Posts Tagged ‘preventing intoxication’

Drinking After 40: Why Hangovers Hit Harder

Depressed Forty Year Old Man Drinking AloneThe Reasons Moderate Alcohol Consumption Gets More Complicated in Middle Age

Source: WSJ
Andrea Petersen
Nov. 18, 2013

When you’re in your 40s, it’s pretty common to need reading glasses. You might need smaller wine glasses, too.

That’s because alcohol hits people harder in their 40s and 50s than it did during their 20s and 30s. The reasons for this include changes in body composition to brain sensitivity and liver functioning. Lifestyle factors are at play, too. And since people tend to take more medications-both prescription and over-the-counter-as they age, there are more chances for uncomfortable and even dangerous booze-drug mixing.

“All of the effects of alcohol are sort of amplified with age,” says David W. Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Withdrawal is a little bit more complicated. Hangovers are a little bit more complicated.”

Part of the issue is that people in their 40s and older simply tend not to drink as much or as often as those in their 20s and 30s, which lowers tolerance. “You’re becoming more work-oriented, more family-oriented,” says Robert Pandina, director of the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University.

So when you do drink “you might have a more sensitive response to alcohol because you’ve lowered your exposure to alcohol over all.”

Some people swear that only certain types of alcohol-red wine, tequila-are a problem. Generally, doctors say there’s little science indicating that some drinks make people drunker or lead to more miserable hangovers. It is true, however, that people at any age can develop sensitivities to sulfites and tannins in wine, which can cause headaches and an upset stomach, Dr. Pandina says. And the carbonation in sparkling wines or even in mixed drinks like whiskey and Coke “seems to increase how rapidly alcohol is absorbed,” says Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a practicing family doctor in Kingsport, Tenn.

About 52% of people age 45 to 64 are “regular” drinkers, meaning they had at least 12 drinks in the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 National Health Interview Survey.

Body composition starts to change as early as the 30s. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass, while fat content increases. Alcohol isn’t distributed in fat. People also have less total body water as they get older. So if several people have the same amount to drink, those with more fat and less muscle and body water will have more alcohol circulating in their bloodstream. (This is also partly why women of any age tend to feel alcohol’s effects more than men.)

“A lot of older people are borderline dehydrated. They have less body water just from the natural effects of aging,” Dr. Blackwelder says. It helps to drink water and have a full stomach when knocking one back.

The majority of alcohol is metabolized by the liver, which changes when people hit their 50s. (A small amount is metabolized in the stomach and mouth.) The liver gets bigger as people get older, but the organ becomes less efficient. Blood flow decreases, as do the number of hepatocytes, the liver’s functional cells, says Gary Murray, acting director of the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health.

Certain enzyme levels dip, too, including one type of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol. Women of all ages tend to have lower levels of this enzyme in the stomach. But between the ages of 50 and 60, men see their levels slide, too. All these changes mean “you have a prolonged exposure to alcohol and possibly a little bit bigger buzz,” when you drink, Dr. Murray says. There’s also some evidence that hormonal changes around menopause can increase women’s sensitivity to alcohol. Healthy young people tend to metabolize about one drink per hour, Dr. Murray says.

Stephanie Draeken used to enjoy a glass or two of wine several nights a week. “I have four kids. I need my wine,” says the stay-at-home mother in Austin, Texas. But since turning 40 nearly two years ago, Ms. Draeken says if she has even one glass of wine now she’ll “wake up in the middle of the night with a horrible headache and the next day is like a college-style hangover without the college-style fun,” she says.

She tried switching to higher-priced wine, then stuck with white wine. She tried champagne. “It didn’t matter,” she says. She says she now rarely drinks wine and limits herself to an occasional vodka and soda.

Alcohol-drug interactions can become more of a problem, too, since older people are more likely to take medications. Alcohol and many medications are metabolized by the same enzymes in the liver, which can enhance the effects of alcohol or the medications. Heartburn drugs like Zantac interfere with the metabolism of alcohol, thus raising blood-alcohol levels.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) poses another problem because, combined with alcohol, it can damage the liver.

Mixing alcohol with blood thinners like Coumadin can be particularly dangerous, causing bleeding. “People on Coumadin shouldn’t really drink at all,” says Dr. Oslin. And taking alcohol with some pain medications and benzodiazepines (antianxiety drugs) can make you “more prone to sedation, more prone to cardiovascular risk and more prone to overdose,” Dr. Oslin says.

People with certain medical conditions should also be cautious with alcohol, doctors say. Long-term alcohol use can raise blood pressure. And alcohol tends to irritate the stomach.

Barring health problems and medication interactions, doctors generally become concerned when people drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol. That is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and up to one drink per day for women, according to the latest federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (A standard drink is about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor, according to the CDC.)

