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What's in a blood alcohol level?
October 26th, 2011
05:50 PM ET

What's in a blood alcohol level?

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday recommended the legal limit for driving drunk be lowered from .08 blood-alcohol content to .05 in an effort to reduce alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, which kill about 10,000 people a year.

Your blood-alcohol level can vary depending on your age, weight, previous alcohol and drug experience and the type of alcohol being consumed.

"You can drink alcohol faster than you can remove it from your body and that's when your blood-alcohol level goes up," says Robert Pandina, Ph.D., and the director of the Center for Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes the body roughly one hour to metabolize a single drink but the definition of what constitutes a drink changes depending on the alcohol. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

"If you keep drinking alcohol, it's not going to get metabolized any faster just because you've consumed more of it," explains Pandina. "Metabolism happens at a fixed rate until all the alcohol is processed."

Pandina calculates that a woman weighing approximately 110 pounds would have to drink between 12 and 13 ounces of 80-proof liquor in an hour to reach a blood-alcohol level of 0.40.

"It's still a lot but it's far less than people may imagine," says Pandina.

A person may need medical attention with a blood-alcohol level under 0.2. Vital functions may start to shut down before someone reaches 0.25. Death is possible with a blood-alcohol level of 0.3. And that's without prior liver damage from previous alcohol or drug use. A person with a damaged liver is at higher risk for catastrophic or fatal alcohol poisoning because his or her  liver cannot effectively metabolize the alcohol.

"The message is very simply when you know someone has been drinking and drinking heavily, don't wait," says Pandina. "It's quite possible to revive individuals even at very high alcohol levels and keep them from having catastrophic effects."


soundoff (1,600 Responses)
  1. Bobby

    Alcohol has caused more problems than any drug worldwide, and it's legal and sold on TV..

    October 26, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James the elder

      Alcohol does not cause the problems. People who drink too much of it do.

      October 27, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • C. Smythe

      The ABUSE of alcohol perhaps . . . booze in a bottle is quite safe. It doesn't pour it's self . . .

      October 27, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • cwk

      Alcohol is not sold on tv. It is advertised on tv. Like lots of other things. Pizza is also not sold on tv, it is advertised on tv. Same with shampoo, pickup trucks, Viagra, and lots of other stuff.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Seriously! If alcohol were a new drug just emerging it would be illegal. Go to any ER on ANY night in ANY town and half the people in it will be there because of something alcohol related. But Marijuana is illegal. You NEVER see someone in the ER because of Marijuana intoxication. The duplicity is dumbfounding.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      It's the abuse of alcohol that causes problems, Bobby, not the drug itself. Al-Anon can help those who have family members with alcohol abuse problems. If that's you, call them. They're in the telephone book in the White Pages under the A's.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • Weed

      You guys nit picking Bobby's staement may be right if you are being literal. However his point is spot on as is Georges. It would be illegal if introduced today. It's political.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • David M

      But if alcohol can be addictive, then alcohol is partly to blame. Some people are genetically prone to become addicted to alcohol more than others. One person's experience is not everyone's experience. We do not live in a binary, black and white, either/or universe. Most things are not that simple. So people abusing alcohol are to blame, but alcohol itself can be addictive, and for some people, that addictiveness comes quicker, easier than it does for their peers.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • me

      and guns dont kill people, people kill people. am i the only one who got the original posters point? dumb drunks...

      October 27, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • Fugs

      You make a good point. I bet fewer people would have begged to differ if you'd made a similar point about heroin.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • CWebb

      You are absolutely correct, Bobby! Alcohol has caused more deaths and destruction that illegal drugs. Yet, alcohol is not classified as a drug. Imagine!

      October 27, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Jamor

      That wasn't his point - it was yours.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Tobacco contributes directly to 500,000 deaths every year yet it's legal.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • Madtown

      Bobby and George are right on the money. Alcohol, one of the more deadly drugs out there, legal and heavily marketed. What are the death rates for marijuana usage?

