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Driver's Ed. Module 6 EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

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Let's be clear. If you are taking this course,
you are probably under the legal drinking age and if you drink, you do so illegally. This course presents information about the drug known as alcohol. This course does not in any way condone alcohol use. The facts presented here show how dangerous it is to drink and how deadly it is to drink and drive. However, the overriding fact is that drinking, for you, is illegal. PERIOD.
What are the statistics of all traffic fatalities for alcohol relations?
Both state and national statistics indicate that each year almost 40% of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related..
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were 10,839 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2009—32% of the total traffic fatalities for the year. That statistic means that someone is killed by a drunk driver...
almost every 48 minutes
in 2008
1% of 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle collisions had been drinking (NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, Young Drivers, 2008).
apart from being illegal
underage drinking poses a high risk to both the individual and society. For example, the rate of alcohol-related traffic collisions is greater for drivers ages 16 to 20 than for drivers older than 21. Young people also are vulnerable to alcohol-induced brain damage, which can contribute to poor performance at school or work. In addition, drinking at a young age increases the likelihood of developing into alcohol abuse later in life.
Alcohol increases the death rate of
of adolescents. Studies show that for 15- to 24-year-olds, a significant number of deaths were unnatural and preventable. They included alcohol-related car collisions, suicides, and homicides.
Teenagers are still developing emotionally. A young person is forming a sense of personal identity and faces a lot of social situations that require difficult choices, with significant moral, emotional, and physical consequences. Alcohol disrupts this process by producing a chemical reaction that affects the process of learning how to deal with others, carry out responsibilities, and handle problems.
There is no known "safe" dose of alcohol for young people. Any level of alcohol in the body of a young person puts him or her at higher risk.
All states now have minimum drinking age laws (21+ years old)
The NHTSA estimates that these laws have reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers 18 to 20 years old by 13% and have saved an estimated 27,675 lives since 1975. In 2009, an estimated 623 lives were saved by minimum-drinking-age laws.
Ethyl alcohol
the most commonly used and abused drug in the United States.
Use of alcohol or other drugs adversely affects driving ability. Taking more than one drug at a time is particularly dangerous since each can add significantly to the impact of the other, especially when one of the drugs is alcohol.
Stress and fatigue are both impairments to driving,
but the effects of alcohol are more dangerous than these biological feelings. Alcohol distorts one's perception and hinders their ability to safely operate a car. When a driver is just tired, he or she can still sense the fatigue setting in. But with alcohol, an impaired driver will feel no difference in ability, even though his or her mental and physical capabilities are now severely limited. Driving under the influence of alcohol leads to risk-taking and puts everyone -the driver, passengers, and other people on the road - in a potentially deadly situation.
Alcohol's effect on decision-making and how the brain processes information is well known.
Loss of self-control, confusion, and an inability to concentrate are common consequences of drinking alcohol. When these effects are combined with the driving inexperience, the results are often deadly.
Myth: Alcohol gives you energy.
Fact: Alcohol is a depressant. The initial effects of alcohol may heighten your mood, but you will also become overconfident, your attention span is shortened, and your ability to think, speak, and move will slow down.
Myth: If you only drink you won't have a problem.
Fact: It's not the drink you have, it's the amount of alcohol in the drink. Your blood alcohol level (BAL—the percentage of alcohol in your blood) determines your level or impairment.
Myth: A cold shower or a cup of coffee will make you sober.
Fact: The only thing that sobers you up is time. Your body needs time to get the alcohol out of your system naturally. Caffeine only makes you an alert drunk.
Myth: It's not my business if a friend drinks too much
Fact: You can't make someone else's decisions, but you can be honest. If you're worried for your friend, you can take the car keys and put him or her in a taxi. Don't argue about it, just do it.
Myth: The worst thing that can happen is a hangover.
Fact: If you drink enough alcohol, you might not be lucky enough to experience the hangover. With too much alcohol, you are at risk of vomiting in your sleep and dying by asphyxiation, lowered heart rate, or even slipping into a coma.
Reasons why some teens drink
Teenagers may be compelled to drink because of different types of pressure. You may have already come across some of these situations, or will deal with them in the future.
STUDIES SUGGEST...
