Alcohol, a scourge

For thousands of years alcoholic drinks have had their place in virtually every country and culture: you’ll find them at parties, feasts, ceremonies and rituals, they are used in cooking and are sometimes just part of an everyday meal.

However, alcohol is responsible for nearly 2.5 million deaths per year or about 4% of deaths worldwide (source: World Health Organization)..

Alcohol passes very quickly into the blood without undergoing a transformation. From here it passes through the entire body.

Our liver helps us to eliminate alcohol, turning it into water and carbon dioxide (CO2). The liver takes approximately an hour to eliminate one glass of alcohol. However much alcohol is consumed, the liver works at its normal rate and is programmed to process alcohol at an average rate of 0,15g/l/hour.

tableau élimination

Drinking on an empty stomach increases the absorption process. Alcohol arriving in an empty stomach is assimilated by the small intestine in less than 30 minutes. This is why drinking a glass of alcohol without food accelerates the state of intoxication.

For each of us, our genes, weight and age are important variables that should be taken into consideration when it comes to drinking in moderation.

Genes: certain genes play an important role in the amount of alcohol required to make a person feel drunk. Some individuals will therefore react slowly to alcohol, while for others the reaction will be more rapid.

Weight: the guidelines given are for men and women of average height and weight. The level of alcohol in someone’s blood is the quantity of alcohol absorbed divided by the quantity of water present in their body. Therefore, the less water there is in the body, the higher the alcohol level in the blood will be.

Age: young adults have a lower tolerance for alcohol than older adults. They often weigh less and the alcohol is therefore spread across a smaller quantity of water. The enzymes contributing to the absorption of alcohol by the liver are not as numerous in young people as they are in adults. In addition, adolescent brains.

Alcohol at the wheel

L'alcool au volant

The risk is there well before intoxication appears.

The effects of alcohol on the mind, brain and nervous system have a detrimental effect on driving ability:

• Alcohol deceives the driver into a misconception of the possibilities and leads to an overestimation of his/her own ability; he/she therefore takes risks that he/she never would have taken in a normal state: excess speed, aggressive behaviour, not wearing a safety belt or helmet, etc;

• Alcohol suppresses or reduces perception interferes with ability and, above all, slows the reflexes. The average reaction time in normal conditions is estimated at roughly one second. From 0.5 g/l alcohol in the blood, reaction time can be up to 1.5 seconds. For example, a vehicle travelling at 90 km/h covers 25 metres in 1 second and 37 metres in 1.5 seconds. These 12 metres can save a life! Reaction time increases considerably with higher levels of alcohol in the blood.

Alcohol acts in several ways on the optic nerve and especially on the transmission of images to the brain:

• Incorrect assessment of distances, which result in ill-considered overtaking manoeuvres;

• Increased sensitivity to being dazzled while driving at night;

• Narrowing of the field of vision: tunnel vision, danger at junctions.

Alcohol at work

The cost of alcoholism for a company varies considerably according to the circumstances. Alcohol consumption by employees generally leads to:


• Increased absenteeism;
• A fall in productivity;
• A fall in quality;
• A negative influence on motivation among colleagues;
• The cost of accidents;
• Bringing in outsiders to help people in difficulty.

Alcohol and violence

alcool et la violence

Alcohol may cause an aggressive physical reaction. Most studies have been of men as the aggressors and aggressed. The few studies using women show that their reactions are no different to those of men. The conclusions and analyses indicate a strong link between intoxication and an increase in physical and moral aggression. Moreover, alcohol and violence could be a problem in the social relationship (family, friends...).