Alcohol News: Poisoning, Court Reporter With a Problem, Starbucks Liquor and a New Monitoring Product
Negative impact of alcohol abuse spreads far beyond the drinker themselves
There was an article in my local paper last month about a 15-year-old being taken to the hospital because of alcohol poisoning. We tend to forget, since Narcan has been making the news for its help in treating heroin overdoses, that young people are getting into trouble with alcohol, too. Alcohol poisoning isn’t just vomiting, or blacking out. The Mayo Clinic says that “Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to coma and death.”
People who drink to excess not only hurt themselves, they cause a boatload of misery for others. Productivity at work is often less than it should be, as just one example, and in once case, it wreaked havoc on a city’s legal system as well as people’s personal lives. In 2012 a court reporter disrupted countless court cases in New York City after developing a drinking problem. Several times when he was supposed to be transcribing testimony, he was simply writing “I hate my job” over and over, or he left many transcripts incomplete. Lawyers are holding “reconstruction hearings,” in some cases, but it’s not easy to fill in the gaps.
Imagine the legal hurdles and appeals!
Booze in Starbucks and a new breathalyzer tool
Did anyone besides me raise an eyebrow on hearing that Starbucks is serving liquor? Actually, the company is just expanding the offering to more stores; they’ve been “testing” the concept for some time now. I’m just wondering….Really? Is that necessary? Starbucks has a great brand. Do they really need to do this to compete? It’s along the same lines as serving liquor in theaters. Doesn’t it send the wrong message? I’d like to see SAMHSA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism weigh in. Interestingly, Starbucks shares rose 1.4 percent on the announcement.
Around the same time that Starbucks announced that news, Sentinel Offender Services was announcing a new alcohol monitoring device called Breath Alcohol/Real Time or BA/RT. The press release says, “Small, portable, and hand-held, BA/RT can discreetly be placed in a pocket or purse and alerts the participant through a beep when it is time to take a test.”
According to the press release, the device is given to those charged with DUI so that the legal system can monitor them without sending them to jail. People wearing these are on a “supervision plan,” according to the release. At first I thought this was a product for the problem drinkers’ use, so that they themselves could monitor their drinking and not get behind the wheel if they’d had too much. But I had to think about that. Of course it would be good if they stopped drinking while still sober before getting behind the wheel. But there’s no guarantee they WOULD stop if they’re a problem drinker, and wouldn’t it be something if they entered treatment for their addiction instead?