By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division
Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. The good news? We can all do our part to prevent alcohol misuse or abuse. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Idaho State Liquor Division encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.
In 2017, there were 245 fatal crashes in Idaho1 and 24.7% of those were the result of drunk driving2. Over 5,450 people were arrested for driving under the influence with 48 of those people being under the age of 213. These numbers do not include arrests for drunkenness, domestic violence incidents where alcohol is present or other various social harms that are happening to our friends and family members throughout our community.
If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
- Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Keep track of how much you drink.
- Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
- Don’t drink when you are upset.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
- Avoid places where people drink a lot.
- Make a list of reasons not to drink.
If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking and/or behavior when drinking, encourage your friend or family member to seek help. If you are in Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare’s Idaho’s Careline 2-1-1 is a great first start. Anyone can call 2-1-1 or visit https://211.idaho.gov/ for alcohol and substance abuse resources.
Listed below are some other resources available to you at the local, state and federal levels:
- The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: Ways to prevent underage drinking, to end drunk driving, and how to drink responsibly.
- Al-Anon Family Groups: Al-Anon members are people who are worried about someone with a drinking problem.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A fellowship of men and women that have had a drinking problem.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Mission is to support alcohol research.
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthfinder.gov: Includes various health topics to help live and lead a healthy life.
- BeTheParents.org: Great site encouraging parent engagement and ways to prevent underage drinking.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): NIAAA supports and conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being. It is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world.
- College Drinking: Changing the Culture (NIAAA): Resources and materials for colleges.
- Stop Underage Drinking: Portal of Federal Resources: Provides ongoing, high-level leadership regarding alcohol and serves as a mechanism for coordinating federal efforts aimed at preventing and reducing underage drinking.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health: The CDC Alcohol Program works to strengthen the scientific foundation for preventing excessive alcohol use.
- Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth: Their work focuses on the marketing variables of product, place, promotion and price, and the role these variables play in youth drinking and related problems.
- Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS): Provides detailed information on a wide variety of Alcohol-Related Policies in the United States at both State and Federal levels.
- National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA): Their mission is to support member jurisdictions in their efforts to protect public health and safety and ensure responsible and efficient systems for beverage alcohol distribution and sales. The site includes public health resources, education and white papers.
1Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report
2Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility – 2017 State Facts
3Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report
By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division
Idaho sets the perfect holiday stage for us every year. We hear songs like, “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland” and “O Christmas Tree” that put us all in the holiday spirit. We also hear, however, many songs that reference and promote alcohol and being drunk during the holidays such as “Drunk on Christmas,” “One More Christmas Beer” and “All I Want for Christmas is Whiskey.” They tell us to “Eat, Drink and be Merry,” and many of us do. In fact, 16% of adults say they drink more than usual during the holidays and 97% of adults went to work hung over after a party, or know someone who did1. If you decide to consume alcohol this holiday season, it is important to know how to do so in a fun and responsible way.
First, it is estimated that 97+ million Americans will hit the roads between December 23 and January 12. It is illegal to drive with a 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher which most women can reach by having just 2 standard drinks; for men, it is around 3 standard drinks. It can be easy to drink more when socializing, so you are encouraged to plan ahead.
Second, it is important to know what you are drinking, how much you are drinking and over what period of time. The standard used when relating alcohol equivalency is: one 12 fl. oz. beer (5% alcohol) = one 5 fl. oz. glass of wine (12% alcohol) = one 1.5 fl. oz. shot of 80-proof liquor (40% alcohol). This can be a bit misleading, however, as many cocktails have 2.0-2.5 fl. oz. of 80-proof liquor in them so if the standard equivalency rule is used, you will actually consume almost two drinks in one. Also, as the proof of the alcohol gets higher, or the amount of time lessons between drinks, the effects on the body can change dramatically.
Third, mixing alcohol and medication is a no-no. Serious harm can come to you and others so do not combine the two.
Fourth, there are so many opportunities to be with friends and family during the holiday and it is fine and legal to enjoy alcohol if you are over the age of 21; and it can be a lot of fun when done responsibly. Mixblendenjoy.com is the state of Idaho’s retail website where you can find more information about party planning, drink recipes and product availability around the state. It is a great tool to have when planning your holiday event.
Last, but certainly not least, if you are driving, entertaining or headed to a family function with children, make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks available. A fun and easy drink is a Cranberry Lime Mule Mocktail. Start with a copper cup (if available), fill with ice, add one part cranberry juice, two parts non-alcoholic ginger beer or ginger ale, add a squeeze of lime, then garnish with a lime and a few cranberries. Delicious and festive!
Wishing you and yours a happy, safe and fun holiday season and make sure to keep singing -“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Let’s Start the New Year Right!”
1 Harris Interactive Survey for Caron Treatment Centers, 2017.