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  • Caution! Alcohol

    Let’s talk about alcohol, a substance each of us probably used.

    We do not promote psychoactive substance use, it is never completely safe. The safest choice is to never use drugs.

    Although in the minds of most people alcohol is separate from drugs, in fact it is a psychoactive substance, more aggressive than a number of illegal drugs. Alcohol has a long history of use; its effects are well studied and documented.

    The main difference between alcohol and other substances is that it is legal in almost all countries. However, almost everywhere there are age restrictions on the purchase of alcoholic beverages (in Ukraine you can buy alcohol from 18 years old).

    Alcohol is a beverage containing ethanol (ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol).

    Ethanol is an organic compound, a representative of simple alcohol with the chemical formula С2Н5ОН. In its pure form it’s a colourless, flammable liquid. According to the State Standards of Ukraine (DSTU), it is a toxic substance with a narcotic effect; lcohol has carcinogenic properties.

    Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Contrary to popular belief, ethanol suppresses CNS function, not stimulates it. Excitement may occur after use due to resistance to inhibitory processes.

    Frequent and constant use causes physical dependence.

    EFFECTS

    Alcohol molecules are absorbed into the blood very quickly. Also, they are quickly spread throughout the body. Absorption begins in the oral mucosa, then in the gastric mucosa, and then in the small intestine. In those cells where there is the most fluid, alcohol gets the fastest. Therefore, more alcohol is absorbed into the brain tissue than anywhere else.

    In the brain, alcohol causes intoxication characterized by relaxation or short-term euphoria, increased libido, and courage. The higher the dose of alcohol, the stronger these effects may be. A number of side effects may appear, even with a small amount of alcohol.

    Short-term side effects:

    • problems with coordination
    • overestimation of capabilities, reduced self-criticism
    • increased need to urinate
    • memory loss ("eclipse")
    • nausea, vomiting
    • body temperature drops, but due to the dilation of blood vessels there is a feeling of warmth; the risk of freezing increases!
    • drowsiness, irresistible desire to sleep (possibly in dangerous places!)

    After drinking alcohol (the next day) a hangover is possible in the form of headache, nausea, dizziness, and problems with cognitive functions.

    The possible consequences of long-term use:

    • Brain: Ethanol kills nerve cells, eventually disrupting brain function.
    • Cardiovascular system: Avid drinkers often complain of hypertension, they are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke. In particularly severe cases, alcoholic cardiomyopathy develops over time (when the heart increases in size and almost does not shrink, causing shortness of breath).
    • Liver: With constant consumption of alcohol the liver loses the ability to work normally. There are three main diseases that can be caused by alcohol. These are alcohol toxic hepatitis, fatty hepatosis (obesity) and cirrhosis of the liver. The first disease is acute, the other two are chronic.
    • Kidneys, pancreas: Their functions are also interfered by overload.
    • Immunity: Some of the body’s defence mechanisms are weakened.
    • Premature aging, including skin, sleep disorders, irritability, depression, decreased productivity.

    Tolerance to alcohol can form! After some time, you need an increased dose to achieve the effect.

    Many doctors and scientists say that alcohol is one of the most dangerous psychoactive substances. For example, according to the famous British psychiatrist and neuropharmacologist David Natta, alcohol is the most harmful substance, if we consider the harm to the user and to the others.

    DOSAGE AND DURATION

    According to the latest proven data, ALCOHOL IS HARMFUL IN ANY DOSES. Although the opposite is sometimes stated(for example, that wine in small quantities is good), the results of recent studies suggest that alcohol consumption in any form and in any quantity increases the risk of various diseases.

    High doses of alcohol can cause death! The lethal concentration of alcohol in the blood is 5-8 g/l, the lethal single dose is 4-12 g/kg (about 300 ml of 96% ethanol), but for people with chronic alcoholism tolerance to alcohol can be much higher.

    There is a universal formula for calculating the permissible dose of alcohol. It is proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is known worldwide. The unit of measurement is one standard dose of alcohol (standard drink), or just drink. This is a portion of alcoholic beverage, which conditionally contains a certain amount of pure alcohol.

    The standard dose of alcohol varies greatly from country to country (from 7.62 ml (6 g) in Austria to 25 ml (19.75 g) in Japan). In Ukraine, 1 drink is 10 g of pure alcohol.

    One drink is equal to:

    • 30 ml of strong alcohol
    • 100 ml of dry wine (7-11%)
    • 250-300 ml of light (not more than 5%) beer

    The permissible amount of alcohol consumption is for men no more than 3 drinks per day and no more than 14 per week, for women no more than 2 drinks per day and no more than 7 per week.

    The effect of alcohol begins very quickly, in 10-20 minutes, depending on the strength of the drink and the dose. The main effects last 1-2 hours. Mostly, alcohol is excreted in 24-48 hours; if it was a large dose, it takes up to 72 hours. The body is completely cleansed of alcohol in about a month.

    The duration of all these processes is influenced by the dose and the strength of the drink. It is clear that the lower the dose and the weaker the ethanol content of the drink, the faster the body copes with it.

