Alcohol and Your Health

This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, Four Corners Health Department encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol. Drinking too much increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer.

The evidence is clear that alcohol use increases the risk for at least 7 different cancers:

  • Mouth & Throat
  • Larynx (voice box)
  • Esophagus
  • Breast
  • Liver
  • Colorectal

Along with the danger of cancer, there were 1,661 alcohol-related crashes in 2017 in Nebraska. In 2016, 3.4% of Nebraskans reported driving after drinking in the last 30 days. In the United States, about one in three traffic deaths involve a drunk driver.

In Nebraska and locally, a little over 7% report heavy drinking, which is 8+ drinks for women per week and 15+ drinks per week for men. If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some tips to help you cut back or stop drinking:

  • Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
  • Don’t drink when you are upset.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink.

Adapted from www.healthfinder.gov.

Encourage the youth and young adults in your family to not drink alcohol while under 21. If they choose to drink after turning 21, teach them the health guidelines of no more than 2 drinks per day for men and no more than 1 per day for women. Teach them also what is one serving of alcohol: 12 oz of beer (5% alcohol), 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounce of shot 80-proof distilled spirits.

If you are concerned about your level or a loved one’s level of drinking, take an anonymous screening at http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/bvbh. No one will be able to see your answers. Or call a toll-free number at SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment programs, support groups, and more. Callers also can order free materials and other information.

Get involved in your local prevention group. Everyone is needed to make a difference.

For more tips and ideas on healthy living, call Four Corners at 877-337-3573. Or send email to info@fourcorners.ne.gov