In fact, there’s some evidence that a moderate amount of alcohol can have health benefits. Studies have linked moderate alcohol consumption with a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems and death overall. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risks of liver disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer and dementia, beyond the obvious accidents and injuries.

Particularly beginning in the 50s and 60s, the brain is more sensitive to alcohol. Booze basically enhances normal age-related cognitive decline. Neurons lose speed. Specifically, the insulating myelin sheaths around the axons of neurons-the parts responsible for transmitting information to other neurons-get smaller. As people age, “neurons are not as efficient. So you impair them with a little bit of alcohol, they are that much more inefficient,” says Dr. Oslin. “Somebody who goes to a cocktail party at 65 can have one or two drinks and be really impaired.”

Older people are also more affected by alcohol’s impact on sleep, a fact that can turn a mild hangover into a must-stay-in-bed-all-day affair. “Alcohol in all ages wrecks our REM sleep,” says Alison A. Moore, professor of medicine and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Older adults are more likely to have poor sleep. [Alcohol] can make sleep even more fragmented.”

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Serving Alcohol Monthly Newsletter – September 2013


Serving Alcohol Monthly Newsletter

September 2013

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Here Come the Freshmen!

There’s a hint of change in the air, a breeze pushing heat and humidity aside in favor of cooler, crisp fall days. Autumn has come to college towns. Parents and students begin their treks to university campuses across the nation. While boxes are being lugged in and unpacked, every parent also has a nagging worry about leaving their child behind to navigate a new environment, new challenges and new friends.

It’s also a time when bars and restaurants in college towns must brace for the onslaught of under-aged clientele armed with new found freedom and ready to test the boundaries and policies they have in place. When high school graduates hit college campuses they are more easily swayed by peer pressure than ever before. For many this is their first significant time away from home—and they are leaving behind the structure and behavioral expectations it represents. In an effort to “fit in” or simply form new friendships, many will seek approval by engaging in illegal under-aged drinking. Social situations presented by dormitories, Greek houses or off-campus housing complexes are often the catalyst for these dangerous choices.

Historically, teenagers often possess the desire to be viewed as an adult with this level of independence, and drinking with their peers is the easiest way to accomplish this goal. But what are the dangers surrounding their experimentation?


The path to “acceptance” is risky:

* Teenagers have smaller bodies with less water volume that cannot process alcohol well—they become intoxicated quickly

*Teens consume 5 drinks at one time on average leading to acute intoxication

*Psychological vulnerability and immaturity makes intoxication more intense and possibly addicting

*Due to lack of experience and not understanding personal tolerance levels, teens are more likely to become ill or to lose consciousness, or even die. Choking on vomit after losing consciousness may cause brain damage or death.

*Teens tend to overestimate their physical skills, capability of driving, and decision making while drinking. The altered state of intoxication also leads to engaging in Illegal activities.

*25% of all alcohol produced is consumed by under aged drinkers

*Alcohol companies have created product lines that are sweet-tasting and marketed as “trendy” to underage drinkers.

*Inexperienced drinking combined with inexperienced driving is more dangerous, and even deadly

*One in four vehicle accidents involving teenaged drivers is alcohol-related

*Because bar entry as a minor is difficult, so teens may chose to drink in uncontrolled environments and private venues that promote high volume or “binge drinking” because they are no limits imposed by social hosts

*Sexual assault of under aged drinkers is more prevalent due to inexperience and extreme impairment. Minors under the influence may not perceive dangers and be unable to protect themselves from harm.

Night Car Accident Rollover

The inescapable fact is that life is fragile, and inexperience and experimentation can lead to tragedy and life-altering consequences. Your goal as a bar owner, manager or staff member to keep this kind of impairment from being accomplished at your establishment! The following strategies should help you keep your customers safe and eliminate risk for your business.

Let’s begin with the basics to curb under aged drinking, starting at the front door. Who and what are you looking for as potential bar patrons line up outside your business?


 There are physical characteristics that will give away an under aged guest:

*Facial blemishes, acne, lack of a mature beard, lack of eye wrinkles, an under-developed body, a high-pitched voice are tell-tale signs to note.


 Behaviors and mannerisms can be a red flag as well:

*Giggling, loud or argumentative chatter

* Nervous, skittish, childish, immature behavior

*Awkward and uncoordinated movements

*False bravado—cocky, trying too hard to be “cool”

*Lack of eye contact combined with evasive and guarded exchanges with staff


 Dress and other fashion statements:


*Dressing in overly trendy clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc.

*Excessive make-up and hair treatments

*Wearing sunglasses

*Clothing or hats with school logos, class rings


 Look at their companions:

*The group may look very “young” overall

*There may be one or two in the group who are of age that they hope will serve to validate them and help them gain access to the bar. If they make it in watch mixed age tables carefully as adults who are allowing minors to drink are subject to criminal liability and arrest.

