DDR, ADAPT to conduct alcohol screening

  • Published
  • By Jon Fishman
  • 95th Medical Operations Squadron
When people hear the term "alcohol awareness," several things, such as drinking and driving, underage drinking and binge drinking, come to mind. However, some make light of the subject and joke about DUIs and friends getting stupid while drinking.

While alcohol is a legal drug for those who are age 21 and above, it is still a drug and must be considered extremely dangerous if misused and abused.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, accidental death is the No. 1 killer of those 18 to 25, and 65 percent of those deaths involve the abuse of alcohol. For college age students, this equates to more than 1,700 deaths per year. Alcohol is a contributing factor in over 85,000 deaths a year nationwide for all age groups. This makes alcohol abuse the third leading cause of preventable death, after smoking and obesity.

A quarter of all admissions to emergency rooms are alcohol related, and greater than half of all domestic violence incidents and homicides are alcohol related. Alcohol abuse is also a contributing factor in approximately one third of suicides.

Drunk driving claims the lives of more than 16,000 individuals a year, which makes up 41 percent of all deadly vehicle crashes. Half of all DUI-related traffic fatalities involve individuals under the age of 21. Despite the legal limit, there is no safe amount of alcohol when it comes to drinking and driving. One is 1.4 times more likely to be involved in an automobile crash after just one drink.

Alcohol abuse and even heavy use is associated with numerous health risks, which include increased incidence of liver cirrhosis, cancers of the liver, esophagus, throat and larynx, as well as, immune system problems, brain damage and heart problems.

To avoid health risks associated with alcohol, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises people who drink to do so in moderation. Moderate drinking is consuming no more than one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. 

Alcohol abuse prevention is not just about information dissemination. It is also the proactive two-way communication resulting in actions that reduce the abuse of alcohol and, in turn, alcohol-related incidents. It is up to not only individuals, but also their wingmen to insure that everyone is acting in a responsible manner. This means that if one chooses to drink, do so legally and responsibly. This means no underage drinking, know the limit, use alcohol in moderation, don't pressure people to drink, no binge drinking, and never drink and drive. 

If people find themselves in a position where they have been drinking and need a ride home, call Airman Against Drunk Driving at 277-AADD. They will pick up all Edwards-affiliated personnel, both civilian and active-duty military.

As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, Drug Demand Reduction and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment programs will be conducting voluntary alcohol screening throughout the month of April. These free screenings takes a look at an individual's alcohol consumption to see if it is reaching unhealthy level. It also provides the individual with a personal evaluation of potential risks associated with their drinking habits.

For more information, call 275-3395 or 275-2834.