Health & Safety

April 5, 2012

Alcohol Awareness Month: Alcohol and community responsibility

Valencia R. Barnes
Employee Assistance Program Coordinator

Most people are aware of the consequences of drunken driving.  What about people who are abusing and misusing alcohol and are not behind the wheel, but still can be considered dangerous?  A couple examples are persons caring for children while intoxicated and people at work under the influence of alcohol.  Although awareness about driving while intoxicated and being under the influence in the work place is being promoted, most people believe it is okay to be drunk as long as you aren’t driving or at work.  The belief is that whatever is done in the privacy of one’s home is no one else’s concern.  But is that true?

Besides drunken driving and being under the influence at work, here are some other incidents that have happened due to persons being under the influence:   urinating on oneself in public, administering the incorrect dosage of medication (causing hospitalization) while caring for a sick person, breaking a bone or having other physical injuries but not becoming aware of it until sober, eating dog food thinking it was human food, small children wandering through the neighborhood while their care giver is passed out, becoming a victim of sexual assault because the intoxicated person has passed out and someone takes advantage of the situation, severe sunburn due to passing out in the midday desert sun during the summer, and property, wallets  and identity stolen.  The list goes on and on.

So what can we do?  As caring friends, family members and neighbors, we can talk to someone who we believe might have a problem with alcohol.  Share your observations and concerns and let them know that help is available.  If they don’t want to do anything about it, talk to someone close to them.  Stop thinking that being intoxicated is funny.  Examine the reasons you have to drink to the point of intoxication.  Realize that alcohol is not necessary in order to have fun.  Although April is Alcohol Awareness Month, consider lifestyle changes throughout the year that will keep you from being intoxicated.  For more information, call the Fort Irwin Army Substance Abuse Program at 380-9092.




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