Alcohol and Your Health: It’s That Time of Year Again

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2005

Contact: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Do you check the oil level in your car regularly, to keep it on the road and running smoothly?

How about checking your use of alcohol in your daily life? Are you drinking more or less than you were a year ago? And how is that related to your efforts to stay healthy?

Thursday, April 7, is Alcohol Screening Day, and the Vermont Department of Health is urging Vermonters to take a quiz at www.AlcoholScreening.org to learn how alcohol might be affecting their health.

The website asks 12 questions, and the feedback it provides, based on your answers, could guide you to a healthier future.

Most adults who drink alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, or liquor) consume safe amounts. For others, unsafe drinking patterns increase their risk for injury, illness or future alcohol problems. These problems can creep up, however, and an annual screening can help you spot difficulties before harm is done.

“Alcohol is our number one drug of abuse,” says Barbara Cimaglio, deputy commissioner of health for alcohol and drug abuse programs. “More Vermonters enter treatment for alcohol problems than for any other drug problem.”

Many Vermonters are not aware of how their own alcohol consumption compares to that of other people. The screening website will tell you how your level of consumption compares with the general adult population.

“Many people simply do not realize that the amount and frequency of their drinking can place them at risk of injury, illness and future alcohol problems,” Cimaglio says.

Health guidelines suggest that men should drink no more than two alcoholic drinks a day, and women no more than one. Women should not drink at all during pregnancy or if they are planning to become pregnant in the immediate future. (One drink equals a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a cocktail with one and a half ounces of 80-proof liquor.) By law, anyone under the age of 21 should not drink.

In addition to the website screening, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Retreat Healthcare are offering free and confidential alcohol screening on Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the hospital’s Gannett Building Lobby. Contact the retreat at 257-7785 for details.

The website at www.AlcoholScreening.org is designed for adults, but also offers information for teens. Parents concerned about their child’s alcohol or drug use can talk with their family practice physician or contact a local alcohol or drug treatment provider.