Alcohol

 

Alcohol contains the drug ethanol. It is a Central Nervous System depressant drug because of its effects on the brain and the body.  Many people mistakenly think it is a stimulant due to its common effects on social behavior.  Although it can make some people more outgoing or outspoken, alcohol slows down brain activity, which includes decreased reaction time, coordination, and balance.  Part of the reason for the social effects is due to alcohol’s ability to lower inhibitions.  This impacts the body’s ‘red flag’ system that provides a warning about the choices that are about to be made.  Alcohol relaxes that warning system and can result in negative consequences.  The brain is unable to process information and make rational decisions about actions while under the influence of alcohol. 

 

Alcohol is the most abused drug among people under 21 and kills more young people than all other drug deaths combined.  Part of the reason it is the most abused is because it is the most available.  There are laws for those that sell and supply alcohol to minors, and the fines are steep due to the drug being so deadly for young people.  Another reason it is the most abused is because most people underestimate the harmful effects of alcohol use.  Even upon hearing that it kills more young people than all other drugs, a young person will still mistakenly believe that it won’t happen to them, they won’t get caught, and it’s not a big deal.  There are a number of misunderstandings about alcohol.  One misunderstanding with alcohol is how much is ‘a drink’ or standard serving of alcohol. 

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