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Alcohol is a socially acceptable legal drug that is consumed by the majority of Americans without problems to themselves or others Milgram xiii Misuse of alcohol can lead to alcoholism one of the most widespread and complex problems in America The reasons some people become dependent on alcohol and others do not are unknown Many health problems are associated with chronic alcohol abuse including damage to the liver brain or central nervous system Alcohol is probably the most widely used recreational drug in the world The production of alcohol is the result of the fermentation of plant products such as fruit grains Gin Vodka Whiskey and other hard liquors require a further process known as distillation The active chemical ingredient in beer wine and other alcoholic beverages is ethyl alcohol Ethyl alcohol is a potentially addictive drug and a depressant of the central nervous system Kestler 6 Alcohol acts as a sedative and as an anesthetic reducing nerve transmissions and impulses to the central nervous system This depresses mental motor and vital functions such as pulse rate respiration and blood pressure Kestler 6 The body can absorb alcohol very quickly approximately 20 goes directly into the blood stream from the stomach the rest enters the body through the small intestine Moments after alcohol enters the blood stream it reaches the Cerebral Cortex the part of the brain responsible for judgement The areas of the brain controlling caution and self control are effected first so most people feel more relaxed Extremely large doses of alcohol may result in coma or death Knox 42 Intoxication varies greatly from one person to the next depending on hisher blood alcohol level The speed of consumption can cause the blood alcohol level to rise Other factors including body weight emotional state tolerance to alcohol amount of time over which drinking takes place and the amount of food in the stomach can also influence the blood alcohol level
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