Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Alcohol Does Not Discriminate

If you would like to read about how anyone - including politicians - can suffer from substance abuse problems, read this article. Alcohol does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, wealth, class, or profession. And politicians from the left, right, and middle have all experienced problems.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cocaine and the Facts

Our thanks to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the following facts about Cocaine. 

Cocaine affects your brain. The word “cocaine” refers to the drug in both a powder (cocaine) and crystal (crack) form. It is made from the coca plant and causes a short-lived high that is immediately followed by opposite, intense feelings of depression, edginess, and a craving for more of the drug. Cocaine may be snorted as a powder, converted to a liquid form for injection with a needle, or processed into a crystal form to be smoked.

Cocaine affects your body. People who use cocaine often don’t eat or sleep regularly. They can experience increased heart rate, muscle spasms, and convulsions. If they snort cocaine, they can also permanently damage their nasal tissue.

Cocaine affects your emotions. Using cocaine can make you feel paranoid, angry, hostile, and anxious, even when you’re not high.

Cocaine is addictive. Cocaine interferes with the way your brain processes chemicals that create feelings of pleasure, so you need more and more of the drug just to feel normal. People who become addicted to cocaine start to lose interest in other areas of their life, like school, friends, and sports.

Cocaine can kill you. Cocaine use can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes, and respiratory failure. People who share needles can also contract hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, or other diseases.

Pee Wee Herman Talks About Crack Cocaine

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From Drunk Boating to Drunk Driving in Anne Arundel


Don Dwyer, a member of the Anne Arundel County House of Delegates, had another alcohol related incident.  Last year he was arrested after crashing his boat while intoxicated.  There were several injuries.  That story is here
Delegate Dwyer was out on bond for the boating incident when he was arrested again.  He was arrested for drunk driving last month.  That story is here.  He is reportedly in rehab.

Want to more about driving and drinking?  Here are some facts from the Feds:

 -  Drunk driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol misuse and abuse.
 -  Alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes cost more than an estimated $37 billion annually.
 -  In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes - one every 51 minutes.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gateway Drugs

What is a Gateway drug?  Gateway drugs are those that lead to the abuse of other more harmful drugs.  Generally, alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are considered to be Gateway drugs.  The theory is that young people begin using alcohol and tobacco because they are available.  To a young person, there is a lure to drinking and smoking (or dipping) because such use is exciting, risky, and it’s what adults do.  Marijuana is increasingly available as it becomes legalized.  Marijuana use is likely to increase the more it is decriminalized, particularly if it becomes completely legal, and marketed and distributed like alcohol and tobacco products.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is Binge Drinking?

When you were in college, did you and your buddies spend the week days planning how you would get totally trashed Friday night? Even now, do you look forward to a vacation where you will spend the nights - and days - drinking away? If so, you might be a binge drinker.

Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on an occasion during the past 30 days.  Binge drinking is reported by one in six adults in the United States.  Those who binge drink generally do so a lot, and with high intensity.  

Most binge drinkers are not alcoholics, so why is it bad?  According to this report, binge drinking is alcohol abuse and leads to more than half of the estimated 80,000 average annual deaths and three quarters of $223.5 billion in economic costs resulting from excessive alcohol consumption in the United States.

Bad things can happen when people consume lots of alcohol in one sitting, such as unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning), intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence), alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy.  A pattern of binge drinking in the long term can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, neurological damage, sexual dysfunction, and poor control of diabetes.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Maryland Politician Blames Alcohol Abuse on Fellow Politicians

Not "Driving Under the Influence," but "Boating Under the Influence."   That's what happens when country club politicians drink and play in their powerboats.  Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County), was charged last month with operating a vehicle while under the influence. 

His drinking and boating were discovered when his boat was apparently hit by another boat - Dwyer does not appear to be the cause of the accident or the resulting injuries to others when his boat sank.  But getting soaked - and not with water - as a boat captain is against the law.  The story is here and here.  Check out this YouTube video showing what can happen.

It's Dwyer's later comments that cause further eye brow raising.  He said that state legislators who voted for Maryland's same-sex marriage bill forced him to drink.  That story is here

He was recently removed from the House Judiciary Committee where he had been a member for the last eleven years. 

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

What Drinkers Avoid Reading About: Alcohol and Your Liver

Here is a reminder about drinking alcohol and your liver. It is not material that heavy drinkers enjoy reading, but it's critical to know.

Your healthy liver metabolises alcohol at the rate of about one drink an hour. But that doesn't mean you should consume one alcoholic drink an hour every day. When you drink regularly - a lot - your liver becomes fatty. This reduces the ability of your liver to metabolize alcohol. This occurrence is reversible - just stop or substantially reduce your alcohol intake. But when you continue to drink heavily beyond this stage in your life, you might develop an inflamed liver, or alcohol hepatitis. At this point, the damage is reversible.

Most everyone knows that continued heavy drinking over your lifetime may cause your liver to become cirrhotic. That is when your liver has become shrunken and scarred. About 15–20% of chronic heavy drinkers develop hepatitis or cirrhosis. You can prevent further damage to your liver - but not reverse it.  Continued drinking after this stage can result in liver failure and death.

Now keep those New Year's resolutions about cutting back on drinking! 

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