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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2006

Awareness: Airmen encouraged to make responsible choices

By 437 MDG ADAPT office

Base officials are urging Airmen to make responsible decisions when it comes to drinking alcohol. 

Airmen should be specifically aware of the consequences from consuming too much alcohol and drinking and driving. 

"I have worked with hundreds of Airmen who have gotten into trouble because of their drinking," said Capt. Jose Gomez, 437th Medical Group alcohol and drug awareness prevention and training team manager. 

Captain Gomez said that there are certain indicators that someone has a drinking problem. For instance, the logic used by people who choose to drink and drive. 

"I've worked with patients who have thought it was OK to drive because they didn't feel drunk, they had the least amount to drink out of all their friends or because they had their last drink two hours ago," he said. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, certain driving skills can be impaired by blood alcohol concentrations as low as .02 percent. 

"Your BAC is the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream," Captain Gomez said.
For example, a 160-pound man will have a BAC of about .04 percent one hour after drinking two 12-ounce beers on an empty stomach. Even though most states have a BAC limit of .08, your driving skills are impaired at much lower levels. 

Even a person who waits a few hours after having their last drink to drive can be taking a huge risk, Captain Gomez said. 

"This is a common misconception. There have been individuals who have received a DUI with more than .10 BAC even when they stopped drinking four to six hours before driving," Captain Gomez said. 

For example, if you had 12 drinks over a three hour period and then stopped drinking for a couple of hours, your BAC is most likely going to be above the legal limit," he said.
"The lesson to be learned here is that it's better to be safe than sorry," Captain Gomez said. "So, if you have been drinking, just do not drive." 

Other indicators that an individual has a drinking problem which can result in poor decision making include failure to fulfill major responsibilities such as work and school, having recurring alcohol-related legal problems such as physically hurting someone while drunk and continued drinking despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by drinking. 

"Accepting the fact that you need help for an alcohol problem may not be easy," Captain Gomez said. "However, people should keep in mind that the sooner they get help the better their chances are for successful recovery." 

For more information, call ADAPT at 963-6852.