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Alcohol over-use kills

Posted Sep 26 2008 5:16pm
I am preparing for a series of talks that I will be giving next month regarding the effects of alcohol on the adolescent brain. It will be part of a panel presentation regarding underage drinking prevention that a group is presenting at 4 sites. I have spoken on the effects of alcohol on the adolescent brain at several venues, so it is primarily a matter of fitting my presentation into the panel presentation.

Of interest to this note is that at one of the group meetings one of the others involved asked me to be sure to specifically mention “alcohol poisoning”. (We also discussed my including the fact that alcohol is the ‘number one’ date rape drug)

We don’t see alcohol overdose deaths in underage drinkers very often, most cases get intervention before they die. While it is an infrequent cause of death, we had one in our county this week. A young 18 year old man died of alcohol overdose (who, as fate would have it, went to high school with my daughter). My daughter described the memorial service to me last evening; many of his friends spoke highly of him and spoke of the tragedy of his death.

We often forget that alcohol kills, not just through car crashes, but because it is itself a toxin, a poison. Consumed in large enough quantities it can and does kill. Adolescents are particularly at risk because they tend to binge drink (5 or more drinks in rapid succession) and do not get the drowsiness shut off cue that most adults get.

The relatively new Illinois felony “social host” law will likely be invoked in this case: if great bodily harm or death results, the parent (host) faces possible imprisonment and possible significant fines.

Kids shouldn’t die when they are still kids
Think, don’t take chances, make good choices
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