      October 27, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • Linsee Lohan

      lol, tried alcohol prohibition already, pot nerds. Go roll a fatty, turn on some Bob Marley, and remove yourself from society plz.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      You are right Bobby, this issue was where I first saw that it might be a good idea to question my government. Now after watching the police beat protesters down for speaking up against the corruption, I know its a good idea to question everything about my government. I have no doubt that the reason marijuana is illegal and alcohol isn't, is money. Both money to the government for confiscated marijuana, and money to the corporations in that they keep a very good alternative to many things off the market, and money to the growers/dealers who make a huge fortune off the fact that it is illegal.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • JayStewart

      How we fool our minds as a society. We love Alcohol. We won't give it up at any cost. Millions of people have beer, but no bread in their fridge. Prove me wrong. You won't. Even all the damn statistics show its bad, we fight a bs war on terror, while tens of thousands of innocent u.s. citizens die from drunk drivers. Gateway Drug: Alcohol. Most kids have access to it in their homes. Then if its not at ome, because they can't buy it, they resort to weed. Millions afected, while we kill abroad to secure resources for generation or two, we are killing our own generations. How ironic. Lets all drink to that.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • Zack

      You can have some to drink and not be drunk, but you can't only smoke some and not get stoned. See a difference?

      October 27, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • j

      Bobby had it right, no alcohol, no problems, all you people getting mad are part of the idiots that love to guzzle and get smashed so of COURSE you dont want to hear its the booze's fault! morons!

      October 27, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • reason

      ur right on Bobby,,,,,,don't listen to these bunch of bloated drunks

      October 27, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      The more you ban something, the more problem you will get.... how do you stop people from drinking? Price... I come from a country where they taxed alcohol through the roof, so you can get a can of beer for $3.20. Alcohol is sold everywhere, and even near schools, but it's so expensive that kids cannot afford to buy them. They also sell "beer" without alcohol, but they're real cheap. So people drink all these and especially kids... they don't find them tasty, and they give up (without getting high and before it's too late). It may be a cultural thing though.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • @ James the Elder

      Alcohol causes lots of problems; are you stupid?

      October 27, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Righton

      I'm not pro legalized mary jane, but how many times have you heard of someone beating their wife/girlfriend/kids while being high? Alcohol, in my opinion, is one of the worst drugs out there, but it makes a the government a lot of money.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      I love all the literal nit-picking that it wasnt' alcohol, it's the ABUSE of alcohol, it's not the gun, it's the ABUSE of guns, it's not the cigarettes, it's the ABUSE of cigarettes.

      My question to that crowd is this: if it's not the product, but the ABUSE of the product, why have some products been made illegal? Shouldn't we be able to use anything in moderation as long as we don't abuse it, from marijuana to homemade alcohol?

      October 27, 2011 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • hyparistocrat

      hey zack, what teenagers do you know drink alcohol for the taste. Teenagers binge drink more than anyother demographic. They do it to get drunk.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica, NJ

      Bobby, You & George are right. As a Nurse at least one third of my patients health problems that were caused by alcohol but not one of them had problems caused by pot. Pot even helped quite a few, hence medical marijuana.

      Alcohol would be illegal if invented today and clearly adds billions of dollars to the cost of health care each year while marijuana actually helps patients.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
  2. betsythegreat

    What a dumb story. It didn't teach me anything. It sounds like any person on the street telling me how alcohol affects people. HELLO?!?!

    October 26, 2011 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • recovering ex drinker.rip amy

      Im not a nurse or such, but my very basic laymans understanding is that Amy was going though a binge drinking stage -very dangerous,no tolerance.
      Alcohol poisoning- like a drug overdose- shuts down yr brain then breathing.
      Yr blood is poisoned by the liquor and you pass out.(liquor is very fancy$ petrol basically)
      Yr lungs cant breathe due to poison in body.
      Amy had bad bad lungs too.Might of attributed to death??
      No oxygen-No life.(depressed breathing from lack of consciousness-life stops...)
      Gross i know .If i didnt have friends to wake me up in my teens, id be dead too.
      If u want proper tec answer search google or wiki- alcohol poisoning/death.
      p.s description-"death by misadventure" makes it sound like she was on a skiing holiday!-stupid.
      My sincere condolences to the thousands upon thousands of parents,siblings etc who have lost teenage children to binge drinking- though their death or braindamage.
      (alcohol fact: last year scottish companies made 4.7 billion dollars from whisky sales/exports -i.e Johnnie Walker )

      October 27, 2011 at 04:35 | Report abuse |
    • Sconnie

      Alcohol fact #2: It tastes good.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      You're the dope that read it.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
  3. JP Myers

    This article does not say anything about "How you die from drinking". I clicked on this to read an article about how you die form drinking. This article is about alcohol levels. I want to know how you die from drinking, I think that would be interesting.

