Substance Abuse (Alcohol)

While its consumption by adults is commonly considered a socially acceptable practice, it should be remembered that alcohol is a potentially lethal toxin.  "Alcohol is the most broadly toxic substance legally on the market for internal consumption, and is far more toxic than many substances currently banned or restricted by the FDA"6.  Alcohol toxicity can be classified as either acute (short term) or chronic (long term).

Acute alcohol toxicity occurs when large amounts of alcohol are consumed within a short amount of time.  While the liver has the ability to detoxify alcohol and other harmful substances, if the rate of alcohol consumption exceeds the rate of detoxification by the liver the excess alcohol causes intoxication.  Alcohol impairs the brain and as the concentration of alcohol increases in the body it can cause depression, respiratory arrest (you stop breathing), coma (you turn into a vegetable) and finally, death.

Alcohol Use by Students, 2002

  8th Grade 10th Grade 12th Grade
Any Use 47.0% 66.9% 78.4%
Been Drunk 21.3% 44.0% 61.6%

(Source: Monitoring the Future Study, The University of Michigan)

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