Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Everything a Teenager Person Should Know about Purim Drinking


I haven't posted in a while, but I feel I need to re-post this post before every Purim. As I get older and experiance more Purims, I get more and more convinced that if people would be educated in the affects of alcohol, it would not only be a safer Purim but a much more enjoyable one.



Being that Purim is around the corner, I decided to write about what bothers me every year around this time. That is: the way anti-drinking campaigns are run.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one for free open drinking on Purim. I’m not into kids (or adults) getting carried away on stretchers or lifted and carried off of people’s couches and front lawns. And I’m definitely not into people destroying their Purim by drinking too much and not remembering anything (besides for the side effects). However, I am against the way the yeshiva world tries to stop it.

Every year we all see the posters from Hatzaloh – Don’t get carried away this Purim. Every year we see the Kol Korai in the Yated, and every year we see the letter to the editor in the Hamodia from some innocent 17 year old who wanted to have an awesome time the previous year and instead ended up in the hospital who writes, “it’s mamesh a nes nigleh that I am alive to write this letter today.” We see letter after letter, sign after sign and fact after fact of the dangers of drinking on Purim. The facts are enough to scare anyone, and they do, except for one group of people – teenagers.

You see, the Just Say No style campaigns that (just about) every yeshiva, shul, community and school use have very little effect on what and how much teenagers want to drink on Purim. It may affect how easy it is to get the alcohol, as adults are more cautious about dispensing alcohol to minors, but it has a much smaller affect on the group that needs it the most. The reason this approach does not work on teenagers is that most people who get drunk on Purim don’t end up in the hospital or have their stomachs pumped, and their friends certainly know it. To quote the authors of Buzzed – The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy, “when horror stories are used as the principal tools in drug education, people soon recognize that such stories do not represent the whole truth. The educator then loses credibility.” Basically, when teenagers see their friends and a lot of other people get drunk on Purim without crazy horror stories, they start ignoring all the people telling them not to drink because they might end up in the hospital. (Ironically, while typing this post, I got an email from a Shul near me telling everyone that Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky reportedly said that getting drunk on Purim is an Aveira. While it may be true, that won’t stop most people.)

Unfortunately, the ones who ignore the message are the key audience that we need to reach to help prevent the true dangers of drinking on Purim. To do this, we must switch Just Say No to Just Say Know. When a person knows the facts regarding how alcohol will affect his (or her) body, that knowledge can lead to safer drinking and help avoid excess. Will it get teenagers to stop drinking on Purim? Absolutely not. But it may help reduce the incidents of hospital visits.

So, with that I present – Everything a Teenager Should Know about Purim Drinking.

First off, you should know that every person’s body will react differently to alcohol. Body size, history of drinking and gender all play a major role in how the alcohol will affect your body. One thing that is important to know is that even if having a higher tolerance means you may not feel the same effects of alcohol on your body as other people who drank the same amount, you still have the same amount of alcohol in your blood and therefore the effects are still there whether you feel them or not.

Next, let’s talk about BAC – Blood Alcohol Content (or Concentration). BAC is the amount of alcohol present in the blood after consuming alcohol. Below you will see how your body reacts to different level BAC’s. After we will discuss how alcohol affects your BAC. Remember: The effects of alcohol intoxication are greatly influenced by individual variations among users. Some users may become intoxicated at a much lower Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level than is shown.

0.02-0.03 BAC: No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. Depressant effects are not apparent. You might feel mildly relaxed and maybe a little lightheaded.



0.04-0.06 BAC: There is a feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, and a sensation of warmth along with euphoria. There will be some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, and lowering of caution. Your behavior may become exaggerated and emotions intensified (Good emotions are better, bad emotions are worse)



0.07-0.09 BAC: Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are reduced, and caution, reason and memory are impaired, .08 is legally impaired and it is illegal to drive at this level. You will probably believe that you are functioning better than you really are.



