Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention(865) 457-3007

Alcohol

 

Brief Description:
Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. A standard drink equals 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol, or 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces (a “shot”) of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey). NIDA does not conduct research on alcohol; for more information, please visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 

Effects:
Alcohol affects every organ in the drinker’s body and can damage a developing fetus. Intoxication can impair brain function and motor skills; heavy use can increase risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a diagnosable disease characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, and/or continued use despite harm or personal injury. Alcohol abuse, which can lead to alcoholism, is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.

 

Statistics and Trends:
In 2008, 51.6% of Americans age 12 and older had used alcohol at least once in the 30 days prior to being surveyed; 23.3% had binged (5+ drinks within 2 hours); and 23.3% drank heavily (5+ drinks on 5+ occasions). In the 12-17 age range, 14.6% had consumed at least one drink in the 30 days prior to being surveyed; 8.8% had binged; and 2.0% drank heavily. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Web Site). The NIDA-funded 2008 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 15.9% of 8th graders, 28.8% of 10th graders, and 43.1% of 12th graders had consumed at least one drink in the 30 days prior to being surveyed, and 5.4% of 8th graders, 14.4% of 10th graders, and 27.6% of 12th graders had been drunk. Source: Monitoring the Future (University of Michigan Web Site)

Source: The National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2010.