Now that your eyes are open and you have a good idea of whose ID may require extra examination, fine tune the carding process. Nothing is more important than catching that under aged guest at the door—this is the ultimate key to prevention and protecting your business from risk!


Careful Carding Procedures:

*The first line of defense will be the points of entry to your bar—front, back or side. Security staff should be waiting with a flashlight in hand to check for ID validity or alteration to printed information. Chinese fake IDs have never been harder to detect and easier to acquire, so minors will be accessing them to gain entry to your bar.

*Make sure your entry area is well-lit not only for ID verification, but for getting a long, hard look at each patron’s appearance.  Be sure to check for the expiration date, date of birth, height, weight, and photo. Does the height and weight match the ID description? Does everything match up physically?

*Doormen should always politely ask for a valid ID and explain that it’s “house rules” to card every customer. Always have the guest pull their ID from their wallet for easy inspection and have them pull it from any protective plastic sleeve for scanning by black light.

*Black light technology should be used to carefully scrutinize each and every ID for tri-colored state-issued holographic seals. Chinese fakes don’t have tri-colored holograms and do not react well to black light and may appear very faint.

*Falsified Chinese IDs have an unusually strong reaction to the black light review

*The most common ploy to get into a bar comes in the form of an authentic ID that has been given to the underage patron by a sibling or other family member. Check the photo carefully—ask questions. Quiz the card holder on specific details—details that may be hard to remember if they have already been drinking because the fake ID worked elsewhere! If you’re suspicious, remind patrons that using a falsified ID or being caught under the influence as a minor can be grounds for criminal arrest.

*A state-issued license is easy to read and will clearly identify the name, address, age and physical characteristics of the holder. The back of a valid ID doesn’t have photo copy lines, imperfections or discoloration.

*Look for exclusionary statements such as, “Not a Driver’s License,” “Personal Identification Only,” or State Resident Identification,” etc. No authentic state-issued ID uses these designations.

*When in doubt ask for a backup form of identification—a social security card, passport, birth certificate, health or car insurance card, checkbook, car registration, etc.

*If the ID is questionable—ask conversational questions about the state that “issued” it. Using a friendly tone ask, “Have you lived here/there all your life? What’s the capital of the state? What’s your zip code? Are you a donor?” A valid ID holder should be able to easily answer these questions with little hesitation.


*Post a sign at the entry requesting valid IDs before entry into your bar. This should also speed up the carding process as patrons will have their IDs in hand when they get to the door. In addition to that, post the state laws that license your establishment. Inform patrons that alcohol purchase and consumption by minors have criminal ramifications, and that it is unlawful to misrepresent legal age. Post your right to refuse service to anyone with identification deemed unsatisfactory. Be very careful that the denial of an ID should never be misinterpreted as a form of discrimination regarding race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation on the part of the employee or the bar ownership.

*Some states place a “red border” around the ID photo of those under the age of 21—don’t overlook that detail on a busy night.

*After reviewing the card for authenticity, thank the patron for their compliance and tell them to “have a good time.” I once worked at a bar where “thank-you” was followed by, “make good decisions!” That always brought a smile! Keep in mind that having these practices in play will go a long way toward eliminating risk for your customers, staff, management and ultimately for bar owners. Your goal should always be to promote fun and social atmosphere, but follow the law and make certain that you have a safe, controlled environment for all.


 Thank you for being a responsible seller or server of alcohol!  – the team at Serving Alcohol Inc


Responsible Retailing Forum Schedules 2011 Meeting

The 9th annual Responsible Retailing Forum (RRF) will be held on April 12-13, 2011 in Park City, Utah. RRF brings together alcohol regulators, state attorneys general and public health stakeholders to work with retailers and their distributors and suppliers, and their training providers, to promote policies that prevent underage sales of alcohol and tobacco products. The 2011 RRF will be hosted by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The conference hotel is The Canyons. Information on the conference agenda, The Canyons and electronic registration will be posted on the RRF website later this year.

Phusion Projects defends Four Loko criticism

Statement Regarding Incident at Central Washington University
October 26, 2010

No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers – and it appears that both happened in this instance. This is unacceptable.

But so too is placing blame for the incident squarely on Four Loko when the police report, toxicology reports and witness testimony all show that other substances, including beer, hard liquors like vodka and rum, and possibly illicit substances, were consumed as well.

In fact, while our product is mentioned only twice in the 44-page police report, hard liquor, vodka, rum or other alcohol is mentioned at least 19 times; beer is mentioned at least 3 times; and illegal drugs or roofies are mentioned at least 14 times – including twice in connection with an individual attending the party with the intention of bringing drugs with him and once in connection with smoking marijuana.

