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ALCOHOL

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DANGEROUS DRUG THAT IS IGNORED

Every year in Australia, around 65,000 people are hospitalised because of their alcohol intake. That is around 175 people every day of the year. Many of them will not leave those hospitals, but will die there. Alcohol consumption is responsible for most drug-related teenage deaths.

Alcohol is associated with 44% of fire injuries, 34% of falls and drowning, 30% of car accidents, 47% of assaults, 34% of homicides, 32% of suicides, 16% of child abuse and 7% of industrial machine accidents. Alcohol is the main cause of deaths on Australian roads. Road crash deaths and injuries are the second biggest source of alcohol-related death after liver cirrhosis. About one third of male motor vehicle deaths and over 10% of female deaths are due to alcohol. For pedestrians, alcohol accounts for around 40% of male and 17% of female deaths. Around half of these deaths are in those aged 15 to 24 years. Alcohol is a major factor in imprisonment. The result of the consumption of alcohol is a catastrophe.

MORE DANGEROUS THAN ALL THE OTHER DRUGS COMBINED

The hard data shows that the harm that alcohol consumption causes outweighs the harm from all the other drugs put together. But because of community acceptance, alcohol is not treated in the same fashion as other dangerous narcotics, even though hospital records clearly show the disastrous effects of alcohol use. The range of problems with this drug seem endless - addiction, injuries, assaults, damage to family life, lost productivity and chronic health problems. But most Australians do not even think of alcohol as a drug.

Alcohol is an addictive drug and does affect health. In fact, it is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of death. High blood alcohol levels are a factor in a third of all road accident deaths and in hundreds of thousands more cases where people are crippled but not killed. Alcohol also has a strong connection with violence. Police statistics show that at least 50% of people committing serious assaults are intoxicated. Studies have found that there are more assaults around hotels and other licensed premises.

BRAIN DAMAGE CAUSED BY ALCOHOL

Not only that, many studies have shown strong and clear links between heavy drinking and brain damage. About 2,500 Australians are being diagnosed with alcohol-related brain damage every year. The longer that people drink, the more likely that they will be affected and the damage is irreparable. Alcohol-related brain damage has many adverse effects, including mood changes, confusion, issues with short-term memory, vision problems and cognitive difficulties. But there is hardly anything publicised about this tragedy.

LINKS BETWEEN ALCOHOL AND DANGEROUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Alcohol substantially increases the risk of cancer, including cancer of the mouth, liver and breast. However, a survey by Roy Morgan Research in September 2007 revealed that more than 60% of those surveyed were unaware of the link. There are no warnings of this on alcohol products. Australian wine bottled for export to the USA carry warning labels, for instance with clear warnings about the dangers of mixing alcohol with pregnancy, yet Australian consumers can buy the same wine with no warnings.

Some nations, such as the USA and India, have warning labels on bottles. Others, such as Sweden, have a series of warning messages on advertisements. Alcohol has been shown to be causally related to more than 60 different medical conditions. The long-term risks of alcohol include brain and liver damage, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancers, stomach ulcers and the loss of sexual functions in men as well as infertility in women.

THERE ARE NO BENEFITS TO CONSUMING ALCHOHOL

Just because the consumption of alcohol has been accepted as a part of our lives for centuries does not mean that it should continue to be allowed to destroy so many lives every year. Over 2000 people per year die on the roads as a direct result of alcohol consumption and around 5% of all diseases can be attributed to alcohol use.

So what is the benefit of consuming an expensive product that scrambles people's brains, makes them sick, causes accidents, precipitates violence, hospitalises 175 people in Australia per day, of which around 6 per day will die as a direct result of their drinking alcohol? The bottom line is that there are absolutely no benefits from the use of alcohol. It is another addictive narcotic, but unlike heroin, cocaine, ice and other illicit drugs, alcohol is much accepted as a part of life, without being recognised as a major menace.

POISONING YOURSELF BY DRINKING ALCOHOL

Just remember this. Every time you have an alcoholic drink, you are drastically increasing your chances of getting cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and many other nasty diseases, as well causing irreparable brain damage if the diseases don't kill you in the near future. And you are paying hard-earned money to do this to yourself. Don't you feel like a complete sucker? If not, you really should, because the danger of consuming such a dangerous drug are well documented and if you ignore the facts and wind up in hospital waiting for a liver transplant or dying of alcohol-caused cancer, then you only have yourself to blame.