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The South African Anti Drug Team




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Alcohol is a natural chemical, and is produced by fermenting and distilling organic material such as hops, grapes, peaches etc. Its one of the oldest drugs used my mankind. Drinks vary in the percentage of alcohol present, from beer and wine, which contains anything up to 5-15 % alcohol by volume, depending on brand, to spirits, which can contain up to 80% alcohol. This concentration is normally published on the packaging or container. Light to moderate drinking can contribute to relaxation and sociability. Inhibition follows.


Excessive use causes dizziness, nausea and vomiting for some, heaving drinking can also bring on aggressive behaviour. It slows down your reflexes and confuses your mind, so you should not drive or operate any machinery when drunk. Itís very dangerous not only for you, but for your passengers and other road users. It can also make you clumsy, uncoordinated and a hassle to others. Short-term effects of alcohol use include distorted vision, hearing, and coordination, altered perceptions and emotions, impaired judgment, bad breath and hangovers. Long-term effects of heavy alcohol use include loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, stomach ailments, skin problems, sexual impotence, liver damage, heart and central nervous system damage and memory loss. Alcoholic dependency is perhaps thegravest long-term concern.


Drinking alcohol is a widespread legal socially-accepted activity. However, alcohol is a poison that actually kills brain cells. After drinking lots of alcohol, your body sucks up vital fluids to relieve its effects from your organs to dilute this poison. It then activates the adrenal glands to speed up your metabolism, so as to remove this poison as fast as possible. This causes the euphoria associated with getting drunk. If you continue drinking, your body runs out of the vital fluids with which to dilute the alcohol, and becomes dehydrated. Too much alcohol generally makes you throw up, because your body is trying to reject the poison. Hangovers are caused by toxins and dehydration. Alcohol acts not as a stimulant, as is often supposed, but as a depressant. It switches off nerve impulses to areas of the brain involved in memory, judgement, and co-ordination. Because alcohol is legal and widely marketed as desirable activity, it is abused with a high frequency and with little thought. In the long run excessive use can lead to an dependency, with serious physical and mental damage as well as social problems.


Alcoholism, like many addictions, can be life-destroying and itís up there amongst the hard core. For most, alcoholism can set in later in life after a career of drinking - in your 30ís and 40ís and is very difficult to shake off. But there is no guarantee it canít set in earlier. Some people are more vulnerable than others eg. if your family has a history of alcoholism, you could especially be at risk. See the Dependency Chapter for more info. Alcohol shouldnít be mixed with MDMA since it makes the danger of dehydration

more severe or any other depressant drugs eg: Heroin and especially GHB.


NB:  Common outward signs of an Alcholic:

 1.   They do not have strong willpower.

 2.   They do not have a stable character.

 3.   They tend to live in a tunnel - view life.

 4.   They lie constantly to protect their pride.

 5.   They do not want to accept that they need help..

 6.   They develop liver, heart, asthma or lung problems.