Alcohol

What is alcohol?

Alcohol is a drug that slows the brain and nervous system. Drinking a small amount of alcohol is not harmful for most people of legal age, but regular drinking or drinking large amounts can cause health, personal and social problems.

What are street names for alcohol?

Booze, Sauce, Brews, Brewskis, Hootch, Hard Stuff and Juice.

What are the health effects of alcohol?

Alcohol affects every organ in the body and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. It is taken up by the liver in small amounts, leaving the rest to circulate in the bloodstream. Use can:

  • Impair brain function leading to poor judgment, reduce reaction time, slur speech, and affect balance and motor skills
  • Increase risk of alcohol poisoning
  • Increase risk of motor vehicle accidents
  • Increase risk of violence and other injuries
  • Lead to an addiction to alcohol
  • Damage a developing fetus if used while pregnant
  • Encourage risky sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex and increased risk of sexual assault

What are the long-term health risks?

Overtime excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic diseases, neurological problems and social issues, including:

  • Increased risk of certain cancers, stroke and liver disease (Cirrhosis)
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Poor control of diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Is it okay to drink?

If you are of legal age and choose to drink alcohol, do not exceed more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. People who should not drink alcohol include:

  • Children and adolescents under the age of 21
  • Individuals who cannot limit their drinking
  • Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breastfeeding
  • Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in activities that require attention, skill or coordination
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions
  • Persons taking prescription or over-the-counter medication that may cause harmful reactions when mixed with alcohol
  • Persons recovering from alcoholism

What do parents need to know?

  • Supervise your children's activities, know who their friends are and monitor their surroundings
  • Alcohol use by youth and young adults increases the risk of both fatal and non-fatal injuries
  • Youth who use alcohol before age 15 are five times more likely to become alcohol dependent than those who begin drinking at 21 years of age

Resources:

Oakland Community Health Network Substance Use Authorization, Central Evaluation & Coordination
Substance Use Access Phone: (248) 464-6363
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 248-332-3521
  • Alanon: 248-706-1020
  • Narcotics Anonymous: 248-543-7200