    MIXING WITH OTHER PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES

    Mixing psychoactive substances is always more dangerous than using only one substance!

    Alcohol is a dangerous substance. There are a number of psychoactive substances with which it cannot be mixed.

    You will find a calculator via this link where you can put in the names of substances and see the outcomes of combining them.

    Alcohol + GHB/GBL: Do not mix even in small quantities! This can lead to loss of consciousness and life-threatening respiratory paralysis. In case of overdose, lethal outcome is possible.

    Alcohol + ketamine, opioids, benzodiazepines, tramadol, MXE: Do not mix! Substances enhance each other’s effects; there is a very high risk of vomiting and losing consciousness. There is a serious risk of suffocation from vomiting if you do not put the injured person in the safe position (turn him or her to the side; you can put a pillow or clothes under the back to avoid suffocation). Difficulty breathing and respiratory failure are possible.

    Alcohol + 2C substances: Alcohol may increase the euphoric effects of 2C. At light doses, it weakens the psychedelic effects. In common and strong doses, alcohol leads to severe dehydration, nausea and physical exhaustion, as a result it can lead to a bad trip. Drinking large amounts of alcohol is not recommended, as it can easily lead to loss of consciousness and unpredictable behavior.

    Alcohol + cocaine, amphetamines: This combination is dangerous because of the overlapping stimulant effects of cocaine and inhibitory effect of alcohol. This usually leads to excessive alcohol consumption, a high risk of liver damage and severe dehydration. If you take these substances together, set a limit on how much you want to drink, and stick to the plan.

    Alcohol + MDMA: Both MDMA and alcohol cause dehydration. Be careful with this combination. Take moderate doses and provide for yourself the water. Remember that even a small amount of alcohol can blunt the euphoria of MDMA.

    Alcohol + cannabis: The effects of alcohol are enhanced. Nausea may occur.

    REDUCING RISKS

    1. NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL WHEN DRIVING or in another situation requiring concentration and attention!

    2. Be careful with dosing, especially if you are a beginner! The effects of alcohol do not come instantly, so you should pause between doses. There are no safe doses of alcohol! Try not to exceed your individual dose.

    3. It’s better to avoid alcohol if you have taken or are going to use other psychoactive substances. Remember that alcohol does not go well with most substances.

    4. Do not mix different alcoholic beverages. Choose one of them for the party.

    5. Do not drink alcohol with carbonated drinks.

    6. Do not smoke when drinking alcohol, because intoxication increases.

    7. If you drink strong alcohol, also take a snack, preferably oranges or lemon (vitamin C speeds up metabolism).

    8. Low-alcohol cocktails, which are sold in bottles and cans, are especially harmful. They contain a lot of chemical components (sodium benzoate, preservatives, dyes, flavors, caffeine). Avoid them.

    9. If you have a hangover, drink more water, whether you want to drink or not. To avoid a hangover or reduce its effects, you need to rest well. After the party, try to get some sleep.

    10. Pregnant women should avoid drinking alcohol! Alcohol has a destructive effect on the cells of the fetus, which can lead to various mutations. There are no exceptions.

    HELP IN CASE OF AN OVERDOSE

    @OverdoseHelpBot is available on Telegram. There is a lot of detailed information how to provide first aid.

    Respiratory paralysis or death from respiratory stop are possible with very high doses of alcohol or overdose!

    Symptoms of acute alcohol poisoning (one or more of the following):

    • rapid and/or abnormal breathing
    • arrhythmia
    • acrocyanosis (bluish skin colour associated with insufficient blood supply to small capillaries)
    • swelling of the jugular veins
    • pupils dilation

    Don’t be afraid to call an ambulance – somebody’s life may depend on it. If, for some reason, you are very afraid to call an ambulance, call the parents or relatives of the overdosed person.

    You can call a free ambulance via the phone numbers 103 or 112.

    There is no criminal liability for calling an ambulance in case of an overdose. Contrary to popular belief, ambulance doctors are not required to report to the police about the cases of drug use. Police is called only if the ambulance crew has witnessed a criminal offense involving drug use.

    Before the ambulance arrives:

    • Free the intoxicated person’s neck and chest from tight clothing. Unbuckle the collar and belt;
    • Give the intoxicated person plenty to drink;
    • Help to induce vomiting;
    • If possible, give the intoxicated person adsorbents (polysorb, according to the instructions, activated carbon – 1 tablet per 10 kg of body weight);
    • If vomiting has started, clear the respiratory tract of vomit after it has stopped;
    • Provide fresh air access.

    WARNING! Medicines should be given with extreme caution! The best way is when the ambulance staff do it!

    When the ambulance arrives, tell the doctors what the person consumed or could have consumed. This will help to more accurately provide special medical care.


    REFERENCES

    https://knowdrugs.page.link/g4T5

    https://phc.org.ua/news/chomu-varto-vidmovitis-vid-alkogolyu

    #alcohol #depressant #drink

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    IULA PAN
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