Brian’s Column: Drink Responsibly? What does that even mean?


Brian's Column:  Drink Responsibly? What does that even mean?

Who doesn’t fancy a drink after a day’s hard work? Must I remind you that even the Bishop of Canterbury is 80% water? Dare I say pal, even Jesus swallowed wine. So chillax! But, no matter the drink, too much of everything is always bad: so our parents reminded us. It’s easier to say ‘too much’ but what is there a universal definition of ‘too much’?

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So, anyways, that Wednesday evening while listening at my local radio station (Capital FM 91.3), the presenter said it: ‘…Drink Responsibly’. And that was the birthday of our hefty circumnavigating debate that one could write a PhD research proposal on what for goodness sake is ‘Drink Responsibly?’.

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So, how bad is drink driving or drink walking?
The risk of a driver under the influence of alcohol being killed in a vehicle accident is at least eleven times that of drivers without alcohol in their system. Same goes if you were drunk walking. Oh yeah, I know we all say the froggy statistics but for the families and friends of those who die as a result of  drinking and driving, drinking and walking, each number represents an abyss suffered by fans of the ever loosing Arsenal & Manchester United! Cheers to that.

Wait, exactly how does getting drunk get my body into trouble?
Alcohol plays around with your perceptions and judgment reducing your reaction time most often taking many chances you would never take when sober. More often, you won’t be able to ascertain how far or close a vehicle or pedestrian is. While it’s true that alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream via small blood vessels in the walls of the stomach and small intestine, the lovely liver does the hard job of breaking down the alcohol leaving the excess circulating throughout the body. This excess is what is measured by the police when they pull you aside, as Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). When the amount of alcohol in the blood exceeds a certain level, the respiratory (breathing) system slows down markedly, and may cause a coma or death, because oxygen no longer reaches the brain.

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Is there a general human alcohol intake limit before getting drunk?
No…no way. You see the amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be drunk varies from person to person. Mainly, weight, gender (men tend to process alcohol faster than women), metabolism, type and amount you’re drinking, current stress levels, whether you’ve eaten recently, and age (younger people tend to process alcohol more slowly).

Read about Drink Driving in the Youth and Road Safety Action Kit here.

Yeah, but can I drink a little and drive or walk?
Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive or walk so the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving or walking on the road with vehicles.

So, what’s this Blood Alcohol Concentration anyway?
This is exactly what the law enforcers will be looking for in your body. BAC limits can also be referred to as ‘drink driving limits’, ‘drunk driving limits’ or ‘drink drive limits’. It is a criminal offence to drive with a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit.

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The risk of involvement in a crash increases significantly above blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of 0.04 g/dl. Less than half of countries worldwide (88 countries) have drink-driving laws based on a blood alcohol concentration limits that is equal to or less than 0.05 g/dl as recommended in the World report on road traffic injury prevention. In Africa, Algeria has the tightest BAC levels of 0.02 g/dl while Uganda has 0.08 g/dl. The thing is, the smaller the figure, the better. How is your country fairing? Read more.

Finally, what would drink responsibly mean?
Many people don’t realize that Road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause of death for young people aged 15–29. Read more.

Drink responsibly would at the very least mean no drinking at all. What y’all be thinking?

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