Consider these sobering statistics:

  • According to the Alliance for Underage Drinking, more than 100,000 deaths are caused by excessive alcohol consumption each year in the United States. Direct and indirect causes of death include drunk driving, cirrhosis of the liver, falls, cancer, and stroke. 
  • Alcohol was blamed in the deaths of almost five times the number of young Texans due to all illicit drugs combined. 
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly two alcohol-related traffic deaths per hour, 43 per day, and 303 per week in 1999. That is the equivalent of two jetliners crashing week after week. 

Alcohol slows the brain’s ability to control the body and mind. It acts like a sedative and slows down muscle coordination, reflexes, movement, and speech. If you drink too much alcohol, your breathing or heart rate can reach dangerously low levels or even stop.

If you are of legal drinking age, remember that it is your choice whether to use alcohol or not. No one should feel pressured to drink or made to feel embarrassed because of a personal choice. Drinking alcohol should not be seen as a necessary component for having fun and being with friends.

If you do choose to use alcohol, do so in moderation. Know both when you should not drink at all and your personal limits of moderation.

If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, seek help. You can call the nationwide help line of the American Council on Alcoholism (800.527.5344) or look in the phone book for local resources, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These organizations provide expert, non-judgmental support.