How Alcohol Enters the Body
Transcript How Alcohol Enters the Body
How Alcohol Enters the Body
is a drug that depresses the brain and nervous
About 20% of the alcohol a person drinks is absorbed into
the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach.
A majority of the rest is absorbed through the walls of the
After it is absorbed, it moves quickly into the
Remaining alcohol is excreted through urine, perspiration
Effects on Body
Most alcohol is changed to harmless waste by the liver.
The liver can process about one drink per hour.
If a person has more than one drink, the excess alcohol
builds up in the body.
This excess alcohol goes into the body tissues before being
The effects of alcohol increase as the concentration of
alcohol in the blood increases.
The amount of alcohol in a person’s blood is the Blood
Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The higher the BAC, the
greater the effects of alcohol on the body.
How Much is One Drink?
An alcoholic beverage that contains ½ ounce of alcohol is
considered one drink.
½ ounce is equal to one beer, 4 to 5 oz. of wine, or one
Drinking more than this amount will cause the BAC to rise.
Alcohol is a toxin (poison). If too large an amount is
consumed, the body’s natural reaction is to reject it, causing
a person to vomit.
The body will work to break down and excrete the alcohol in
the body as quickly as possible.
Because this process takes time, people may still feel the
effects the next day.
There is no way to speed up this process – drinking coffee,
taking a cold shower, etc. will not break down the alcohol in
Factors that Affect BAC
Amount of Alcohol consumed
Speed at which alcohol is consumed
Percentage of Body Fat (more body fat = higher BAC)
Feelings (stress, anger, fear speed up the time alcohol is
Amount of Food eaten
Presence of other drugs in the bloodstream
Drinking carbonated beverages
What Happens as BAC Increases
0.02 — 0.03 BAC: No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness.
Depressant effects are not apparent. Mildly relaxed and maybe a little lightheaded.
0.04 — 0.06 BAC: Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of
warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of
caution. Your behavior may become exaggerated and emotions intensified (Good
emotions are better, bad emotions are worse)
0.07 — 0.09 BAC: Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and
hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are reduced, and caution, reason and
memory are impaired (in some* states .08 is legally impaired and it is illegal to drive
at this level). You will probably believe that you are functioning better than you really
are. ( * —As of July, 2004 ALL states had passed .08 BAC Per Se Laws. The final one
takes effect in August of 2005.)
0.10 — 0.125 BAC: impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment.
Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired.
Euphoria. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle at this level of intoxication in all
0.13 — 0.15 BAC: Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred
vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria* is beginning to
appear. Judgment and perception are severely impaired.
( * —Dysphoria: An emotional state of anxiety, depression, or unease.)
What Happens as BAC Increases (cont.)
0.16 — 0.19 BAC: Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear.
The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk."
0.20 BAC: Feeling dazed/confused or otherwise disoriented. May
need help to stand/walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the
pain. Some people have nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag
reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are
likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.
0.25 BAC: All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely
impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and
of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.
0.30 BAC: STUPOR. You have little comprehension of where you
are. You may pass out suddenly and be difficult to awaken.
0.35 BAC: Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical
0.40 BAC and up: Onset of coma, and possible death due to
Other Terms to Know
Proof: the measure of the amount of alcohol in a beverage.
The proof is double the percent of alcohol in the beverage.
Example: a beverage with 20% alcohol is 40 proof.
Binge Drinking: Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a
short time. Examples would be “chugging”, doing shots,
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): the presence of severe birth
defects in babies born to mothers who drink alcohol during
Hangover: the aftereffects of using alcohol or other drugs.
Blackout: a period in which a person cannot remember what
Factors That Affect Alcohol Use by
Alcohol is readily available to youth
•Being drunk is an expectation in most adolescent drinking
•Peer group influence is strongly evident
•Young drinkers tend to obtain alcohol from their parents
•Young drinklers tend to consume the alcohol at home
•Students who drink alcohol regularly are more likely to
have someone close to them who also drinks alcohol
•Students tend to regard drinking as a legitimate pastime;
they tend to regard drinking as an essential aspect of
leisure and entertainment.
