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 Smoking, Drinking & Addiction

 
What’s Ugly about Partying with Drinks and Drugs
Prof. Adrian Kennedy
 
The kindred spirits Described as the nectar of the gods, alcohol is a drink fermented from grapes, fruit or grain, and is an intoxicating beverage probably as old as mankind itself. Ingested in all cultures through the centuries, alcohol has always been used for celebration and ceremony.

 


In the ancient Egyptian Empire, wine was confined to the ruling and religious class. The Roman empire saw alcohol being introduced in daily social events. Currently, beer is the staple drink of the German working class. Fermented over four to five days from barley, wheat and yeast, it is served undiluted with it ten percent alcoholic content. Ale, stout, cider, lager, sake – all is different beer type.

Made in Germany, California, Portugal, Australia and even Goa, this drink with 24 percent alcohol, fermented from grapes for one to five years, has been perfected in France. Red wine is made from whole grape and is rich in flavenoids. White wine, usually sweeter and served chilled, is made from grapes without the skin. What those F1 drivers and the cricket team spray around is champagne - usually clear and sparkling.

While vodka, gin and tequila are colorless spirits, rum and brandy are usually golden to dark brown. Vodka is of Russian origin; gin is distinctly British, while tequila is Mexican. None of these spirits are aged or stored. While vodka is made from potato and molasses, gin is made from barley and corn, whereas tequila comes from the agove plant. Rum is fermented from sugarcane and stored for about an year before bottling.

The ubiquitous whisky is made from a mash of barley, wheat, corn and rye, and aged in oak casks for eight to 24 years. Brandy is aged only for four or five years, but to get one gallon of it, you’d have to distill 10 gallons of wine! While cocktails are a mixture of several liquors, liqueurs are an after dinner alcoholic drink, like a coffee to some.

Though known by these several names, the effect of alcohol is the same - euphoria.

Euphoric effect
Alcohol is quickly absorbed in the blood stream and has an immediate effect on the brain and central nervous system. The liver can metabolize alcohol at the rate of one unit an hour (a unit is commonly referred to as one peg or 45 ml spirits. The equivalent in wine is 100 ml or half a glass, and one glass or 200 ml for beer). In case a person drinks more than one unit within the hour it will have an alcoholic effect as follows:

The first drink usually makes the drinker cheerful. The arteries dilate, blood pressure relaxes and you feel nice and happy. If you have three drinks within the hour, it depresses the neuro muscular response - and the muscles lose their ability to react to emergencies. Most motor accidents happen with this level of alcoholic consumption. At this point, blood analysis will show a 1% alcohol concentration in the blood.

With five drinks quickly consumed, the drinker loses social skills and behaves erratically. Beyond this quantity of alcohol consumption, the drinker has no recollection of events the next day. With more than 10 to 13 drinks (i.e. one bottle or 750 ml alcohol) the heart rate and respiration get depressed and the drinker may lapse into an alcoholic stupor, or even a coma from which they may not survive.

Euphoric effect
  1. One peg-Cheerful
  2. Three pegs- Accident prone
  3. Five pegs-Loss of social control
  4. Ten pegs-Sleep/memory loss
  5. Thirteen pegs-Coma/death
 
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