    October 26, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thinquer

      Toxic level of alcohol in your blood poison you.

      October 26, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      You drink too much, your vital organs shut down, and you die. It's not rocket science.

      October 27, 2011 at 00:49 | Report abuse |
    • DirtyNicole

      Nicole, it might not be rocket science, but your explanation is something I would expect from a 5th grader. You could even pass for one of those religious nuts who explains everything simply as "god did it". Just because you're happy being a dunce bag with your complete lack of curiousity doesn't mean that other people don't want to read and expand their mind. The article could have gone into further detail, like why too much alcohol in your blood causes organs to shut down on a cellular level.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      You die because there is a buffer in your blood to maintain the pH level within an extremely narrow band. The alcohol in your system changes the pH. Once you have enough alcohol in your blood the pH changes so that normal vital functions can no longer happen (e.g. chemical reactions in cells than require a certain pH to happen spontaneously). My wife is a doctor.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Sorry, forgot to finish my thought. Eventually it shuts down nerve signals that control vital functions and that is what ends up killing you.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • monah_ltx

      The article headline was misleading. Alcohol poisoning is just ONE of the ways a person dies from alcohol. Since the article dealt only with alcohol poisoning the headline should have read "How people die from alcohol poisoning."

      October 27, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  4. Thinquer

    Huffington article, worth a look. Maybe now the govt will do to alcohol what it has done to tobacco. Finally when it hits the bottom line it becomes important. Well, anyway... finally.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/excessive-alcohol-consumption-us-economy-billion_n_1017223.html

    October 26, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Hyphy462

    Did you read it??
    "But the effects of alcohol poisoning can be felt long before a person reaches that point. A person may need medical attention with a blood-alcohol level under 0.2. Vital functions may start to shut down before someone reaches 0.25. Death is possible with a blood-alcohol level of 0.3. And that's without prior liver damage from previous alcohol or drug use. A person with a damaged liver is at higher risk for catastrophic or fatal alcohol poisoning because his or her liver cannot effectively metabolize the alcohol."
    Alcohol poisons you; shuts down vital functions when you overload your body with more alcohol than your body can metabolize & then you die. Learn reading comprehension! By the way it kills you many other ways too. If you don't die from alcohol poisoning & continue to drink heavily you WILL get (& maybe die from) either diabetes, liver disease, pancreatic diseases & since it IS a carcinogen various forms of cancer such as: stomach, esophageal, mouth, liver, pancreatic etc.. Sounds fun, Drink up!

    October 26, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. melody

    i d0nt thnk thrs a point n ths article. people jus being nosie

    October 26, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. vernelle burkins

    It make sense 2 me u must be drunk been there done that

    October 26, 2011 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ana

    "Vital functions may start to shut down.." Really? That sounds very scientifically.

    October 26, 2011 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Breathing is a vital function, Ana. When breathing stops death follows soon after. Alcohol toxicity causes breathing to stop.

      October 27, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
  9. David crandall

    Alcohol is a poison. I would go unconcious before being able to drink enough to kill myself.

    October 26, 2011 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      Not necessarily, Mr Crandall. If you depend on that to save you, you're at risk for death by alcohol poisoning. Once unconsciousness occurs the alcohol level in your bloodstream continues to rise until your breathing stops or you vomit and asphyxiate from aspiration (breathe in the vomit and choke to death). One or both of these will kill you.

      October 27, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
  10. jack

    If she had died from pot there would be worldwide, moral outrage and a call for more Pot War. But when it's alco-drug overdose no call for Alco War. Hypocrites. You can't have it both ways. Shows the Pot War is a a hypocritical fraud.