that having an alcoholic family member is one of the greatest risk factors for becoming an alcoholic yourself. Some, but not all, children of alcoholics may have a genetic predisposition toward alcoholism. If they drink, children of alcoholics are four to nine times more likely to develop severe alcohol problems than others. The risk may be even higher along parent-child gender lines (father-son, mother-daughter).
Influence of parents
Negative examples or even supporting teenage drinking by family members affect likelihood of drinking at young age.
There are parents who think that allowing children to drink at home will keep them out of trouble. A recent study showed that children allowed by parents to drink at home, drink more compared to children not allowed to drink.
Sociological factors
Where you live can affect your attitude toward drinking, smoking, and drug use. An interesting study shows that, although students may choose their peer group, parents choose the community. This has its own effect. Neighborhood norms established by adult neighbors shape teenage behavior in the areas of smoking, drinking, and marijuana use.
Anxiety and frustration
Worries about school, athletics, dating, jobs, family, etc., are all a part of growing up. More serious issues involving sex, self-esteem, and abuse exist as well. If these worries and pressures become too much, and a young person has no one to turn to, they might turn to alcohol or drugs to seek relief. Unfortunately, the relief is short-lived and often creates problems worse than the ones the person was trying to escape.
Just out for a good time
Drinking goes hand in hand with partying for some teenagers. Getting drunk just for the fun of it, being social, testing how much one can drink, and drinking to be more outgoing are some common reasons teens drink, even if they aren't always plainly stated.
The issue is complex: advertising, peer pressure, changing attitudes, and parental influence can all have a role. However, any of these attitudes—whether you're just curious to try, or already drink—can lead to serious trouble.
Your parents can prohibit you from drinking and drug use,
but often can't prevent you from doing anything. In all of these situations, you'll be on your own—and have to make the decision yourself. Saying "no" might not always be easy—but often the honest truth works: "No thanks," "I don't want any," "Not right now," are all things you can say. Say it with confidence.
And remember that most teens don't drink alcohol.
People often drink to change how they are feeling,
and make themselves feel either more carefree or less stressed. No matter how good a person might feel when drinking alcohol, the ability to drive a car is severely diminished. Alcohol affects brain function and sensory perception directly, with judgment being the first to go. Things like distance and speed perception become much more difficult. Being unable to accurately sense one's surroundings together with a slower reaction time makes any driver a danger to everyone.
Alcohol changes your sense of judgment
Your sense of speed, distance, and depth perception change drastically when you drink. An impaired driver is usually unable to sense the distance between cars and the space needed to escape a collision. People who drive under the influence engage in risky behavior. They often do not have an accurate sense of speed.
Alcohol slows reaction time
Drinking alcohol slows your reflexes and changes your hand-eye coordination. When a driver is unable to react quickly and accurately, everyone on the road is in danger. Alcohol slows your cognition and ability to make decisions. This includes the ability to perceive danger and react quickly.
In order to drive safely,
a driver needs to pay attention to a number of things. This includes using signals, steering, and pressing the accelerator or brake. Drivers impaired by alcohol have a hard time performing more than one task at a time. A drunk driver often forgets to turn on or dim the headlights. Impaired drivers tend to stare straight ahead and have difficulty using their eyes to scan. Road signs are easily missed and inappropriate lane changes aren't uncommon.
Alcohol can affect your vision
Drivers rely on good vision to operate a motor vehicle. You must have good peripheral and night vision if you want to drive. Regular eye function also changes under the influence of alcohol.
When you drink your vision will be affected—whether you are looking straight ahead, attempting to drive in the dark, or sensing objects to the side. This is because alcohol slows the eye's
Pupil movement.
Rapid eye movement,
And focus ability.
After drinking,
it can be difficult for you to see vehicles approaching. There are times when your side vision may be completely eliminated—but if your vision is already blurry and not able to adjust rapidly when condition change, you're not even giving yourself a chance.
Car collisions are the number one killer of teens in the U.S.
Driving means freedom and independence—you no longer have to rely on your parents or friends for a ride. However, this freedom could all go away in a second. Combining alcohol or drugs and driving increases traffic collision risks and increases your chances of being seriously injured or killed.
What is Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL)?
When you drink alcohol, it filters through your liver and is absorbed into your blood stream. The alcohol level is the ratio between alcohol and blood. For example: a 0.08% BAL means that there are eight drops of alcohol for every 9,992 drops of blood in your body.
Here are some physiological (body-related) factors:

