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by Mary Wright, RN, health educator at North End Waterfront Health

In light of April being Alcohol Awareness Month, here are some facts about alcohol and drinking.

Alcohol is a depressant that is made from the fermentation of fruits, vegetables, and grains. These ingredients are brewed and distilled into alcoholic beverages that include beer, wine, and liquor.

A standard drink in the US contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol. This amount equals:

  • 12 oz beer
  • 8 oz malt liquor
  • 5 oz wine
  • 5 oz or a shot of 80 proof spirits or liquor (gin, vodka, rum, whiskey)

No type of alcohol is safer than another type. All alcohol is equal in the effect it has on you and your body. It’s the amount that you drink that is important. Alcohol affects every part of your body. It affects the central nervous system, is absorbed rapidly from the stomach and small intestine, and metabolized in the liver.

Some of the effects on your body include:

  • Central nervous system: lack of coordination, confusion, memory, judgment and decision-making (problems with decision making can cause car accidents, falls, risky sexual behaviors and violent behaviors)
  • Liver: cirrhosis
  • Pregnant women: harm to developing fetus, fetal alcohol syndrome, SIDS

Excessive drinking includes:

  • Binge drinking (Four or more drinks during one occasion in two hours for women, five or more drinks in two hours for men)
  • Heavy drinking (More than one drink a day for women, more than two drinks a day for men)
  • Drinking by pregnant women
  • Drinking by underage youth

For more information go to: www.cdc.gov/alcoh

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1 COMMENT

  1. From the article: “5 oz or a shot of 80 proof spirits or liquor.” I think the author meant 1.5 oz. Also, most hard liquors have a legal requirement that they be bottled at not less than 80 proof (40% alcohol). Often, the distilleries make a “harder” liquor. For instance, many whiskeys have 43% alcohol.

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