the most worried about.
Alcohol is a drug.
It is classed as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions – resulting in slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and inability to react quickly.
As for how it affects the mind, it is best understood as a drug that reduces a person’s ability to think rationally and distorts his or her judgment.
Although classified as a depressant, the amount of alcohol consumed determines the type of effect. Most people drink for the stimulant effect, such as a beer or a glass of wine taken to “loosen up”. But if a person consumes more than the body can handle, they then experience alcohol’s depressant effect. They start to feel “stupid” or lose coordination and control.
There are different kinds of alcohol. Ethyl alcohol (ethanol), the only alcohol used in beverages, is produced by the fermentation of grains and fruits. Fermenting is a chemical process whereby yeast acts upon certain ingredients in the food, creating alcohol.
In the United States in 2007, the death toll from teenage drunk-driving accidents was 1,393 – nearly four fatalities every day of the year.
Alcohol kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined. It is a factor in the three leading causes of death among 15- to 24-year-olds: accidents, homicides and suicides.
For most people, these are only statistics – shocking, perhaps, but only statistics. But for the families and friends of those who die as a result of a teenage drinking and driving, each number represents a tragic loss.
People under the influence of alcohol readily admit their reaction time is slower than when not drinking, and they take many chances they would never take when sober. Too often those chances are fatal.
By giving the truth about drugs anyone can help others to make informed decision to live a drug free life. To get the facts visit www.drugfreeworld.org.
And for the person with a drug problem, there are also real solutions to addiction. Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program that utilizes the methods of L. Ron Hubbard, has a success rate of more than 75%. (www.narconon.org)

This work is in the public domain