Factors That Affect Alcohol Use
by Youth (cont.)
Students lack knowledge about alcohol
Students do not know how to monitor their intake to
Students lack knowledge of the properties and effects of
Students lack knowledge as to how alcohol is
Alcohol is often readily available at most social functions
Use of illegal drugs (stimulants, narcotics and sedatives,
anabolic steroids, hallucinogens, inhalants, marijuana) can
have serious effects on the mind and body.
Use and abuse can lead to altered decision making,
reasoning, memory loss, and impaired concentration.
Users may become depressed and lazy, or overly excited
and agitated. Users may also be prone to wild mood swings,
as well as fits of anger and hostility.
Long term use leads to increased tolerance (when the body
becomes used to a substance) which will lead to physical
Users may also be susceptible to HIV and hepatitis B if they
are intravenous drug users (injecting the drug with a needle
shared among people.)
Stimulants speed up the activity of the Central Nervous
Sometimes called “uppers”, as they make people feel alert,
awake, and alive.
Effects on Body: increased heart rate, breathing rate,
increased blood pressure.
Users can become confused, anxious, aggressive and
Users can suffer seizures, strokes, and even death.
Examples are cocaine, crack, amphetamines, “crystal
Narcotics / Sedatives
Narcotics and sedatives will depress or slow down the
Central Nervous System.
Narcotics are often prescribed by physicians as a pain
Can also be used to control other body functions (cough,
Large doses of narcotics can slow breathing and heart rate
to the point of being in a coma, or even death.
Users cannot use reasoning or judgement, may become
depressed and lazy, and be prone to mood swings.
Sedatives have same effect as narcotics, and are often used
to produce a calming effect on a person’s behavior. They
will produce drowsiness and sleep.
Sedatives are generally not used as painkillers.
Steroids are synthetic (created in a lab) hormones designed
to mimic male hormones (testosterone).
Used to build muscle size and strength, increase athletic
performance, and to improve physical appearance.
Use by males can cause impotence (low sperm count) or
sterility, baldness, acne, and even cancer.
Use by females will cause females to develop male
characteristics – breasts shrink, period stops, facial hair
Use is often associated with “roid rage” – users become
aggressive, violent, and are prone to outbursts of anger and
Drugs that interfere with the senses and cause
Hallucination: an imagined experience that seems real.
Also referred to as “psychedelic drugs.”
Hallucinogens will alter the mind, causing altered
perceptions of reality, time, and environment, intensify
mood, and cause rapid mood swings.
Users may also suffer “flashbacks”, which are vivid
memories of an hallucination.
Examples of hallucinogens are LSD, PCP (“angel dust”),
mushrooms (“shrooms”) and Ecstasy
Inhalants are chemicals that affect mood and behavior.
Most inhalants are not controlled drugs, rather they are
chemicals that are not produced to be inhaled or used as
Examples may include nail polish remover, paint thinner,
White Out, markers, nitrous oxide, spray paint.
Often one of the first drugs used because they are easily
available and accessible.
Inhalants produce a very quick high, yet last a very short
period of time.
Inhalants will cause CNS to slow down, and deprive the
brain of oxygen.
Most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S.
Contains THC, which is the drug that produces the
psychoactive effects of marijuana.
THC is a fat-soluble drug that builds up in the fatty parts of
the body, including the brain, heart, and liver. A fat-soluble
drug is one that takes a long time to get “flushed” from
Users will become relaxed, drowsy, hungry.
Often referred to as a “gateway drug”, which is a drug that
increases the likelihood that a person who uses it will use
other illegal drugs.
Use can effect the lungs and respiratory system, affect the
female reproductive system, cause short-term memory loss,
and impair concentration.