Written by: Christopher Cramer, Michael Katan, Adam Brousse, Joseph Alm, Christopher Herzog
Have you been to a party at school where alcohol was served? The thought of drinking alcohol will make many students enlivened with the thought of adulthood, and a sense of responsibility. Students may not truly understand the nuances of their actions especially when drinking in excess.
Excessive drinking is five or more drinks on one occasion for men, and four or more drinks on one occasion for women. On average 88,000 deaths per year are caused by excessive drinking. More startling is the fact that 8,800 of these deaths occur in people of working age, such as college students, and those in their early 20’s. Workplace productivity often decreases with excessive alcohol use. Reduced workplace productivity may lead to loss of income, and even loss of jobs. Income problems add to the fact in the United States excessive drinking cost nearly $300 billion dollars each year.
Alcohol abuse has negative effects on the person using as well as on their family environment. All aspects of their life are affected by their alcohol use, and all aspects of their life must be involved in working to end their abuse of alcohol. “When family members have appropriate education and treatment for themselves they can play a significant role in the abusers’ recognition of the problem and acceptance of treatment.” This quote from Social Work Public Health explains the importance of family and friends in helping them choose and follow through on a successful treatment plan.
Prevention is key, with both national and local proposals, campaigns, and outreach programs. One often wonders what, if any, of theses preventions are working? For instance, up to 40% of fatal traffic accidents are caused by individuals under the influence of alcohol. Nationally there are many different campaigns geared towards drinking and driving. Other proposals that have been made include: decreasing the current drinking age to help prevent underage drinking and increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages.
Some questions to ask if you or someone you know has a concern about their drinking habits. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking? Have people criticized your drinking? Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking? Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover? If you answered yes to two or more questions, it’s indicative of having a drinking problem and yes to all four questions could indicate alcoholism. If this is the case for you, or for someone close to you, then it’s important to seek help before the drinking problem begins to impact your life, or your loved ones in a negative way.The NCCC wellness center(C-122) offers personal counseling services for those who have drinking problems which are confidential and free of charge. They provide brochures with information for those who are struggling with excessive alcohol consumption. Other resources include WNY Prevention Resource Center and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (OASAS) which can help schedule meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and hotline numbers if you want to speak to someone about your alcohol issues.