Death, Abuse and Alcohol

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    When Bringing in the New Year 2014 be wise in your choice of drink, the demon drink is taking over the world and causing many countries to question how they control the problem alcohol is causing to young and old alike.

    Death, Abuse and Alcohol

    As 2013 draws to a close all over the world we need to stop and think about what this night means to many families, friends and the Emergency Room. Many of us are planning a night of celebration, which involves loud music, games, copious amounts of food and of course lots of Alcohol.

    New Year for me has been very mixed over the years, full of emotion but I am one of the few who really doesn't pay much attention to it. Often I would volunteer to work to allow others to enjoy the festivities.

    Am I strange? No there are many people like me out there, people who have witnessed the darker side of New Year Celebrations. For me a child of an Alcoholic and a mother who would fight with drunken husband, this is a night when all bets are off as far as alcohol are concerned.

    Alcohol causes more problems than we give credit, we know it does but it is a legal way to feel good. Alcohol is the root to all-evil, we have all seen the signs on the corners of big cities. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a drink or two and I am a happy drunk, but fortunately for me with my family background I get the most horrendous hangovers known to mankind so I steer clear.

    For Nurses, New Year tends to hold a particular bitter sweetness, we want to celebrate but we know the kind of victims, or should I say patients will be brought in over the next 24 hours.

    The amount of Drunk Drivers increases over New Year, Drunk drivers cause more families to be broken hearted over New Year than any other day of the year, and any other drink inspired holiday.

    The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year's involve drunk drivers -- a 12% increase over the rest of the month of December

    During the Christmas period, for example, an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurred each day, and soared to 54 per day over the New Year's holiday
    Hospital admissions can increase by up to 50% over Christmas and New Year. A hospital in Dublin, Ireland said that they are witnessing an alarming increase in hospital admissions related to over consumption of alcohol and over New Year 2013 this amounted to 50% of the actual admissions. In the UK statistics are showing an increase in alcohol admissions, and health care professionals are calling for stricter rules and regulations to govern alcohol sales.

    Data from the Government's Health and Social Care Information Centre shows that in 2012/13, a total of 26,209 men and 12,461 women aged 45 to 49 ended up in hospital purely due to alcohol
    We have to acknowledge that this is a growing problem, not only here in the US but worldwide! In France they are experiencing similar problems, we have always believed there are less problems with alcohol in Europe because they introduce wine drinking with meals to young people, resulting in less problems as adults.

    Short-term admissions for binge drinking symptoms up 80%
    Latest figures show drinking killed 49,000 people in France in 2009
    40% of the deaths were people under the age of 65
    Australia is also affected by alcohol fueled hospital admissions, and New Year is particularly worrying. A study by the government showed frightening statistics.

    On New Year's Day, alcohol intoxication- related ambulance attendances increased by 75 per cent, emergency presentations increased by 50 per cent, compared to the average.
    There was a three-fold increase in ambulance attendances for intoxication on New Year's Eve, with similar increases in hospital presentations and admissions
    Finally we cannot forget the victims of domestic violence and abuse that has the potential to increase Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately statistics do not prove that there is an increase in domestic violence during this holiday period, and could be due to the abused being reluctant to 'spoil the holiday', so don't present in the ER or at shelters. Some shelters report a decrease in admission during this time.

    In response to requests from the field for statistics on the prevalence of domestic violence during the holidays,the NRCDV has not been able to find any reliable, national study linking the holidays with an increase indomestic violence, nor have we found any national data on the number of calls to shelters or to lawenforcement over the holidays.
    Around this time, heightened family tensions, unrealistic expectations and worries about finances can, when fueled by excessive drinking, lead to an increase in the number and severity of attacks. Victims can also feel more isolated than usual because they do not want to spoil other people's celebrations.
    So as Nurses and Healthcare professionals what can we do? We can educate, one patient at a time, starting within our own family. We can support and we can listen.

