Alcohol Fact Sheet

Facts on Alcohol:

  • Alcohol is a depressant and is contained within every alcoholic beverage, including fruit based/soda-like drinks such as alco-pops and wine coolers.
  • Street names: Booze, alcohol, liquor, drinks, cocktails, highballs, nightcaps, moonshine, white lightning, mountain dew, firewater, beer, gin, vodka, bourbon, whiskey, liqueurs, wine, brandy, champagne, rum, sherry, port, coolers
  • A 12-ounce can or bottle of beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a 5 ounce glass of wine, or a 1 1/2 ounce shot of whiskey (contrary to popular belief, mixing alcohol does not make a person more drunk, it just makes them more sick!).
  • Active ingredient:: Ethyl or Ethanol Alcohol
  • Alcohol tolerance and effects are dependent on the weight and height of an individual; other factors include how long ago and how much an individual ingested food.

Three levels defined for men and women (all ages):

Current use - At least one drink in the past 30 days (includes binge and heavy use)
Binge use - Five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in 30 days (includes heavy use)
Heavy use - Five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 5 different days in the past 30 days

Alcohol Use/Abuse In Hawaii and Nationally:

  • Drunk driving is the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime.
  • More than 1 in 10 Americans aged 12 or older in 2001 (25.1 million persons) drove under the influence of alcohol at least once. Between 2000 and 2001, 22.8% of young adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol, an increased amount from previous years.
  • In 2003, 17,013 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, representing more than 40% of total traffic deaths (this number decreased from 17,419 as recorded in 2002). In Hawaii, 53% of traffic deaths were alcohol-related– more than 13% higher than the national average.
  • In colleges, alcohol use is a factor in 40% of academic problems, related to 28% of drop-outs.
  • In 2003, 13.1% of Hawaii high school seniors needed treatment for alcohol abuse and dependency, also, 7.9% of 10th graders needed treatment.
  • Alcohol and tobacco kill more than 50 times the number of people killed by cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and every other illegal drug combined.
  • Surveys of students in grades 5th-12th show that 56% of the students say that alcohol advertising encourages them to drink. It is no wonder that the average age at which children begin drinking is about 13 and that these young people consume close to 10 million drinks each day.

Effects, Indicators and Withdraw Symptoms of Alcohol Use:


  • Slower reactions
  • Unexpected behavior change (violent, apathetic, accusational, paranoid)
  • Balance, coordination, and judgement suffer
  • Slurred speech, confusion
  • Increased chances of engaging in high-risk sexual activity
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Long term:

  • Muscle disease and tremors, liver disease - including cirrhosis of the liver and cancer
  • Nutritional deficiency, ulcers, and gastritis
  • BRAIN DAMAGE: motor skills affected, inability to cope with daily situations, severe depression, insomnia, lack of pleasure, apathy, trouble concentrating or expressing ideas
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritation and inflammation of parts of the digestive system
  • Increased risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx and larynx

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