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Alcohol is a representation of one of the most profound health-related drug problems in the United States Seven in ten adults or more than one hundred million American eighteen years and older are estimated to be drinkers Approximately ten million of them are felt to develop a drinking problem such as alcoholism during their lifetime Many other experts view alcohol as a problem that is lessening as society becomes more aware of its dangers and responds by decreasing its use Liquor industry statistics show a drop in per capita consumption of alcohol since the 1980s Howard Shaffer director of Harvard Medical Schools Center for Addiction Studies says There has clearly been a change of lifestyle It is a new temperance movement the new sobriety Bender and Leone 95 Allen Haveson a spokesperson for the National Council on Alcoholism agrees A large number of Americans have adopted a moderate lifestyle They have begun to moderate or stop drinking Bender and Leone 95 How harmful is alcohol Alcohol intake reduces peripheral vision impairs the ability to see and hear inhibits reactions reduces concentration and motor performance One of the most dangerous consequences of drinking is the synegistic action of alcohol when combined with other drugs such as GHB a drug that effects the central system which can lead to death Since the late 1900s there has been an increase in publicity about pregnant women who drink and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Rosenthal an emergency room physician in New York City maintains that alcohol can cause permanent physical and mental damage to a developing fetus Rosenthal 105 The type of damage produced by drinking depends on the fetuss stage of development The first trimester of pregnancy is devoted to the organization of the fetuss bones and organs while the second and third trimesters center on growth and maturation The brain develops throughout the nine-month period So we would predict physical malformations from heavy drinking in the first trimester
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