Do you know the risks of alcohol use?

Cathy Brownfield

Generations of young people have consumed alcohol as they “experiment” along their journey to find their way to adulthood, to independence. Some consider it a ‘rite of passage,’ something the youth will outgrow sooner or later.

            Rites of passage are those important life-changing moments in our lives, the major milestones of our accomplishments. It’s about acknowledging those important events that mark the transition from one stage of life to another, and finding the senses of belonging and of connection to others who have passed through before us. These rites of passage should be good things that bring us a sense of worth, that cause us to feel good about ourselves.

            The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs addresses alcohol use and abuse as a rite of passage, determining that, “youth will create their own rites of passage, including the use and abuse of alcohol, unless they have healthy and constructive alternatives.”

            “Rites of passage are a normal part of a young person’s growth from adolescence to adulthood,” writes Edward R. Butler. “… The challenge is to develop meaningful and safe rites of passage rituals to permit youth to prove their worthiness to become members of their new groups without using dangerous, addictive, and permanently debilitating ritual activities such as the use and abuse of alcohol.”

            This week, Treatment Magazine shared information stating, “The first sip of alcohol you ever take can alter your brain permanently.” This article goes on to say, “…single ethanol exposure – meaning the use of alcohol just one time – can adversely affect the brain patterns and ultimately lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD).”

            Results of a global study became news headlines over the summer. Risks of alcohol use are higher than previously thought, particularly among males under age 40.

            Alcohol use estimates were gleaned from about 1.34 billion individuals in 204 countries, all the data being self-reported. It was determined that males age 39 and younger consumed unsafe amounts of alcohol in 2020 and were connected to 60 percent of alcohol-related injuries (car crashes, homicides and suicides,) advises the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

            No adult wants to be told what is best for them, perhaps. Everyone has free will to choose for themselves. But sometimes we need to listen to what we need to hear, even if we don’t like it. It just isn’t good enough to think, “stuff like that only happens to other people.” To someone else, we are the other people. Please, consider these things for your well being.

            The researchers in the study are urging changes be made to the recommended safe amounts of alcohol before health is negatively affected.

  • Under age 40: slightly more than just one-tenth of a standard drink.
  • Age 40-65, no underlying health conditions: one-half of a standard drink to two standard drinks.
  • 65 and older: Males, 3.2 standard drinks per day; females, 3.5.

For those over 65 years of age, not exceeding the recommended safe consumption of alcohol may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes, researchers say.

Celebrate your accomplishments, those rites of passage that you have made your way through and earned in healthy ways. Teach the children in your life the way they should grow.

Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The

goal is for the health and well-being of all. For more information about the education, prevention

and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at

964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, Visit the

website at FRC is funded in part by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS).

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