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Effects of Alcohol

How Much is too much?

Alcohol affects the mind and body depending on how much is consumed over a certain amount of time. It takes the body one hour to burn off an ounce of alcohol after it is absorbed into the blood. Once absorbed, nothing (drinking coffee, cold showers, etc.) will hurry away its effects. Only time will lessen the effects of alcohol. Less concentrated alcoholic beverages, like beer and wine, can take longer to absorb than spirits. Drinks mixed with soda or carbon dioxide have increased absorption rates. Even one or two drinks can significantly impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time.

What is BAC?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration. BAC is expressed in percentage of alcohol to blood. The higher the BAC number, the more impaired a person is. In most states .10 is the legal level of intoxication. This means that for every 1000 drops of blood in a person’s body, there is at least 1 drop of alcohol. BAC changes with body weight, time spent drinking and the amount of alcohol that is consumed.

BAC effects on feeling and behavior

.01 - .03 There is a mild lift in feeling. You have some loss of judgment.

.04 - .06 Most people feel high and must decide whether to continue drinking. You may get louder and have some loss of small muscle control, like focusing your eyes.

.08 - .09 Your sight and hearing are worse, It’s harder to detect danger. You have less sense of balance.

.11 - .12 Many people claim they’re not affected anymore, as if they could drink themselves sober. You are definitely not thinking straight.

.14 - .15 You have far less muscle control than normal. People feel happy even though they’re stumbling and acting foolishly. Risk of automobile accidents increases to 25 times the normal rate.

.20 - .25 You’re confused. You usually need help doing things, even standing up. Those who drive are 50 to 100 times more likely to crash. The average alcohol-related highway death occurs at this level.

.30 Almost nothing gets through the senses. An extremely life-threatening BAC level.

.40 Your condition ranges from unconscious to comatose. There is a chance of death from a “shut down” of breathing.

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