Contemplate Your C.H.O.I.C.E.S.
Alcohol: The Facts
What are its short term effects?
- When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and goes to all the tissues. The effects of alcohol are dependent on a variety of factors, including a person’s size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed. The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is one of the main reasons it is used in so many social situations. Other effects of moderate alcohol intake include dizziness and talkativeness; the immediate effects of a larger amount of alcohol include slurred speech, disturbed sleep, nausea, and vomiting. Alcohol, even at low doses, significantly impairs the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol can also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including domestic violence and child abuse. Hangovers are another possible effect after large amounts of alcohol are consumed; a hangover consists of headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness, and fatigue.
What are its long-term effects?
- Prolonged, heavy use of alcohol can lead to addiction (alcoholism). Sudden cessation of long term, extensive alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, especially when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver. In addition, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may suffer from mental retardation and other irreversible physical abnormalities. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.
Think you know the facts about alcohol abuse?
Hangover Cure Myths
MYTH: Hangovers Are No Big Deal
- FACT: A hangover is the body’s reaction to being poisoned with too much alcohol. Heavy drinking rocks the central nervous system. It tinkers with brain chemicals – leading to headache, dizziness, and nausea – and sends you running to the bathroom so often you become dehydrated. The morning-after price of this imbalance can include a pounding headache, fatigue, cotton mouth, queasy stomach – and a weakened immune system.
MYTH: Only Bingers Get Hangovers
- FACT: While it’s true that binge drinking could speed your way to a hangover, you don’t have to get wasted to pay the price the next morning. Depending on your body composition, just a couple of drinks can trigger a headache and other hangover symptoms. Having water or a nonalcoholic drink between each beer or hard drink can help keep you hydrated and reduce the overall amount of alcohol you consume.
MYTH: Wine Is The Gentlest Choice
- FACT: Red wine contains tannins, compounds that are known to trigger headaches in some people. Malt liquors, like whiskey, also tend to produce more severe hangovers. If you’re worried about how you’ll feel in the morning, the gentlest choices are beer and clear liquors, such as vodka and gin.
MYTH: Liquor Before Beer
- FACT: It’s not whether you have a shot of whiskey before or after your beer that’s important. It’s the amount of alcohol you consume (not the order of your drinks) that matters most. A standard drink – be it a 12-ounce glass of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce “shot” of distilled spirits – all contain roughly the same amount of alcohol. Don’t be fooled by the size of your drink or any saying about alcohol use that includes the phrase “never fear.”
NO MYTH: Alcohol Poisoning
- FACT: Alcohol poisoning is a potentially deadly medical emergency. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
- Confusion, stupor
- Slow, irregular breathing
- Low body temperature, bluish skin
It’s easy to blow off these symptoms as the price of partying hard, but if you see someone vomit multiple times or pass out after drinking heavily, there’s a risk of severe dehydration or brain damage. A visit to the nearest emergency room is urgently needed.
For more information go to http://www.webmd.com/balance/ss/slideshow-hangover-myths.
Basics About Blood Alcohol Level
To calculate your own Blood Alcohol Level/Concentration go to http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/blood-alcohol-bac-calculator.
Make the Call (video)
To view a short video on how to Make the Call, please visit the link below.
Marijuana Use/Abuse: The Facts
Marijuana, which comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, is the most frequently used illegal drug in the U.S. About 4% of American adults smoke pot at least once a year. Roughly 1% of adults abuse pot, and one in 300 have a pot addiction.
The rates of marijuana smoking in adults have remained stable since the 1990s. However, the rates of addiction to pot have risen significantly over that same period. And, according to recent government studies, as many as 30% of today's teenagers are smoking marijuana.
Occasional marijuana use is rarely seriously harmful, but smoking pot has important medical effects.
Physiological Effects of Marijuana
The active ingredient in marijuana is THC. That's short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is rapidly absorbed after smoking pot. Within minutes, THC and the other substances in marijuana smoke cause short-term medical effects. Signs of using marijuana include:
- rapid heart rate
- increased blood pressure
- increased rate of breathing
- red eyes
- dry mouth
- increased appetite, or "the munchies"
- slowed reaction time
These effects are reduced after three or four hours. However, marijuana hangs around in your system for as long as 24 hours after smoking. The lingering effects mean you're impaired for several hours after the high wears off.
Psychological Effects of Marijuana
The main psychological effect of smoking pot is euphoria. Getting high or "stoned" is the reason most pot smokers use marijuana. Other short-term psychological effects of pot include:
- distorted sense of time
- magical or "random" thinking
- short-term memory loss
- anxiety and depression
These psychological signs of using pot also generally ease after a few hours. But residual effects can last through the next day.
Risks of Marijuana Use
The risks of smoking marijuana go up with heavy use. Although the link has never been proven, many experts believe heavy pot smokers are at increased risk for lung cancer.
Heavy marijuana use lowers men's testosterone levels and sperm count and quality. Pot could decrease libido and fertility in some heavy-smoking men.
Contrary to what many pot smokers may tell you, marijuana is addictive, at least psychologically. Even among occasional users, one in 12 can feel withdrawal symptoms if they can't get high when they want to. Among heavy pot smokers, the rates of dependence are higher.
If you're wondering how long marijuana stays in your system after smoking, it depends on how often you smoke. Light users -- those who smoke pot once in a while -- will have a negative drug screen after a marijuana-free week. Heavy users -- sometimes called "stoners" -- may continue testing positive for a month after last smoking pot.
For more information go to http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/marijuana-use-and-its-effects.
Prescription Drugs: The Facts
Prescription medications such as pain relievers, central nervous system (CNS) depressants (tranquilizers and sedatives), and stimulants are highly beneficial treatments for a variety of health conditions. Pain relievers enable individuals with chronic pain to lead productive lives; tranquilizers can reduce anxiety and help patients with sleep disorders; and stimulants help people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focus their attention. Most people who take prescription medications use them responsibly. But when abused—that is, taken by someone other than the patient for whom the medication was prescribed, or taken in a manner or dosage other than what was prescribed—prescription medications can produce serious adverse health effects, including addiction.
Similarly, some OTC medications, such as cough and cold medicines containing dextromethorphan, have beneficial effects when taken as recommended; but they can also be abused and lead to serious adverse health consequences. Parents should be aware of the potential for abuse of these medications, especially when consumed in large quantities, which should signal concern and the possible need for intervention.
Commonly Abused Prescription Medications
Although many prescription medications can be abused, the following three classes are most commonly abused:
Opioids—usually prescribed to treat pain.
CNS depressants—used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
Stimulants—prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
For more information go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/prescriptiondrugabuse.html