    October 26, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. joseph

    i like that one jack,hahha yea pot would never cause you to die, lol if you overdose pot you just will sleep great and wake up and eat up all your snacks lol. its so true but what can we do but, say o well and lite up fatty for those we have lost to govt. legal drugs,.. GOD BLESS ARE ARMED FORCES

    October 26, 2011 at 23:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. rip amy darling

    Vital functions like consciousness go first.
    n.b For the non binge drinkers reading this ,she wouldnt of felt the physical pain of dying,cos she wouldve passed out first.
    Alot of people though,wake up in hospital with alcohol poisoning induced brain damage etc frm such excessive drinking.
    Alot of people also die from alcohol posioning by choking on their own vomit while semi-conscious.
    (is rockstars common way of dying,i.e bon scott-acdc.the free booze rider dosent help)

    sadly people that drink that much are mostly heavily traumatized& drink to forget.
    i call it "passout drinking".sadly sometimes they dont wake up like dear,lost amy.(couldnt her parents of sectioned her??)
    i was luckier than amy.
    .at my privateschool seniors year, 1990,there was a sad passout binge drinking weekend culture amongst my friends.
    occasionally we had to have older girlfriends stick their fingers down me& friends semiconscious throats to make us vomit up the alcohol we had glugged down...gross i know.. Im not drinking now

    October 27, 2011 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreuxe

      FYI, the terms are 'blackout' and 'alcohol coma,' Amy Darling.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
  13. sam

    And just think about all the other People who get killed,murdered,sick,raped,abused,By the USE of this CONDONED POISON,And Just think about what the use of this POISON costs society for its USE Like the $ 280 Billion a year in Illness,diseases,death,accidents,murders,rapes,incest,child and spousal abuses,court costs,incarceration when their caught on the highways stoned out of their minds,and what do they do about it ? Advertise it,Condone it,Allow it to be served around children,and BAN SMOKING..........And it never ever ever gets sued..........Upside Down AMERICA

    October 27, 2011 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leigh Ann

      Yes, that is something that gets overlooked and it shouldn't. My ex-husband didn't drink because his father was an abusive alcoholic. Unfortunately, my ex inherited the behaviors that go with drinking. He wasn't abusive, but he wasn't present either. The fallout from alcohol abusive is significant and we really can't afford to turn away any longer. People have to take a stand and say enough on addictions in general.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • beentheredonethat

      The U.S. tried to ban alcohol in the 1920s... it was called Prohibition, but the ban failed miserably. If you are a US citizen, how could you not know this?

      October 27, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Leigh Ann, it sounds like your ex was a 'dry drunk.' They can be unpleasant and dangerous. The only difference between a dry drunk and an alcoholic is the dry drunk doesn't drink alcohol. George Bush, 'W', is an example of a dry drunk.

      Run fast, run far.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • hyparistocrat

      dry drunk isnt something that cant be helped. dont tell someone to run before trying to help the person they love

      October 27, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Hyparistocrat, you're referring to co-dependence. There are programs for that, too. A dry drunk can only help themselves when they admit they have a problem. It's exactly like being a drunk or any other addict.

      No one can fix them, not even someone who loves them.

      October 27, 2011 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
  14. GG

    Does spelling and grammar count? You all sound drunk!!

    October 27, 2011 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Irony

      Do* ... how delightfully ironic.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • abcde

      Unbelievable.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
    • ExTexan

      Amen GG – you're so right! My first belly laugh in a month – thanks!

      October 27, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • @ GG

      Is that all you have to say? Goose stepping for grammar Nazis? Get a life loser.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
  15. Free of alcohol

    The point is simply this, you drink you die. i agree smoking is just as deadly, just slower but, that didn't stop the govrnmnt from taxing it to the hilt! What's the difference? gosh, what's a state dinner without the drunken sot? no one gives a dammn. until one of these special interest groups gets heavy duty lobbying power,no change will come.

    October 27, 2011 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. biggins08

    So I ask once again why is marijuana illegal (you can't OD on MJ) but alcohol is legal (which of course everyone knows you can easily drink yourself to death)? I will never understand why our society continues to promote the use of dangerous drugs like alcohol, while demonizing safer drugs like marijuana....

    October 27, 2011 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • .

      because pot was considered the drug of minorities and the US hates brown people. remember, nothing in the US gov't is ever justified by science or logic.

      October 27, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • LadyDyeAgnostic

      Because most people can't or won't make their own alcohol...but anybody can grow a weed plant.
      (That,and the government can't tax you on what it doesn't know about).

