Saturday, October 26, 2013

Alcohol use creeps upward when Halloween falls closer to weekend

Spirits, of the alcohol type, are used more frequently when the spirits, of the ghostly type, are out on All Hallows' Eve according to an Oct. 25 report from Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS). What's even spookier is that the company monitors compliance for those ordered by courts to remain sober or face potential jail time.
AMS found that criminal offenders and those with pending cases who have their freedom only due to intense monitoring for absolute sobriety violated that condition around Halloween. Drinking violations rise nearly 30 percent when Halloween takes place on Friday or Saturday, compared to just five percent when it happens on a Monday.
This year the holiday falls on Thursday, and drinking rates are expected to rise approximately 25 percent. Drinking during the weekend before Halloween also is expected to jump by the same percentage.
AMS spokesperson Lou Sugo notes for these individuals monitored by his company's electronic anklet every 30 minutes, drinking is a violation, and the consequence often is arrest and jail, making the increase especially startling. "These individuals know they're going to be caught and face consequences. You can imagine the rate of drinking for those who aren't being monitored."
The study looked at data from more than 305,000 offenders monitored since 2003. Many monitored with the anklet are alcohol abusers or have the disease of alcoholism and have been charged with driving while intoxicated.
The AMS statistics mate up with data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency reports more than half of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween resulted from an alcohol-related crash. That's up from one-third of all accidents throughout the rest of the year. NHTSA is publicizing the data as part of their ongoing Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over awareness campaign. Officials caution that sobriety checkpoints will be prominent on Halloween, which has become one of the deadliest days of the year for drunk driving.
Sugo adds, "Drunk people generally make poor decisions, and deciding to get behind the wheel of a car is just one of the potential issues," he adds. Additional data compiled for the 2013 book Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud shows:
  • Two hospital admissions each minute are attributable to alcohol directly, a 65 percent increase over five years
  • 22 percent of the 12 million home-accident injuries in 2012 were alcohol-related
  • 58 percent of fire fatalities have alcohol in their systems, which presumably kept them from fleeing safely
  • 45 percent of drownings are alcohol-related
  • 15.5 percent of occupational injuries are alcohol-related
  • 76 percent of incarcerated men and women claim to have been under the influence while committing their offenses
  • 56 percent of assault victims have alcohol in their bodies
  • A drinker is at a two-and-a-half-times greater risk of a violent death
-- from (see full article)

Also, please check out the author interview with Scott Stevens on "All That's Written" 10/11/13