Here's a sobering fact: Each year, there are 85,000 alcohol-related deaths, and over 7,000 involve people who are not yet 21.Consumed in moderation, alcohol can act as a social lubricant. Unfortunately though, for many young people, drinking isn't always done in moderation. You're probably already familiar with some of the more immediate negative effects of drinking. Because alcohol depresses your central nervous system, it will sedate you. Though you may feel excited when drinking, in actuality alcohol is a CNS depressant. This means you'll experience reduced inhibitions, slurred speech, decreased muscle coordination, and impaired judgment. An incident of heavy drinking can result in alcohol poisoning, during which your body can fall into a life-threatening coma; or even in extreme circumstances, death.Alcohol consumption is a factor in nearly 50 percent of American car accidents, which is why many alcohol-related deaths - and injuries - occur in a motor vehicle crash. Over the long-term, continued alcohol consumption can lead to potentially life-threatening liver disorders, like hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liveor cirrhosis, which is an irreversible and progressive scarring of liver tissue. Drinking can also lead to cancer. It's been directly linked to liver, rectum, breast, colon, throat and mouth cancerAnd if these life-threatening ailments don't give you pause, you should also know that excessive, habitual drinking can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction or loss of fertility for both sexes! Excessive consumption has also been linked to emotional and mental health issues. Studies have shown that heavy drinkers are more likely to be divorced, unemployed, and even suicidal than people who drink in moderation. Still, this doesn't mean you can't have a good time. What it does mean is that you need to smart about when, where, and how much you drink.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012