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Friday, January 4, 2013

SMART Youth Answers: Drink Me

To drink or not to drink? That is my question.


*This blog was written by youth leader who is not Christina.

Alcohol has been with mankind for quite some time now. Either playing a role in religion or worship to even being used for medical and antiseptic purposes. This fermented drink has been quite the ally, but, like any ally, betrayal quietly waits for one to slip. 

Today, the most commonly abused drug in the United States is alcohol. 

Believe it or not, this drink kills more than 200,000 people each year from all walks of life. Alcohol has been the cause for at least 40% of all traffic fatalities or injuries, 67% of murders, and 33% of suicides within the United States. 

Of course like any substance that can be abused, addiction is common. Abusing this substance can easily result in more than one long term effects, liver damage being the most common. With all these facts piled up in front of you it’s a wonder how and why we still indulge ourselves to such a thing (Says the man writing this with a nice cold beer next to him).
Although we’re dealing with a potentially dangerous substance that can manipulate our lives there is only one thing you can do to stray from danger. Learn about the damn thing! 
Let’s be frank, there are a good amount of underage youths that indulge themselves in alcoholic beverages. Being inexperienced can lead to one’s downfall and that happens to be underage folks' main issue. 
It’s time to lay down the facts and hang up rumors and superstitions on our dear friend Alcohol.

What am I drinking and How should I drink?

Alcohol is basically a sedative (also in the depressant category for drugs and alcohol). A sedative is a substance that causes an individuals activity and excitement levels to decrease. Since it’s bringing you down in a sense, this links alcohol to becoming a hypnotic substance. Hypnotic just means that it causes sleep. 
Why is this important to know, you ask? Let just say it paints a picture of what’s going on in that noggin of yours as you scream out YOLO and down a bottle of Hennessy.

Here are some tips on how to drink responsibly:

  • Having food in your system helps! It decreases the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream. Eating foods that are high in protein are the most helpful.
  • Drink with your group. The ones you know won’t let anything bad happen to you, that won’t blackmail you the next day with drunken photos of you. (We can all thank Reno for teaching me this lesson, jerk)
Personally, I've set up some ground rules with my friend for whenever we decide to drink. They have really come in handy.

· Stick to a Country: To sum it up this rule is first because we learned the hard way that Irish drinks should never meet with Mexican ones…ever. Don’t cause an international crisis…it kind of sucks cleaning after one.

· Choose Your Poison: Similar to the “Stick to A Country” rule, only it pertains strictly to what type of liquor. If you’re having Rum stick to Rum, if you’re having Vodka stick with Vodka.

· Keep it Together Man: This is one of the obvious one's, but we tend to ignore the poor fellow. Know your limit. If you’re not sure what your limit is, safely experiment within a controlled setting. You can even inform your parents that you want to figure what’s your breaking point so you know how to control yourself. Ask a TRUSTED family member or friend to video tape you as you drink, this might help put things into perspective for how you truly act when you are under the influence of alcohol.

· Let’s Not:  The “Let’s Not” rule is probably the hardest one to follow. I think it’s safe to say that SEX and ALCOHOL don’t mix. The mixture can and quite definitely can lead to humiliation, regret, embarrassment, STD’s and MTV's show "Teen Mom" favorite outcome, pregnancy. The most gruesome is sexual assault. If you really want to get lucky with someone, pretty sure you want to do it while having control over yourself.

· Pass:  It’s simple, skip a drink now and then. It’s OK to have a non-alcoholic drink between drinks (or in general). This doesn't make you a wuss or anything of the sorts, it makes you a SMART drinker. That non-alcoholic drink will keep your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) low.

· Sip Don’t Slurp: Dude, just enjoy the drink. Especially if you're paying for it. Keep your wallet and liver happy.

This last one is for cab takers everywhere.
· Choose your Cab Wisely: Late night. Drinks. Pot hole loving cab driver. Conclude with a messy situation. Either have a designated driver (someone who stays sober for the night to drive people home after the outing), or a trusted cab service. If you are near public transportation this is an option, but try to travel with someone else as a safety precaution. 

Hopefully you noticed how I didn’t write down "Don’t drink and drive". Guess why. Because it’s everywhere, you’ve heard it, you’ve seen it. 
Trust me, as a student Paramedic it sucks pulling a corpse out just to get a living guy out of a totaled car (the friend). 
Yes, you only have one life, one body so live a little. However, YOLO should be put in a totally different perspective. You can live life to the max, but with boundaries still there as rails to guide you. Make up your own rules, be responsible know your limits and respect others.
Here's the education now be SMART about your actions!

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