The size of a person's body:
The more blood you have, the more alcohol you will be able to ingest before the effects become visible. In this case, a larger person will generally have a lower BAL than a smaller person if drinking the same amount of alcohol. However, a higher body weight due to fat may not be helpful. This is because alcohol will not dissolve in fatty tissue.
The amount of alcohol in a drink
The more alcohol in a drink and the more drinks consumed during a given time period, the higher the BAL.
Any amount of alcohol, whether it comes in the form of beer, wine, or hard spirits, has the power to impair driving and will raise your BAL. The type of drink will not matter. The following drinks will raise your BAL to the same level:
A 12 ounce beer with 5% alcohol

A 5 ounce glass of wine with 12% alcohol

A shot of 80 proof alcohol (hard liquor)
Here are some physiological (body-related) factors:

The amount of time the user engages in drinking:
If a user drinks quickly, his or her BAL will be higher because the alcohol has less time to break down. If a user drinks at a much slower rate, the BAL will be lower.
The amount of food that a person eats:
be aware that food will not absorb or dilute alcohol in your body. However, eating food first may coat the stomach lining and slow the absorption of what you drink—but this only lasts for a short time. Any alcohol you drink will eventually enter your blood.
The gender of the person drinking:
Women do not process alcohol as well as men. This is in part due to weight; women weigh less on average. Women's bodies also produce less alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme which breaks down alcohol.
How Drinking Affects Your Brain
Within minutes of the first drink, the brain's ability to function normally can rapidly diminish. Alcohol absorbed into the blood stream is carried to the brain, which is significant because the brain uses more blood than any other part of your body.
How Drinking Affects Your Stomach/Intestines
About 5% of alcohol consumed is absorbed in the mouth and throat. The other 95% is then absorbed within the digestive system. Alcohol has the ability to irritate your stomach lining and intestines; this can lead to vomiting which also increases blood flow to the stomach and intestines. Secretions of these organs is also increased (especially stomach acid secretion). Excessive consumption of alcohol may cause bleeding in the stomach.
How Drinking Affects Your Liver
The liver's function is to remove poisons (including alcohol) from the body. It works by creating substances that fight infections and help blood clotting. Your liver also detoxifies many substances in the blood. Alcohol may cause illnesses like alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation) or cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
Alcohol cannot be retained in your body's tissue without serious health consequences. Here are more statistics related to alcohol absorption:
About 2-5 % of the all alcohol consumed passes unchanged by the body's functions.

Less than 10 % of the total is eliminated through the kidneys, lungs and skin.

The remaining 90% must be slowly eliminated by your liver through the process of oxidation.
How Drinking Affects Your Blood
Alcohol also causes your red blood cells to clump together, which clogs up your blood vessels. Your tissues are deprived of oxygen and may result in cell death. Here are some other ways alcohol effects your blood:

