'Rethinking Drinking' website offers helpful info

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Take away the drugs, dogs and alcohol, and we wouldn't have much to report in our police news.

Laws covering vicious dogs have been tightened up, drugs are an issue unto themselves, and alcohol, well, we've tried outlawing that, and we all know how that turned out.

Do you drink too much?

During April's Alcohol Awareness Month, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is offering this yardstick:

For health adults in general, drinking more than these single-day or weekly limits is considered "at-risk" or "heavy" drinking:

Men: More than four drinks on any day, or 14 per week.

Women: More than three drinks on any day or seven per week.

About one in four people who exceed these limits already has alcoholism or alcohol abuse, and the rest are at greater risk for developing these and other problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

You can take stock of your drinking pattern, get tools to make a change and reduce your chances of having alcohol-related problems at the Rethinking Drinking website: http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ to get started.

Small changes can make a big difference to avoiding alcohol-related problems:

Count and measure. Know standard drink sizes so you can keep track accurately.

Set goals. Decide how many days a week you want to drink, and how many drinks you'll have on those days. It's a good idea to have some days when you don't drink.

Pace your drinking. Have no more than one drink with alcohol per hour and sip slowly. Make every other drink a non-alcoholic one like water or soda.

Don't drink on an empty stomach. Eat so the alcohol is absorbed into your system more slowly.

Of course, if you take time to take stock of your drinking habits, one of two things are probably true. One, you're already a responsible drinker; or, two, you're already beginning to worry about your drinking.

It's the ones who don't think or care whether they have a drinking problem who are likely to wind up in the police news.

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