      October 27, 2011 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • hyparistocrat

      Thats wrong. Most people can make their own alcohol if they had the insentive. Its actually a lot easier and quicker than growing pot. People in jail can make alcohol so why couldnt someone do it with many more resources at home?

      October 27, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
  17. S_

    Almost every convince store at fuel stations in California had wine for sale, but hardly any of them had a carton of milk. I guess the "report drinking and driving" signs everywhere don't include consumption of wine.

    October 27, 2011 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Caliboss

    @GG.I was just thinking the same thing. Does spelling and grammar count? The skill level here rises to the level of stupid and lazy. You could at least use a spell check. That is if you know how.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Irony2

      As my counterpart above said: Do*

      October 27, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
  19. Diana

    Ok this might be gross but lucky for me, my body forces me to throw up if I've had too much alcohol to drink.... I wonder if some people lack that reaction? I mean with Amy Winehouse, how could you drink a whole handle of vodka and not throw up once??

    Yes it's gross but I know my body is looking out for me. *pats self on the back*

    October 27, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rgill

      Look up "asian flush" on the net. That might be what you have. It's a genetic condition most common in people of asian descent, but others can have it too. Missing enzyme in a person's metabolism causes alcohol to be even more toxic, so people with the condition vomit, sweat, develop a flush etc. as the body tries to eliminate the alcohol.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
  20. Sc

    If you take a shot every time this article says "alcohol" you might die.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Expdr

      I think I may have to try.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  21. keith

    so why is alcohol legal but marijuana's not? makes no sense at all.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • 1920s called

      I take it you've never heard of prohibition? You and several other idiots here apparently.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
    • hyparistocrat

      hey 1920s pot is prohibited today. Notice all the drug running and crime due to pot? how smart can you be?

      October 27, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  22. C. Smythe

    Good article, however what is 80 proof? we buy it as a percentage – generally 40% for vodka, so poor drug dependent Amy consumed 3 bottles of 40% vodka? A kid I know chugged a 26 oz bottle of whiskey and they had to pump his stomach . . . I am sad for Amy.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Proof

      Proof is the amount of alcohol in the drink. Grain alcohol is 200proof. That means it's all ethanol; delicious, and nutritious.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      proof divided by 2 = percent alcohol

      October 27, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
  23. Michelle

    I didn't know men have more fluid in their bodies than women. Is it any surprise that Amy died of alcohol?

    October 27, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. soooooo

    I'll drink to that!!!! lol

    October 27, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dan

    Booze is the biggest problem. It's legal. And Co. make huge money on it. Just legalize Pot and Coke and let the person decide just like booze. But the the Govt wouldn't be able to lock up everyone and make a profit the stocks to build more prisons. It's all a big scam. Cheney and Bush have stock in prisons.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kkdoe

      Police cannot enforce the legal use of those drugs: farming for production/ personal, and what about driving under the influence of these drugs? I just wish people had a reasonable "stop" button when they had enough, and were responsible before and after consumption.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
  26. AJ

    Alcohol kills and maims and is illegal. Pot kills no one and is a Class 1 drug violation. Makes sense.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • erer

      If alcohol were illegal, then we would not have liquor stores.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  27. sbelle3072

    My sister had been drinking since we were about 15. Even in my partying years at about 20 or so, I didn't drink as much as she did. She just pounded the drinks! In May, at 39, she was found dead. Toxicology reports state that her blood alcohol level was .433. She had been dead for HOURS before she was found. She drank herself to death. At .35 a person is comatose. Remember, the legal limit is .08. What a terrible way to waste your life.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. d261

    I'm sotally Tober!

    October 27, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. KLP

    This article doesn't mention it, but I've heard it said in the media that no 'illegal' drugs were found in her system. No ILLEGAL drugs. Now, I personally know of more folks who have been killed by legal drugs such as alcohol, nicotine and prescription meds than I care to mention...but never once have I heard of anyone dying of smoking refer...not that I've not seen it stunt growth and take away ambition...but weed has never killed anyone that I've known. I resent it being lumped in with cocaine and heroine, where I think most legal drugs should be. Just sayin'.

