Responsible Alcohol Use: Vital throughout the Year

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Since 1981, every president of the United States has demonstrated his commitment to preventing impaired driving by proclaiming December as National Impaired Driving Prevention month. In signing these proclamations, presidents of the United States have urged all Americans to make responsible decisions, and take appropriate measures, to prevent drunk, drugged and distracted driving.

Reducing the incidence of impaired driving requires a comprehensive approach while recognizing that every community faces different challenges. We also know that some states and communities will be increasing enforcement of impaired driving laws through sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Fortunately, most Americans make responsible decisions regarding alcohol use. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) nationwide survey of 43,000 adults, ages 18 and older, reported the following in 2010:

Seven in 10 U.S. adults always drink at low-risk levels or do not drink at all:

· Thirty seven percent of adults always drink at low-risk levels and 35 percent don't drink at all.
· For men, low-risk drinking is no more than 4 drinks on any day and no more than 14 drinks per week.
· For women, low-risk drinking is no more than 3 drinks on any day and no more than 7 drinks per week.
· A standard drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. (e.g., 12 oz of regular beer; 8 oz of malt liquor; 5 oz of table wine; 1.5 oz shot of 80-proof spirits).

Twenty-eight percent of adults drink at heavy or at-risk levels:

· For healthy men, heavy or at-risk drinking is consuming more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week.
· For healthy women, heavy or at-risk drinking is consuming more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks per week.
· Nineteen percent of adults are at increased-risk for developing alcohol-related problems because they drink more than either the single-day limit or the weekly limit.
· Nine percent of adults are at highest-risk because they drink more than both the single-day limits and the weekly limits.

Following these easy steps, a driver can enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their life and the lives of others who may be on the road:

· Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
· Predetermine a designate driver.
· If impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
· Use your community's sober rides programs.
· If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
· Remember, if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, or ride with an impaired driver, take their keys and help them make other arrangements.

To assist Hurlburt Field leadership in promoting responsible alcohol use, the Hurlburt Field Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program provides a wide range of services to active duty members. The ADAPT Program is located on the second floor of the Hurlburt Main Clinic and the staff can be reached at 881-4237. Family members of active duty should contact TriCare-partner Value Options at (800) 700-8646 for information and assistance in obtaining substance abuse evaluation and treatment services.