JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
As you may know, April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program on Joint Base Charleston - Air Base is here to provide Airmen with valuable information regarding alcohol education.
Whether you are at a party, getting a bite to eat, or just hanging out with friends, we live in a world where alcohol is widely accepted and often available at social gatherings. But no matter how common it is, drinking alcohol comes with risks. Your decisions about whether to drink, when to drink and how much to drink can mean the difference between life and death.
Know the facts.
Alcohol affects people differently depending on a person's body weight, metabolism, gender and when and how much they ate before drinking.
And since you can't always tell how strong a drink is by its taste, wine coolers and mixed drinks can deceive a person into thinking they haven't consumed as much alcohol as they actually have.
A 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor, a 12-ounce glass of beer and a five-ounce glass of wine all contain about the same amount of alcohol.
"One can or bottle doesn't always equal one drink either," said Staff Sgt. Shaquanda Sullivan, ADAPT NCO in charge and mental health technician. "There's one 12-ounce drink on the market that contains four times the normal amount of alcohol in a can the same size."
Alcohol affects your brain and your body.
When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream and slows down your central nervous system. Even after you finish your last drink, the alcohol level in your blood can keep rising.
"Time is the only cure to reduce the alcohol level in your blood," said Sullivan. "And that only starts after you have stopped drinking for a period of time."
Drinking makes it dangerous to drive.
If you drink alcohol, just don't drive. The consequences are not worth it. Always choose a "designated driver" in advance, someone who won't drink any alcohol during the course of the day or evening and will get everyone home safely.
"It is vital to have a plan," said Sullivan. "Also, have back-up plans for when things take an unexpected turn."
Even a small amount of alcohol can make driving unsafe.
Don't ride with a person who has been drinking and don't let them behind the wheel. If you can, take away his or her car keys.
Call a friend for a ride. Check to see if your area has a free ride service. Keep extra money with you in case for a taxi or bus.
Don't forget about the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program. AADD is an all-volunteer program, which provides free, safe, confidential rides home to military members, their families and Department of Defense civilians, who make the responsible decision not to drink and drive.
The program is activated on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. AADD also operates on Sunday if Monday is a federal holiday. When an individual's first and second plan have fallen through, they can call (843) 963-AADD or 2233.
Underage drinking is illegal and unsafe.
Underage drinking is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
Underage drinkers also risk losing their license, going to jail, having their car impounded, losing college financial aid and more. Being in the military, those consequences become much more severe, such as facing non-judicial punishment along with the possibilities stated above.
Binge drinking is dangerous.
Binge drinking, is described as four drinks in a row for women, five for men. It is too much alcohol for a person's body to handle in a single sitting of an hour or two.
"People don't realize what counts as binge drinking these days," said Sullivan. "There are people who binge drink and don't even know it."
Drinking games, competitions and bets can be especially dangerous. People can drink too much before they realize how much alcohol they have taken in.
Keep yourself and those around you safe.
If you choose to drink, drink only in moderation. Think 0-0-1-3! Zero underage drinking offenses, zero drinking and driving incidents, one drink per hour, three drinks per evening.
Never drink and drive.
Don't let your friends drink and drive.
Get help if you have a drinking problem.
The ADAPT program has all the necessary tools to help you. ADAPT is located in building 1000 and can be reached at 963-6852.
"Be a good wingman," said Sullivan. "Don't let your friends make the wrong decisions, and most importantly, stay safe."