The issue of driving while even the smallest bit intoxicated is an ever-increasing concern throughout the nation. Every year, thousands of people are injured and hundreds are killed as a result of people thinking that they’re “sober enough” to drive when they aren’t.
The thing is, the question that needs to be asked before getting behind the wheel isn’t “Am I sober enough?” The question is “Am I sober?”…period.
Unfortunately, many drinkers cling to the false belief that one or two drinks can’t be enough to cause impairment. They think that if they’re still lucid enough to dance and party or composed enough to walk to their cars, they’re lucid enough to drive. The problem is, “enough” isn’t enough when it comes to putting others’ lives in jeopardy—and those at risk for doing so need to learn this sooner rather than later.
In order to help promote alcohol education and awareness in these respects, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has sponsored an annual month-long national campaign every April to promote increased understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment, and recovery.
Educating Your Community on Alcohol Awareness and Use
The NCADD has promoted Alcohol Awareness Month for the past 29 years, with the hope that as we welcome the warm weather of April and the numerous spring activities now open to us, we’ll also welcome the idea of celebrating responsibly.
This year’s theme, “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use,” will focus on teen alcohol abuse and how parents can help their children understand the effects, consequences, and the true impact of alcohol use, especially while driving. The campaign encourages event planning throughout the country and offers planning guides to help encourage local educational events.
When registering or planning for your event, you can use the following facts and statistics to help you engage with others and truly illustrate the risks and legal consequences of alcohol abuse and promote safety goals:
Getting “drunk” is subjective
Heavy drinking is generally considered to be four or more drinks over the course of a couple of hours. However, this isn’t an exact science. Alcohol impairment can have differing effects depending on alcohol strength (shots have a higher alcohol content than beer), your weight (the less you weigh, the greater the effect from alcohol), and how fast you drink (the faster you drink, the stronger and quicker the effects).
Your focus and judgment can become impaired after one drink, let alone three or more in quick succession. When your judgment is compromised, you may not be able to judge accurately whether you’re incapacitated. Responsibly determining whether you can safely drive can be much more difficult, as you may think you’re not impaired even when you are.
Being drunk isn’t fun when it gets out of hand
The buzz and lowered inhibitions caused by drinking alcohol can be fun and in some cases a needed release from the stress of a week’s work. However, that buzz can quickly turn into a nightmare—and no, I’m not just talking about a hangover. Alcohol can cause people to do stupidly dangerous things, which can have tragic results:
- Death. 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, while over 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents.
- Assault. 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
- Sexual abuse. 97,000 young adults are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape every year.
- Injury. 599,000 young drinkers receive unintentional injuries each year while under the influence of alcohol.
Drinking responsibly is easy—if you know how
Alcohol isn’t necessarily bad as long as you’re aware of the risks, heed the warnings, and drink responsibly and in moderation. A few easy tips to ensure your (and others’) safety include:
- Knowing what you’re drinking and how much alcohol is in it at all times.
- Don’t mix alcohol with energy drinks, as you may not notice the effects until it is too late.
- Hydrate in between drinks to increase circulation.
- Always have an alternative way to get home in case you drink too much to drive yourself.
The only way to protect yourself and your family from an alcohol-related catastrophe is by staying well-informed. Like us and follow us on Facebook for periodic updates and article notifications to ensure you have the facts and advice you need to stay safe.