Officers on the scene reported disposing of the alcohol they found in the house, yet none of these officers described doing this by singling out one product or type of product.

In addition, the ages of the students involved have been redacted from the report, meaning there is no way to determine if any of the partygoers were of-age.  Read the police report here.

In addition, the ages of the students involved have been redacted from the report, meaning there is no way to determine if any of the partygoers were of-age. However, in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna states that all of the students sickened were in fact underage – meaning these young men and women were illegally consuming alcohol.  Read his letter here.

Again, the events in central Washington this month were inexcusable. And most would expect our company to disagree with recent decisions to ban our products from college campuses or otherwise restrict their use there.

We do not.  We agree with the goals that underlie those sentiments. Making college campuses safe and healthy environments for learning is a goal we share with administrators – even those who have chosen to ban our products. However, we also know that curbing alcohol abuse on college campuses will not be accomplished by singling out a lone product or beverage category.
This is precisely why we go to great lengths to ensure our products are not sold to underage consumers and are not abused. As a company, we do all we can to ensure that our products are consumed safely and responsibly.  Read more here.

‘Super drunk’ drivers face tougher punishment with new Michigan law

Published: Sunday, October 17, 2010, 6:59 AM

Starting on Oct. 31, there will be two kinds of drunken drivers in Michigan: standard and “super.”

Standard are those with blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.16 percent. The super drunk, a new category under state law, are first-time offenders who test at 0.17 or above.

The designation confers no special powers, just super-high penalties and super-stiff fees.

Fines and other costs could top $8,000, some defense attorneys predict. Alcohol treatment is mandatory, possible jail time is doubled, and driving is forbidden for 45 days.

The penalties include another first for Michigan: a requirement to install an in-car breathalyzer.

To resume driving after 45 days, first-time super-drunk offenders must buy an ignition interlock, which works by testing a driver’s breath and allows the car to run only if the driver is sober.

The change is part of an effort to toughen drunken driving penalties, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Michigan joined more than 40 states when the Legislature passed the standards with virtually no opposition at the end of 2008.

The technical term is “high blood alcohol content enhanced penalty law.” “We don’t really like calling it the super drunk law,” said Anne Readett, spokeswoman for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

Critics of the law, including defense lawyers, question its effectiveness.
Advocates call the measure positive but not enough – “a disappointing step in the right direction,” said Michigan MADD’s executive director, Homer Smith.
For example, state lawmakers set the blood-alcohol standard at 0.17 percent, bucking a trend toward tougher 0.15 thresholds preferred by MADD. And at least a dozen states require interlock devices for all convicted drunken drivers.
“The Legislature had an opportunity to do something that would significantly deter drunk driving,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, they chose to do less than the optimum.”

Michigan still considers 0.08 percent to be legally drunk, and the new law does not affect repeat offenders or people who face a felony for causing death, injury or damage.

About one-third of Michigan drivers whom police suspect of driving drunk test at the enhanced penalty levels.

Interlocks have gained in effectiveness and acceptance since 2007, when federal traffic safety officials began a campaign urging judges to require the devices.

A device costs the driver about $100 a month to maintain. Other costs to violators come from state driver responsibility fees and attorney fees.
First-time offenders who meet the super-drunk standard are looking at $8,000 to $10,000, according to defense attorney Gerald Lykins.

He is unconvinced the law will be effective.
“I’m not sure that penalizing someone who blows a 0.17 rather than 0.14 will prevent people from drunk driving,” he said. “The driver responsibility fee was supposed to reduce bad driving, but that hasn’t worked.”
MADD counters that enhanced penalties are working in other states. New Mexico, for instance, has had a 20 percent reduction in alcohol-related crashes since its law was passed in 2005.

Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Aubrey Sharp said the new penalties treat offenses in proportion to one another.
“You have a person with a 0.09 blood alcohol level who is punished the same as someone with a 0.32,” Sharp said.

Others take a wait-and-see approach. Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said penalties already are harsh.

“It’s still drunk driving and I don’t see how it’s really going to change,” he said.
Grand Rapids Assistant City Attorney Mike Tomich calls the law “a useful tool for public safety.” But he said he is not certain the provisions will change behavior overall.

Grand Rapids District Court Judge Jeanine LaVille, who oversees sobriety court, said the added mandatory penalties take more discretion from judges, who have crafted sentences based on individual needs and offenses.

“We’re already doing what the Legislature suggests,” LaVille said.

Attorney Lykins said if the state wants to prevent drunken driving, lawmakers could consider taking the law to its logical conclusion.

“We could demand that car manufactures have interlock devices as standard equipment,” Lykins said, “just like seatbelts.”
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