ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
You have already read some information on the subject of alcohol. You are now going to spend some more time on this very important subject. You will also learn some important information about drugs.

You should know that it’s against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs. But it cannot be emphasized too strongly that the interaction between Law Enforcement, Judicial and Administrative branches of government are sending us a message that to ignore this is no longer acceptable. Those of you who either fail to understand or choose to ignore the meaning of this message will very quickly find yourself deprived of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this State along with some other unpleasant effects. It is hoped that when you leave this program, you will realize that drinking or using drugs and then driving is a very dangerous matter. Moreover, the basic information we will share will be information that will benefit you, your family, and friends. It is current information obtained from the best professional sources.

ALCOHOL IN THE SYSTEM
The following will give you an idea of how alcohol works in your system, how long it takes to leave the body and when you should or should not be getting into the car to drive. Keep in mind that alcohol is considered a drug and they both go through the system very similarly. Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Many feel relaxed and sociable. Others may become angry or lose control. Still others may become depressed.

Alcohol lowers the ability of the brain to control behavior and impairs the ability to drive. It also lessens the ability to move or speak effectively. Effects will be different for each individual because of weight, amount of food in stomach, and built-up tolerance level.

Dependence can be emotional as well as physical. Unborn children of drinking mothers may be affected by mental retardation. FACT: It’s estimated that one in ten Americans has an alcohol-dependency problem. Of all the drugs in the world, alcohol is a top killer.

LOSE CONTROL OF BODY FUNCTIONS
First of all, alcohol will not affect you until it gets into your bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it circulates through all the organs of the body and also depresses the central nervous system. Then you lose control of the functions of your body, and most important, the functions needed to operate a motor vehicle safely. (i.e., alertness, efficiency, judgment, coordination, the way you see things, etc.)

Alcohol is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream the instant you take a drink. It does not have to be through the normal digestive system. In fact, 20% to 40% of that alcohol will be absorbed into the bloodstream before it gets into the digestive system. This is why you feel its effects immediately after you have a drink.
The remainder of the alcohol – 60% to 80% will travel through the normal digestive system.” “

GETTING INTO THE BLOODSTREAM
How long it takes for the alcohol to get into the bloodstream depends on several factors. If the stomach is empty, the alcohol will get there faster and in higher concentrations. If there is food in the stomach, it depends on the amount. The more food, the longer it would take to digest, since the food will absorb the alcohol.

ELIMINATION
Once in the bloodstream there are only three ways it can be eliminated; approximately 2% is eliminated through the lungs (odor of breath), 3% through the urine, and about 95% is burned up (oxidized) by the liver. Alcohol differs from food in that food can be stored into fat and used at a later time. But alcohol cannot be stored into fat and will circulate in the bloodstream until it is eliminated in the three ways mentioned.

The average person eliminates alcohol at the rate of .015% per hour. This is equivalent to the amount of alcohol contained in 1 oz. of 100 proof whiskey; or one 12 ounce can of beer; or one 4 oz. glass of table wine. There is no way to hasten this process. Only time will take care of this problem.