    When I was researching this article, I found many sources which call for an increase in cost of alcohol-I for one do not think this will solve the problem, it will only make the manufacturers richer. People who want to drink will always find the money to do so, in Victorian England,poverty was extreme but money was always found for Alcohol. Some will forgo food in order to purchase alcohol, resulting in more domestic violence.

    What we need is more education, more extreme advertising against alcohol, more campaigning within schools, less tolerance of drunk drivers and abusers. Graphic illustrations of accidents, abused wives and kids, plus explanation in detail of the ravages of alcohol on the body.

    I don't know the answers, do you?
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 13, '15
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    About madwife2002, BSN, RN

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  3. by   classicdame
    I used to work for ophthalmologists who were most likely to get corneas for transplants on New Year's Eve. Lots of drunk donors.
  4. by   westieluv
    This is exactly why my dh and I raised both of our kids to consider alcohol just another drug, same as cocaine, heroin, etc., legal or not. We have gotten some flack over the years from some family on his side who can't have a good time without alcohol, but the bottom line is, alcohol is a mind altering drug that kills people and destroys families. It is not all fun and games, as the beer commercials would have you believe, and we have way more fun having a clear head and not having to worry about killing someone through our own stupidity when we drive home from anywhere. Oh, and both of our now adult kids don't touch the stuff, so mission accomplished!
  5. by   2k15NurseExtern4u
    I always say that if you are gonna drink and drive, AT LEAST make sure you are a registered organ donor so that you can save lives in the event of a tragedy.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    There is NO excuse for drunk driving. None whatsoever. I think the penalties should be much more severe, even for first-time offenders---after all, the first DUI is only the first time they've been caught!

    Driving after drinking is no different than pointing a loaded gun into a crowd. Sooner or later you are going to hit someone and destroy not only their life, but those of their loved ones. A DUI should at least be worth a few months in jail, the loss of your license and a huge fine---we need to make the punishment fit the crime.
  7. by   LadyFree28
    Informative article.

    I prefer to stay home or work for safety purposes...I rather celebrate the New Year by being safe and sober.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Thank you for this poignant reminder, madwife2002.

    As the daughter of a parent who was a problem drinker (and whose drunk driving resulted in collisions), I fully know about the dysfunction that alcohol can bestow upon families and society. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for no devastation tonight.
  9. by   HappyWife77
    Alcohol cheapens your life....just say no.

    I get drunk on the Holy Spirit. And sing songs to God and have a great time!!
  10. by   2k15NurseExtern4u
    Quote from HappyWife77
    Alcohol cheapens your life....just say no.

    I get drunk on the Holy Spirit. And sing songs to God and have a great time!!
    Lol this post is HILARIOUS.
  11. by   BlueLightRN
    I rarely drink and even when I do it's in moderation and I never ever drive after drinking. I honestly do not understand why anyone would, and I don't see the appeal in being drunk often or overly-intoxicated. I feel more sick that I feel like I'm having fun. Maybe it's because of the things I've see alcohol do to other people. It's a sad drug.
  12. by   HappyWife77
    My little brother died in a accident two years ago and my mom turned over all the handling of details to me. I donated as much of his remains as I could. He helped 70 different people.


    I could go either way with drinking at one point in my life. But after seeing it as an evil killer that it can be...I don't want anypart of it.
  13. by   madwife2002
  14. by   jadelpn
    In my opinion, alcohol is the most socially acceptable mind altering substance there is.

    If someone is shooting heroin, abusing prescription drugs, or doing lines of coke in the bathroom--everyone is outraged--these people are considered by many to be the lowest of the low, drug seeking good for nothings.

    Someone has cocktails to intoxication, THIS is "having a good time". Even if one is daily drinking to "wind down" or "relax".....

    Alcohol destroys peoples' lives just as much as the next addiction/drug. Rarely touched the stuff when I was younger, choose not to at all in this point in my life. Find no need to keep any in my house, do not offer it as an option when I have get togethers. Just don't see the need.