0.10-0.125 BAC: Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Euphoria.



0.13-0.15 BAC: Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria (anxiety, restlessness) is beginning to appear. Judgment and perception are severely impaired.



0.16-0.19 BAC: Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk."


0.20 BAC: Felling dazed, confused or otherwise disoriented. May need help to stand or walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the pain. Some people experience nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.



0.25 BAC: All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.



0.30 BAC: STUPOR. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may pass out suddenly and be difficult to awaken.


0.35 BAC: Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia.

0.40 BAC and up: Onset of coma, and possible death due to respiratory arrest.



One thing that you may have noticed - BAC's in excess of 0.125% will NOT increase the pleasure, only the discomfort. At 0.125% you reach the level of euphoria. Once you pass that level, euphoria is reduced. So if you are drinking and you want to have a good time, you probably want to be close to 0.125% and not higher.


The real question is: how much alcohol do I need to drink to get to that level? First, let’s first define a “drink”. One drink is 1.25 oz. of 40% liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of table wine. The chart below shows you how many drinks affect your BAC by body weight. Time plays a factor as well so subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking.


Approximate Blood Alcohol Percentage
Drinks
Body Weight in Pounds


100
120
140
160
180
200
220
240

0
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
Only Safe
Driving Limit
0
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
Only Safe Driving Limit
1
.04
.03
.03
.02
.02
.02
.02
.02
Driving
Skills
Significantly
Affected


Possible
Criminal
Penalties
2
.08
.06
.05
.05
.04
.04
.03
.03
3
.11
.09
.08
.07
.06
.06
.05
.05
4
.15
.12
.11
.09
.08
.08
.07
.06
5
.19
.16
.13
.12
.11
.09
.09
.08
6
.23
.19
.16
.14
.13
.11
.10
.09
Legally
Intoxicated


Criminal
Penalties
7
.26
.22
.19
.16
.15
.13
.12
.11
8
.30
.25
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
.13
9
.34
.28
.24
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
10
.38
.31
.27
.23
.21
.19
.17
.16
Death Possible

So, for your average teenager weighing 160 lbs., after about 6 drinks over a 2 hour period, you will reach the highest level of enjoyment you can attain by drinking alcohol. After that amount, your enjoyment will start to go downhill. 10 drinks over that same period of time can cause you to blackout.


Some other points to keep in mind:
·
Plan ahead – if you just have a bottle of scotch and keep pouring from it repeatedly, there is no way you will know how much you’re drinking. What I used to do was pour off the amount I wanted to drink into a small ginger ale bottle before Purim. That way, I didn’t drink more then I wanted to.

Not drinking too much is for your own enjoyment. You don’t want to be the guy in the corner crying who is probably in the 0.16%-0.19% range.

Little known fact - If you are under 21, it is illegal to drive after drinking even if you are under 0.08%. It is only after 21 that the 0.08 rule comes into effect. (See what court ordered driving school teaches you?)

Keep active. Don't just sit down and watch everyone dance. If you keep active, you will drink less and will be more aware of your level of intoxication.

Keep track of how much you are drinking. Know how much alcohol is poured into every glass.

Pace your drinking, allow time between drinks.

If you are going out with friends and you are afraid you will be pressured to drink more then you want to, dilute your alcohol before you leave. That way you can keep up with the drinkers while enjoying yourself more.

Have other suggestions? Write them in the comments and I will add them.

I hope that with this knowledge, people who will be drinking this Purim will know and understand how they are affecting their body. With that knowledge they will better be able to decide how much to drink and hopefully drink responsibly.

Have a safe enjoyable Purim.

*******************************************************
Disclaimer: I am not condoning drinking. I just feel that people should be aware of what they are doing to themselves.


A lot of the information in this post is from B.R.A.D. (Be Responsible About Drinking, Inc).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A+

sheng said...

This is a very informative blog. Teens should really be aware of premium alcohol drinking so that accidents will be prevented.

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