Alcohol and Drugs

What is Alcohol?

It is classified as a depressant drug.
  • It slows down the central nervous system, causing a decrease in motor coordination, reaction time and intellectual performance.
  • In high doses, the respiratory system can slow down drastically and cause a coma or death.

How Does Alcohol move Through the Body?

  • A drink enters the stomach and small intestine, where small blood vessels carry it to the bloodstream.
  • Approximately 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach
  • The remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine.
  • Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, where enzymes break down the alcohol. 
    • In general, the liver can process one ounce of liquor (or one standard drink) in one hour. If you consume more than this, your system becomes saturated, and the additional alcohol will accumulate in the blood and body tissues until it can be metabolized.
  • Very small amounts of alcohol are excreted via lungs, sweat and urine (2-5%).

What is ONE Drink?

A standard drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. Counting your drinks gets tricky when a drink container holds multiple standard drinks, such as a red cup or certain mixed drinks. Approximate standard drink equivalents are below:

  • 12 oz. of beer
Note: A red cup holds 16 oz.
  • 8-9 oz. of malt liquor
Note: Malt liquor is often sold in 16, 22, or 40 oz. containers that hold 2-5 standard drinks
  • 4 - 5 oz. table wine
Note: Table wine bottles (typically 750ml) hold five standard drinks
  • 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor
Note: The same amount of liquor with a higher alcohol content (above 80 proof) contains more than one standard drink

What is a Drug?

  • A drug is a substance which may have medicinal, intoxicating, performance enhancing or other effects when taken or put into a human body or the body of another animal and is not considered a food or exclusively a food.
    • Uppers: Drugs that make you feel happy and aware.
      • Examples: Adderall, Cocaine, Hookah, Meth, and Nicotine.
    • Depressants / Downers – They lower the level of arousal and are typically associated with feelings of sadness or aggression. 
      • Examples: Alcohol, Heroin, and Oxycontin/Vicodin. 
    • All-Arounders: Act as stimulants and occasionally as depressants. But, they mostly act as psychedelics, which dramatically alter a user’s perception and create a world in which reason takes a back seat to intensified sensations by creating illusions, delusions, or hallucinations.
      • Examples: Acid/LSD, Ecstasy, Marijuana, Mushrooms, PCP, and Salvia.