You may become anemic.
You may have reduced red and white blood counts, which in turn lowers your resistance to infection.
Many prescription medicines can affect your driving ability and reflexes.
You should also be aware that alcohol increases the side effects of many drugs. This includes those that are prescribed by doctors and those available at a drugstore. It is important that you check with your physician or pharmacist before driving when taking any medication.
Almost any drug has the ability to hinder a person's driving ability.
It does not matter if the drug is obtained by a prescription, bought over the counter, or obtained illegally.
SOME FACTS ABOUT DRUGS AND DRIVING:
Most drugs taken for headaches, colds, hay fever, allergies, or stress are sedatives. They can make you drowsy and impair your driving abilities.
Any drug can make driving unsafe. Prescription medications used in combination with alcohol can be dangerous.
Drivers should always ask doctors or pharmacists how prescription medications may affect driving.
Many drugs have unexpected effects when combined with drinking.
Some drugs (pep pills, "uppers," and diet pills) may make a driver more alert for a short time. However, known side effects may include nervousness, dizziness, and lack of concentration. These drugs can also impair vision.
Using readily available drugs like cough syrups (which usually contain alcohol) while driving can be considered driving under the influence.
Narcotics
(a category that includes pain killers like codeine or Demerol) can cause drowsiness, lethargy, poor coordination, and a sense of well-being. All of these effects impair driving. Sedative-hypnotic drugs, including barbiturates, are powerful depressants prescribed to calm people down or help them sleep. Remember that a sleepy or sedated driver is unsafe.
Make sure you follow instructions and know the effects of any drug you use.
You should also read the label of any medication you purchase at a pharmacy. Any drug that may cause drowsiness or dizziness should not be taken before driving.
Driving while impaired by ANY drug is illegal.
Marijuana
the second most common drug found in the bodies of collision victims (alcohol being the first). Marijuana is not harmless. This drug is considered a mild hallucinogen and often affects user perception.
Why are teens attracted to marijuana?
Young people may start smoking marijuana for a number of reasons. Teens often start using because it is easy to get, cheap, or used by other family members. Most users are introduced to the drug by friends who use.
What does it feel like?
Some people say they feel nothing at all when smoking marijuana. Others report feeling relaxed or high. Some side effects of marijuana use may include increased hunger or thirst, with the extreme effects being a lost sense of control, feelings of anxiety, increased heart rate, paranoia, or hallucinations.
The effects of marijuana:
1. Reaction time is often slower. This gives the driver less time to react to and avoid hazards.
2. Drivers often fail to recognize traffic signs, signals, and pavement markings.
3. Marijuana use introduces a passive mood. Users show increased tendency to drive at slower speeds,which can impede traffic flow.
4. Users' attention spans are limited. Concentrating on several things at once becomes more difficult.
5. The ability to sense time and distance relationships is lessened. This causes difficulty in judging adequate passing, following, and stopping distances.
6. Pupils respond to light slowly. Therefore, you will not be able to adjust properly to changes in light or darkness.
Your license will be suspended for a period of one year if you are found guilty of marijuana possession.
Combining marijuana with alcohol can prove fatal.
This combination can affect performance even more than when either of the drugs is taken alone.
Stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine, and "pep"pills)
Cocaine (a stimulant) can produce extreme mood swings: from feelings of euphoria to severe depression and violent hallucinations. Side effects include a sluggish recovery and blurred vision. Both affect perception and considerably reduce a person's ability to drive safely.
Stimulants like speed, methamphetamines, and crack can give users a false sense of well-being, but along with that feeling users experience trouble concentrating, impatience, aggressiveness, and chronic paranoia. These drugs are illegal and their effects can lead to erratic behavior and dangerous driving situations.
Heroin
an extremely addictive drug derived from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy. After a brief euphoria, the user goes "on the nod," which is both a wakeful and drowsy state. A user's capacity to think critically gets clouded because heroin triggers depression of the central nervous system. Other effects include slowed and slurred speech, sluggish movement, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, constipation, and vomiting.
Using heroin can slow a driver's reaction time, cause visual distortions, and impair simple motor skills. In severe cases, heroin causes stupor, coma, and death.
Hallucinogens
Hallucinogens like LSD (acid), mescaline, PCP (angel dust), and peyote trigger visual, auditory hallucinations that impair your judgment and severely distort your ability to perceive danger. These drugs can create a false sense of super strength and invulnerability, often resulting in aggressive behavior.
The law makes no distinctions between prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs.
If an officer suspects that you are under the influence of any drug, he or she can require that you take a blood or urine test.
Those who refuse to be tested are subject to the same license suspensions and revocations as those who refuse alcohol testing.
Here are a few ways to avoid driving while intoxicated:
Abstain from drinking alcohol

Use public transportation

Appoint a designated driver

Stay where you are until sober

Drink responsibly at home

Encourage friends to stay overnight if you think they are impaired

Let someone sober drive the car for you
A drunk driver has difficulty executing common driving tasks.
Learn to recognize these driving inconsistencies so you can avoid them.
You should watch out for drivers that exhibit the following tendencies:
Driving faster than conditions allow

Sporadic changes in speed or slow driving in the "fast" lane

Driving over the curb, changing into the wrong lane, weaving, or straddling two lanes

Frequent and unnecessary lane changes
Driving over the center-line or crossing a double yellow line
Stopping short of a stop sign, overshooting a stop sign, running a stop sign; alternately, stopping for a green light or stopping on the road
Failure to signal or deceptive signaling
Driving at night with no lights or failing to dim bright lights
Risky maneuvering or showing off
If you think the driver next to you is drunk, slow down and let him or her go by.
You can even pull over to let the driver pass. It is safer to have an impaired driver in front of you than behind you. Keep a safe distance from the car. You never know what to expect.
some incorrect answers corrected
1. Alcohol first impairs your ________.

A. motor skills
B. judgment
C. color recognition
Alcohol affects brain function and sensory perception directly, with judgment being the first to go. Things like distance and speed perception become much more difficult. Being unable to accurately sense one's surroundings together with a slower reaction time makes any driver a danger to everyone.
5. ________ now have 21-year-old minimum drinking age laws.

A. Some states
B. All states
C. Most states
D. None of the above
The minimum legal drinking age is now 21 years of age in all states. The NHTSA estimates that these laws have reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers 18 to 20 years old by 13% and have saved an estimated 29,292 lives since 1975.
correct answers:
1 is B 5 is B
incorrect answers corrected
5. Alcohol was involved in ___ of the total traffic fatalities in 2012 nationwide.

A. 3%
B. 13%
C. 21%
D. 31%
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were 10,332 alcohol-related fatalities in 2012—31% of the total traffic fatalities for the year.
correct answer is:
D.