    October 27, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Abraxas

    Drinking yourself to death is the closest a human being can come to death by sheer stupidity.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Weed

      No doubt about that. Unfortuantley we live in a world full of stupid people eh!

      October 27, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Darwin

      Ever heard of the Darwin awards???

      October 27, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse |
  31. FutureMD

    For those wondering how alcohol actually kills you from a more biologic perspective, I'll do the best I can to explain in a way that's still simple to understand. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, it works on GABA receptors (receptors that send inhibitory signals, signals that tell the post-synaptic neuron, or the next neuron in the chain, not to fire) to keep the receptor open longer, allowing further inhibition of the post-synaptic neuron. This basically leads to reduced brain function, and, in severe cases, leads to respiratory depression (the person stops breathing) and you can figure out what happens from there. Another mechanism is that, because of the CNS depression, you have reduced cough and gag reflexes, and alcohol intoxication causes vomiting (increased acetaldehyde, the direct metabolic product of alcohol, in the blood, which causes nausea and flushing) . So, if you vomit into your airway, and you have reduced cough and gag reflexes, you have no way of getting it out, and you basically choke to death. Hope that's of some interest to somebody.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harvey

      You might want to mention acetaldehyde is very similar to embalming fluid and it has the same effect on the body.

      October 27, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  32. Sam

    My dad tried to commit suicide a couple of years ago. He drank 750ml of vodka pretty much in less than 5 minutes (according to him). My mom came back from work and found him spread across the couch like an old throw rug, barely breathing and foaming around his mouth. She couldn't find the empty bottle right away so she din't know what was happening until he was taken to the hospital and had his bloodwork done. I think he had just over .5 blood-alcohol level. Normally it would have taken him about a year to drink this much. Turns out he had problems at work that he kept to himself. Go figure. He fully recovered though. So that's good.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RRMON

    "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"-The door man

    October 27, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Weed

      You may want to credit Don Henley for the quote Bub.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  34. Weed

    Let's be clear. Alcohol is poison. When we drink we are ingesting poison. There is no argument to that. While abuse is the final straw to alcohol poisening, we absolutely can blame the poison as well.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. debbie

    alcohol is legal, nicotine is legal, both kill, (yes people can die from nicotine overdose, esp small kids) but I've never heard of anyone dying from a marijuana overdose, but it's illegal, go figure.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Weed

      So true Debbie. Not to mention the government could get out of debt taxing legalized buds. Grass Masters fine marijuana cigarettes.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • Weed

      Not to mention the upswing in pizza deliver for those with the munchies. As you can see it all aroung good for the economy.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
  36. BobZemko

    Weak, weak people . . . .

    October 27, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. legalize the right stuf

    Alochol kills millions every year, Marijuana has 0 deaths but Alcohol and cigaretes (cancer sticks) are legal because they can not be homemade very easily which means companies can sell and make profit but because Marijuana can be homegrown and many corporations stand not to make much money off of it, then it has to be illegal and put more focus on the illegal use so that these Alcohol and Tobacco companies can continue to make a profit for there much hazardous product. Not to mention the millions behind bars for the use or selling of marijuana whiel we have molesters and murderers on the streets, it is a crazy backwards world we live in that is all about green and greed.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mo

      really? marijuana has ZERO deaths? just because you can attribute a pot smoker's death to the cigarettes he smokes doesn't mean pot had nothing to do with it. you are SUCKING SMOKE into your lungs, unfiltered, and somehow that's healthy for you?

      have another toke.

      October 27, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • hemp

      The marijuana plant can be used for so much more than altering your state of consciousness. You all have gone so far from the subject of alcohol. If you want marijuana to be legal, then go vote, protest and write your senators.

