Drinking and Driving
Like New York, the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas has no “last call”. Merry makers, party goers, boozers, bums and alcoholics alike can all indulge to their heart’s content, and at all hours of the day. I do not have the statistics but Las Vegas boasts some of the highest rates of DUI in the nation. It is an incessant problem. These people crawl behind the wheel of a car and take their own and others’ lives into their hands without a thought. They tell themselves they can handle it. They tell themselves they will never be caught. I have one acquaintance who says they drive “better” with a few drinks in his system.
Mayhaps they are not aware of the areas of the brain intoxicants can affect:
- depth perception
- reaction speed
- near sightedness
- far sightedness
- vision in general
- motor skills
- inner ear
Just to name a few. The list is of course not comprehensive nor exhaustive. What’s most bazaar is that Las Vegas has gamblers anonymous group and the casinos voluntarily assign a concierge or liaison to identify players with a problem, which is probably in their best interest, better to keep the fool working and playing than have him go broke today and not be able to return. But there is no prevalent push or awareness of hiring someone specifically to identify alcoholics. In fact the Gaming Board rarely convicts or punishes casinos who allow a clearly intoxicated player to over-leverage themselves. I mean there are cases, but walk around any casino on any given day and you can identify 20% of the place inebriated. And, yet still they let these same people to walk out the door and get behind the wheel of an SUV.
The Long Term Affects of Alcohol on the Brain and Body
BLACKOUTS AND MEMORY LAPSES
Alcohol can produce detectable impairments in memory after only a few drinks and, as the amount of alcohol increases, so does the degree of impairment. Large quantities of alcohol, especially when consumed quickly and on an empty stomach, can produce a blackout, or an interval of time for which the intoxicated person cannot recall key details of events, or even entire events.
ARE WOMEN MORE VULNERABLE TO ALCOHOL’S EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN?
Women are more vulnerable than men to many of the medical consequences of alcohol use.
BRAIN DAMAGE FROM OTHER CAUSES
People who have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain. Damage may be a result of the direct effects of alcohol on the brain or may result indirectly, from a poor general health status or from severe liver disease.
For example, thiamine deficiency is a common occurrence in people with alcoholism and results from poor overall nutrition.
Most people realize that heavy, long–term drinking can damage the liver, the organ chiefly responsible for breaking down alcohol into harmless byproducts and clearing it from the body. But people may not be aware that prolonged liver dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis resulting from excessive alcohol consumption, can harm the brain, leading to a serious and potentially fatal brain disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy
This post was just made as a short awareness post to bring attention to the problem.
In my next post I will discuss the reasons why in: Drinking Philosophy
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