Information Regarding the Impact of Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Risks of Alcohol Use

The following is a partial list of the adverse effects of alcohol use on the individual and society arranged by source.

The Truth about Alcohol: Tips for Teens (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2003)

  1. Alcohol affects your brain
    Drinking alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.
  2. Alcohol affects your body
    Alcohol can damage every organ in your body. It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and can increase your risk for a variety of life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
  3. Alcohol affects your self-control.
    Alcohol depresses your central nervous system, lowers your inhibitions, and impairs your judgment. Drinking can lead to risky behaviors, including having unprotected sex. This may expose you to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases or cause unwanted pregnancy.
  4. Alcohol can kill you.
    Drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to coma or even death. Also, in 1998, 35% of traffic deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds were alcohol-related.

From Top Ten Myths About Alcohol (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: National Institutes of Health)

  1. Can you hold your liquor? That is not a good thing. If you have to drink increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to get a “buzz” or get “high”, you are developing tolerance. This increases your vulnerability to many serious problems, including alcoholism.
  2. One in three 18- to 24-year-olds admitted to emergency rooms for serious injuries are intoxicated. And alcohol is also associated with homicides, suicides, and drownings.

The Naked Truth: Alcohol and Your Body (

  1. The amount of alcohol it takes to make you pass out is dangerously close to the amount of alcohol it takes to kill you.
  2. A hangover is caused partly by the body’s being poisoned by alcohol and partly by the body’s reaction to withdrawal from alcohol.

Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicines (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

  1. Some medicines that you might never have suspected can react with alcohol, including many medications that can be purchased ‘over-the-counter’—that is, without a prescription. Even some herbal remedies can have harmful effects when combined with alcohol.
  2. Mixing alcohol with certain medications [both prescription and over-the-counter] can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. It can also put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. In addition to these dangers, alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication harmful or toxic to your body.
  3. Alcohol and medicines can interact harmfully even if they are not taken at the same time.
  4. Medications are safe and effective when used appropriately. Your pharmacist or other health care provider can help you determine which medications interact harmfully with alcohol.

Facts About Women and Alcohol (Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse)

  1. Women are more susceptible to the influence of alcohol just prior to or during their menstrual cycle than at other times during their cycle.
  2. On average, a woman weighing 120 pounds requires 2.5 hours to metabolize one [standard] drink.
  3. The course of alcohol addiction progresses at a faster rate among women than men.