      October 27, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
  38. luvsfuzzysweaters

    My brother a highly respected doctor, drank himself to death this past March at the young age of 61.
    His struggles over the years caused pain and suffering to everyone. He destroyed his career and his marriage.
    We had him in treatment seven times. What frustrated me the most was hope hospitals would not say he was a drunk. They would treat his alcohol symptoms but never once would the health care industry say his issues were the result of his drinking. This is a public health issue but until the health care industry begins to diagnose people like my dear brother for the addiction we will never know the real metrics involved in this deadly disease.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Antonio Montana

    Alcohol doesn't kill people. People get killed because they voluntarily inhale mass consumptions.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Ted Wiinslow

    This article still didn't really explain how one dies from alcohol or alcohol poisoning. Much detail and information is lacking. Article doesn't live up to headline. CNN is getting to be like FOX.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jay

    How we fool our minds as a society. We love Alcohol. We won't give it up at any cost. Millions of people have beer, but no bread in their fridge. Prove me wrong. You won't. Even all the damn statistics show its bad, we fight a bs war on terror, while tens of thousands of innocent u.s. citizens die from drunk drivers. Gateway Drug: Alcohol. Most kids have access to it in their homes. Then if its not at ome, because they can't buy it, they resort to weed. Millions afected, while we kill abroad to secure resources for generation or two, we are killing our own generations. How ironic. Lets all drink to that.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jim777

    Like Homer Simpson says,"It is the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems"
    🙂

    October 27, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jay Stewart

    How we fool our minds as a society. We love Alcohol. We won't give it up at any cost. Millions of people have beer, but no bread in their fridge. Prove me wrong. You won't. Even all the damn statistics show its bad, we fight a bs war on terror, while tens of thousands of innocent u.s. citizens die from drunk drivers. Gateway Drug: Alcohol. Most kids have access to it in their homes. Then if its not at ome, because they can't buy it, they resort to weed. Millions afected, while we kill abroad to secure resources for generation or two, we are killing our own generations. How ironic. Lets all drink to that.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jay Stewart Jr.

    How we fool our minds as a society. We love Alcohol. We won't give it up at any cost. Millions of people have beer, but no bread in their fridge. Prove me wrong. You won't. Even all the damn statistics show its bad, we fight a bs war on terror, while tens of thousands of innocent u.s. citizens die from drunk drivers. Gateway Drug: Alcohol. Most kids have access to it in their homes. Then if its not at ome, because they can't buy it, they resort to weed. Millions afected, while we kill abroad to secure resources for generation or two, we are killing our own generations. How ironic. Lets all drink to that.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Trish ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG , a friend of mine is fighting for her life... Thanks

    October 27, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby

      Maybe this will help... *poot*

      October 27, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
  46. Michele R.

    I recognize many out there will say it was personal stupidity or lack of control but as someone who drank excessively for decades before getting sober I just need to say it. You reach a point where it consumes you, everything about your day and relationships is about getting (hiding) that next drink in order to function. And many of us are very high functioning so you continue to "succeed," not the wino bag lady people think of when they imagine a drunk. I went to an office everyday, completed significant, important work while consuming a liquid breakfast and lunch. I'm 5'4", 125 lbs and easily drank 3 or 4 bottles of good wine every day. After awhile the only food you eat is what you must with people to pull off public events (along with Altoids). Maybe genetically prone, maybe self-medication but the gift is alcoholics can keep their disease – and make no mistake, addiction is – in check with constant work and building a network of sober individuals. There is no cure or recovery but one is in recovery. A fabulous place to be once you emerge from the other side.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Michele R.

    Alcohol addiction is by no stretch of the imagination "voluntary."

    October 27, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Lewis

    When people are sad or depressed they drink more and you can obtain it any where. Self medication and it is cheaper than therapy. It has become a way of the times and this is sad.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. JOE M.

    If booze was illegal and marijuana was legal, she would still be alive...I've never heard of anybody dying of canabis poisoning..

    October 27, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • areukidding

      Really, Joe M?(11:48) Your reasoning doesn't make sense. Pot is illegal but all you pot heads on here are still smoking it anytime you can get away with it. What makes you think that if alchol were illegal Amy, or anyone else for that matter, wouldn't drink it anyway and still die from it?

      October 27, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
  50. ShutUpHipp

    I had a definite problem with drinking. I didn't drink often, but when I did, I really tied one on. I can recall a couple of times, in retrospect, that I suffered from alcohol poisoning. I finally stopped when I began realizing that my friends were more worried and disgusted by my drinking habits than amused. I've only gone about 3 weeks now without alcohol, which wasn't uncommon before (I've gone months without drinking just because I didn't feel like it), but my plan is to not drink again. I've proven that I can drink in moderation, but it spirals out of control much too easily. I feel like avoiding it altogether is the best choice for me.

    October 27, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.