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  • Writer's pictureCassie

Alcohol

What is it?


Alcohol (ethanol)

  • It is a Depressant drug- lowers heart rate and blood pressure, produces a sedative state

  • Made naturally through fermentation, usually made from grains & fruits - may be made from other plants as well

  • Legal to purchase over a certain age & regulated in many countries, including Canada


Effects


Low-Moderate Dose ("tipsy")

Typically produces feelings of relaxation & increased sociability, lowers inhibitions.


Larger Dose ("drunk")

May cause dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, slurred speech, dehydration, & slowed reflexes, can also cause severe impairments in judgment due to its impact on the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for things like reasoning, judgment, & impulse control).


Effects vary depending on each person; factors include body weight, tolerance, metabolism, hydration, & having food in the stomach.


Consumption


Almost always consumed orally.


Dosage


Standard “drink” is defined as 1.5oz (85ml) of liquor, 5oz (142ml) of wine, 12oz (341ml) of beer; wine & beer contain 5-15% alcohol, whereas liquor is around 40% (can be more).

It's important to consider the concentration of alcohol (not the volume of liquid) when monitoring your consumption.


The concentration in beer can vary greatly.



The image below is based on beer with 5% concentration.



Harm Reduction


  • Drink water and have snacks throughout your period of drinking, not being hydrated enough can worsen some of the effects of alcohol (ie. the hangover)

  • Watch your drinks be made & keep an eye on them always!! 

  • Pace yourself, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages


Break the social norms!

It has become commonplace to push others/yourself to drink more than is wanted, or to drink at all. Alcohol is a drug, it's important to take things slow, know your limits, & respect boundaries!


Be Cautious


Avoid mixing with other depressants (ie. GHB, benzos, opioids) - the combined effect on heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing can quickly become fatal.


Ongoing, heavy consumption has damaging effects on multiple areas of the body - especially the liver, brain, and kidneys.


Its important to use alcohol in moderation & avoid daily use. Like with any drug, its important to analyze your relationship with the substance - Knowing what the substance is doing for you can help you find alternatives that can fill some gaps or it can bring awareness toward needing help.


Alcohol Poisoning


Alcohol Poisoning (aka alcohol overdose) is very dangerous, this can involve loss of motor control, vomiting, loss of consciousness, seizures, and death. 


Keep the person in the recovery position and stay with them, it's important they aren't alone in case they begin vomiting or require more help - if there is no improvement or if the person begins seizing, call EMS.


For more info on Alcohol, check out https://dancesafe.org/alcohol/ 

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