What Does the “Please Drink Responsibly” Disclaimer Really Mean?

Article courtesy CasaColumbia

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If you need help, reach out to someone, be it your first sergeant, chaplain or counselor. You owe it to your team mates, your family … and yourself. (Photo by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A recent study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence highlighted a huge problem with alcohol industry advertisements. While 9 out of 10 of the alcohol advertisements studied include the message “drink responsibly,” none provide information about what is defined as responsible drinking. Furthermore, the advertisements typically feature glamorous models, free pours of alcohol and a carefree, party like atmosphere, contradicting the responsible drinking message.

Profit-wise, the advertising makes sense. The alcohol industry is well aware that a large amount of its profits are made off of binge drinkers. CASAColumbia’s The Commercial Value of Underage and Pathological Drinking to the Alcohol Industry estimates that the alcohol industry makes about $36.3 billion from binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as when men consume 5 or more drinks, and women consume 4 or more drinks, within a 2 hour period.

This is a huge public health problem. In 2013, nearly 1 in 4 persons over the age of 12 were binge alcohol users.

Hand-holding-beer-mug-2-4-3-12-3-300x200Though low to moderate alcohol use may be fine for an adult’s health, science clearly shows that binge drinking increases a person’s risk for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, neurological damage and injury.

The dangers of binge drinking and its consequences are in need of a widespread public health campaign. While most people know that serious health risks come along with smoking, many do not understand the risks that come from periods of heavy drinking. If young people knew that several shots downed at once on a repeated basis came with an increased risk for significant health consequences later in life, would they be as willing to take the risk?

So what does this mean for the Guard?  Everything, according to State Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley.

“We all know someone who’s life has been affected by the irresponsible use of alcohol,” said Chumley. “Whether it’s binge drinking, drinking and driving or showing up drunk on duty, the danger is there and it puts us all at risk.”

Drink responsiblyChumley asks that we all look out for one another as we approach the holiday season. He also asks that leaders and supervisors talk with their service members, ask them about their plans; conduct “oak tree counseling” and make them aware of the safety precautions and identify preventive measures.

“Every individual is important to the Kentucky National Guard – our Soldiers, Airmen and Family members,” said Chumley.  “We all need to look out for our brothers and sisters in uniform. This goes for our Families as well. Let’s cover each other’s ‘six’ as we go into the holidays and make sure we don’t lose a Guardsman or a Family member from the abuse of alcohol.

“If you need help or know someone who does, speak up. Talk to your NCOIC or OIC, call the chaplain or just talk with a trusted friend. Help is waiting.  You just have to ask.”

Click here for more information or you can contact:

Savannah Caceres-Lund, 502-565-6969, email: b.t.Caceres-Lund@accenturefederal.com

Shannon Tipton, 859-314-8932, email: Shannon.Horn@Accenturefederal.com

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