Four sobering alcohol facts

It’s Saturday night – the quintessential day for social (and unsocial) drinking. Here are some sobering alcohol facts for the morning after.

1. When it comes to drinking, Moldovans are second to none

Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. We cheekily borrowed the picture from CafePress.com - you can buy it here.

If you haven’t heard about Moldova, you’re probably not alone. This tiny, landlocked country in Eastern Europe is troubled by crime and even a breakaway country existing within its borders. It is estimated that up to one million, or up to one in four Moldovans are working abroad in countries such as Russia and Italy, mostly illegally. With wire transfers from abroad making up 38 % of the gross domestic product, there’s little uplifting about the state of the nation.

And what do those left in Moldova do? Well, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average yearly consumption of alcohol for an adult Moldovan is 18 litres, almost twice as much as the average consumption in the United States. Let us put that into perspective: that’s 1 014 bottles of Budweiser a year, or nearly three bottles every day of the year. No wonder there’s trouble, eh?

And they said Russians were heavy drinkers? Well they are, even though their 15.7 litres don’t bring them down to Moldavian levels. Nine of the twelve countries with the highest per capita alcohol use are former Soviet republics. It seems that the aftermath of the iron curtain still weighs heavily on the Eastern Europeans.

Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.
                                                                                     - Frank Sinatra

 2. Alcohol kills

Every year 90 000 people die of alcohol related disorders worldwide. That’s one person every six minutes. In 1996, nearly one and a half million arrests were made in the US for driving while intoxicated and a year later, it was reported that 513 000 people were in jail for the same offense, just in the US alone. That was one in every 546 Americans. In 2001, one in ten drivers involved in fatal accidents had been drinking. Drunk driving just isn’t cool.

Despite what your parents and funny motivational posters may have told you, alcohol does not kill your brain cells (except if it kills you, of course).

 

3. Alcohol isn’t just for humans

Humans have an almost supernatural ability to do stupid stuff, such as drinking toxins for entertainment. Even so, alcohol intoxication isn’t a genuinely human thing, a lot of animals have been caught doing the same, as the following page can attest to. Humans are often involved, but sometimes animals do get wasted entirely without our help. Eating fermented fruit is the usual way our animal friends get buzzed.

Just to prove our point:

4. Alcohol makes us (more) stupid

Let’s face it – alcohol impairs our judgment and makes us do stupid things. For some, that’s reason enough to drink: if you’re drunk, you’re given a general pardon for being stupid or talking to perfect strangers (never mind that they’re only perfect because you’ve got your beer goggles on). On the other hand, it makes us do stupid things. Things that can hurt us, or our friends.

In the past, your drunken sprees were witnessed only by your equally drunk friends or the occasional news crew, but with Facebook it’s easy to share your mistakes with everyone: friends, family, co-workers and that latest crush. You might want to consider getting an alco-lock on your smartphone. It’s not quite there yet, but give it some time.

The effect of beer goggles.

 

Featured image is courtesy of Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr and available as a creative commons license.

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