Alcohol is a drug and, like all drugs, it has an effect on a person's body and mind. Because drinking alcoholic beverages makes some people feel more alive and more outgoing, alcohol is sometimes seen as a stimulant. In fact it is a depressant, and slows down the central nervous system, of which the brain is a part. Small amounts of alcohol can affect a person's coordination and judgment.

Drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time can even cause death. Alcohol is estimated to be contributing factor in 20-30% of all accidents higher alcoholic content. Regular use of alcohol has not changed significantly since 1989. Crime is inextricably related to alcohol and other drugs. (AOD) Annually 480,000 arrests for liquor law violations and 704,000 arrests for drunkenness for alcohol. Alcohol is a key factor in up to 68% of manslaughter?'s, 62% of assaults, 54% of murders or attempted murders, 48% of robberies, 44% of burglaries.

In 1992 there were 6,839 deaths due to alcohol. A couple years back 64% of all reported child abuse and neglect cases in New York City were associated AOD abuse. While the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better health and longer life, the heavy consumption of alcohol, especially over a period of many years, can lead to serious health problems and even death. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is an irreversible condition associated with excessive consumption of alcohol by pregnant women and is, therefore, completely preventable. Each and every case of FAS is a needless tragedy. Victims suffer serious physical deformities and often mental deficiencies.

And, they suffer these problems for their entire lives. While most cases occur among alcoholics who consume alcohol heavily throughout their pregnancies, no one knows for certain what level of alcohol consumption is safe for a pregnant woman. Cirrhosis is probably the most widely recognized medical complication of chronic alcoholism. It is a grave and irreversible condition characterized by progressive replacement of healthy liver tissues with scars, which can lead to liver failure and death.

There have been many procedures used to take precautions against irresponsible alcoholics. Police have taken action and have the power to breathalyze. Although this has helped catch drunk drivers the problem has not stopped. The Police have asked for restrictions on breath-testing drivers to be removed.

This would help them to use their powers more effectively both as a deterrent and also to target drunk drivers who remain undeterred. There is evidence that high profile breath-testing cuts casualty rates. An argument frequently implied by the alcohol industry against lowering the limit is that such a step would not effect casualties as road deaths tend to be caused primarily by drivers with very high blood alcohol levels who ignore a lower limit just as they ignore the present one. The fact is that the number of alcohol related deaths occur when any level of alcohol is consumed.

The same number of casualties occurs with a very low limit of alcohol in comparison to very high. Alcoholism can lead to many serious problems for the alcoholic and the people surrounding them. This is a disease that takes millions of lives every year and should be taken seriously. Alcoholism is a disease that can be helped. Many programs have been formed to help teach alcohol prevention. New laws and regulations provide a reinforcement to punish offenders, which may in the end teach them to stay sober.

Whether you are an alcoholic or not the facts are in print and the consequences remain, but the choice is yours.