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Evils of Alcohol

If one thing were going to bring this country (USA) to a devastating and painful halt, then it would most definitely be alcohol. No other substance has caused nearly the amount of death, chaos, crime, and pain. And to make matters much worse, it is almost completely ignored as a poison, or even as a drug. It boggles my mind when I see how ignorant people are concerning alcohol, especially in college settings.
The most devastating effect of alcohol is its addictiveness. In 1992, an estimated 27 million people in USA where addicted to alcohol (Grant). This ended up costing the affected, their families, and taxpayers over $148 billion (NIAAA). Besides the costs, alcoholism has ruined the lives of millions. The number one cause of child abuse always has, and always will be alcoholism. A recent study found that the number of abused and neglected children had more than doubled from 1986 to 1997 to 3 million. A rise more than eight times that of the rise of the population of children (Elrod). 915 child welfare professionals were surveyed, and 90% said that alcohol alone is the main cause of child abuse and neglect (Elrod).
We can also thank alcohol and the alcohol industry for over 110,000 deaths in 1996. Deaths from cirrhosis of the liver, drunk driving, alcohol induced fights and accidents, and cancer just to name a few (NIAAA). Over 300 people die every day in USA of something alcohol related. But how does the average American look at alcohol? Unless you consider 110,000 deaths "safe" and unless you consider rape and assault as being "social" then these are simply misnomers created largely by the alcohol industry.
Most Americans are unfortunately unaware that alcohol is the most common and widely used date rape drug. A study of the urine samples of 578 rape victims showed that 36% of them had alcohol in their system. Less than 1%, 5 victims, showed evidence of the "date rape drug" Rohypnol (ElSohly). In more than half the cases, the man was drunk.
Alcohol has also had a phenomenal impact on the crime world. A study by the British Medical Association showed that alcohol was present in 64% of all public offences and 40% of all violent assaults. Alcohol was also present in 60-70% of homicides, 75% of stabbings, 70% of beatings, and 50% fights (IAS). How can one look at that and say that alcohol is safe and social? It is obvious that people are not responsible with their drinking, and are bringing it onto the people around them. Alcohol remains the number one cause of all crime.

Alcohol and Academics
Alcohol can have a big impact on a student's ability to succeed academically. According to a 1992 survey by the CORE Institute of more than 50,000 college students from across the USA, "A" students averaged about 3 drinks per week,"B" students averaged about 5 drinks per week, "C" students averaged about 7 drinks per week and "D" & "F" students averaged about 11 drinks per week. Students who misuse alcohol report missing more classes and performing poorly on an assignment or exam more often than those who chose to drink responsibly or not at all. In addition, there is research, which indicates that a person's ability to think critically can be impaired for up to 30 days following the consumption of alcohol.

Alcohol and Sexual Assault
The majority of sexual assaults that are experienced by college students are acquaintance or "date rapes." The majority of those sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol on the part of the perpetrator or the victim/survivor. Alcohol can impair a person's judgment and make it difficult for two people to communicate about what they want and do not want to do sexually. If a person is intoxicated, they cannot legally give their consent to have sex.
In addition to the use of alcohol, there has recently been a marked increase in the use of drugs such as GHB and Rohypnol to facilitate a sexual assault. These drugs are odorless and tasteless and can be easily dissolved in a drink. These drugs can result in a loss of inhibition, unconsciousness, and the inability to remember events that took place while under the influence.

Alcohol and Violence
Because of its impact on judgment and emotions alcohol use can often result in acts of violence, including sexual assaults, hate crimes, and fighting. According to a variety of surveys, between 50% and 80% of violence on college campuses are alcohol related.

Other Studies
Consequences of Underage Alcohol Use Alcohol-the most widely used drug among youth-causes serious and potentially life-threatening problems for this population. Research indicates that drinking is associated with risk-taking and sensation-seeking behavior among adolescents. Alcohol has disinhibiting effects that may increase the likelihood of unsafe activities.

Alcohol-Related Fatalities
In 1997, 21 percent of the young drivers in USA, 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes were intoxicated. For young drivers, alcohol involvement is higher among males than among females. In 1997, 25 percent of the young male drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking at the time of the crash, compared with 12 percent of the young female drivers involved in fatal crashes.
According to national data, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among adolescents and young adults in USA. Factors contributing to youth drowning include alcohol, which can severely affect a swimmer's coordination and judgment. Forty to 50 percent of young males who drown were drinking when they died, and an equal percentage of all diving accidents are alcohol related.
Approximately 240,000 to 360,000 of the USA's 12 million current undergraduates will ultimately die from alcohol-related causes Physical and Mental Health People who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who wait until age 21. Each additional year of delayed drinking onset reduces the probability of alcohol dependence by 14 percent.
Adolescents who drink heavily assume the same long-term health risks as adults who drink heavily. This means they are at increased risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, hemorrhagic stroke, and certain forms of cancer.
Adolescents who use alcohol are more likely to become sexually active at an earlier age, to have sex more often, and to engage in unprotected sex, which places them at greater risk of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
One study showed that students diagnosed with alcohol abuse were four times more likely to experience major depression than those without an alcohol problem.
Alcohol use among adolescents has been associated with considering planning, attempting, and completing suicide. Research does not indicate whether drinking causes suicidal behavior, only that the two behaviors are correlated.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to serious and permanent brain damage in the unborn child. This can result in mental retardation and severe emotional problems as the child grows up.

Academic Performance
A lower dosage of alcohol will damage a young brain compared to a fully mature brain, and young brains are damaged more quickly. Alcohol exposure during adolescence is linked with a reduced ability to learn compared with those not exposed until adulthood.
Alcohol is implicated in more than 40 percent of all college academic problems and 28 percent of all college dropouts in USA. At both 2- and 4-year colleges, the heaviest drinkers make the lowest grades High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely than other students to drop out of school or to believe that earning good grades is not important.

About half of college students who are victims of crime are drinking when they are victimized. In a high percentage of serious crimes, alcohol is found in the offender, the victim, or both, and alcohol-related problems are disproportionately found in both juvenile and adult offenders. Ninety-five percent of violent crime on college campuses in USA is alcohol related, and 90 percent of college rapes involve alcohol use by the victim and/or assailant.

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