wine-glassesI’m not certain if it’s our son’s age that is getting me focused on alcohol and excessive drinking, but it is definitely on my radar.

The CDC recently reported that binge drinking kills 6 Americans each day – not surprisingly, a majority are men.

During a group presentation in my college classroom this past semester each person was asked what first came to mind when he heard the word: alcohol. One hundred percent of the response was positive; words like “party”, “fun” and “beer pong” were offered up. When the class was queried about the negatives, these college students quickly offered sobering terms like drunk driving, unprotected sex and massive hangovers. What would it take to get the negatives of excessive drinking come first to mind? I’m not certain except that I can bet good role modeling by parents should be in our list.

Do you know what a “safe” or moderate amount of alcohol is? One drink¬†per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men is the guideline from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is a daily amount, not the week’s average. But even moderate alcohol consumption increases one’s risk of breast cancer, car accidents, injuries from falls and violence and drowning. It’s a misconception that consuming alcohol is necessary for a healthy heart!

While binge drinking does kill more men aged 35-64 years than young men, I suspect it sets it roots earlier. Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks within a 2 hour period for men, and 4 drinks within that time frame for women. There are many on-line resources and questionnaires you can review to see if you or a loved one should be concerned but difficulties in school at work or in relationships secondary to drinking deserves a serious investigation. The CDC website might be a good place to start.

While, “trashed”, “hammered”, “bombed” make it into Monday conversations fairly routinely, perhaps the term “alcohol poisoning” should be included in those same sentences. Think before you drink to be well,


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