Matters of Attention for Drinking Alcohol


The contents of lecture is coresponding to a handout either Japanese or English.


Page1  Introduction

My name is Katsutoshi Konuma, from the Social Environment Promotion Division of Asahi Breweries Ltd. As one of Mother Natures blessings, alcoholic beverages have enriched peoples lives and relationships. Alcoholic beverages of various types made in various ways have been developed all over the world. They powerfully evoke the climates and cultures of their home countries and have come to be widely appreciated in other countries as well. In this sense, alcohol could be said to represent a cultural asset that is common to all mankind. On the other hand, however, there is also a downside to alcohol, in that inappropriate consumption can damage the mind and body, and give rise to incidents and accidents. Such misfortunes could be said to be caused by a lack of proper awareness about alcohol. Once you are at university, getting together with friends will probably involve drinking alcohol. This will be discussed here—however, ignorance of the right way to handle alcohol could lead to you or your friends losing your lives, due to binge-drinking or similar alcohol abuse. Sadly, such misfortunes occur every year, throughout the country. To avoid repeating the same mistakes, the minimum necessary information that you should know will be set out here.


Page2  The uses of alcohol

First, consider the uses of alcohol. Alcohol has physical and social effects. One of the physical effects is to improve the circulation. It releases tension and relieves stress. As for its social uses, since time immemorial alcohol has been an inherent part of human culture, being featured, for example, in celebrations and festivals. Alcohol is used in Shinto rituals and ceremonial occasions. It can also serve as an effective social tool.


Page3  The harmful effects of alcohol

However, the reality is that while there are benefits to alcohol, the inappropriate consumption of alcohol also has harmful effects. There are a variety of physical and social effects; however, in terms of physical effects, the most striking is the damage that alcohol can cause to the bodys various internal organs.


Page4  Damage to liver

When a person consumes alcohol in large quantities over a long period of time, as the alcohol metabolizes in the liver, neutral fats accumulate and liver damage such as hepatic cirrhosis is caused.




Page5  The harmful effects of alcohol

In addition, damage to organs throughout the entire body, such as the bowels, the digestive system, the secondary organ system, and the brain can emerge. There is also the issue of alcohol dependence. The social effects of alcohol include motoring accidents, crime, suicide, alcohol dependence and the expense of the medical costs incurred for the treatment that it requires, and decline in work productivity.


  The level of alcohol in the blood

What, then, is the nature of the drunkenness that you experience when you drink alcohol? Drunkenness occurs as a result of alcohol numbing the brain. Although the effects differ from one individual to another, the higher the level of alcohol in the blood, the more drunk a person becomes. For example, drinking one large bottle of beer will give the individual a so-called beer buzz, at which point he/she will feel cheerful and invigorated. Drinking two large bottles of beer will cause the individual to get slightly tipsy. After drinking three bottles of beer, however, the individual begins to become intoxicated, and both mental and physical problems can occur. The individual loses his/her inhibitions and is unsteady on his/her feet. Further drinking will cause the individual to become intoxicated and then uncontrollably inebriated—characterized by tottering, vomiting, inability to stand straight, and slurred speech. After this, the individual may lapse into a drunken stupor, which can occasionally result in death. If handled properly, alcohol enriches lives and human relationships; however, inappropriate consumption must be avoided at all costs.


Page6  What kind of drinking creates problems?

What kind of drinking creates problems? The most obvious answer to this is underage drinking. A minors breakdown enzymes do not act very strongly, and alcohol itself can have detrimental effects on a minor, such as impeding growth and hindering the functioning of the sexual glands. Obviously, it is also illegal for people under 20 years old to drink alcohol. Underage drinking is prohibited. Drinking alcohol is for people aged 20 and above. Minors must not drink alcohol—and people must not make minors around them drink alcohol. Next comes drinking and driving. As well as being illegal, driving while drunk and driving under the influence of alcohol are extremely dangerous actions and can easily cause accidents. Alcohol-related accidents come at too high a price—both for the perpetrator and the victims. Never drink and drive. According to stricter regulations introduced in September 2007, fellow passengers who urge an individual to drink alcohol, knowing that he/she will be driving, can also be penalized. Never make someone drink alcohol if you know that he/she will be driving or that he/she even may be driving. Since you can also be imprisoned for up to 20 years for causing bodily injury or death by driving dangerously, you could be throwing away your entire life by choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol. You probably know that you must not make women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies drink alcohol. When pregnant women drink alcohol, this can result in their children exhibiting birth defects, such as peculiarities in the shape of the face, delayed development, or damage to the central nervous system. Alcohol can also enter the body of a suckling baby through its mothers milk while the mother is breast-feeding. Do not encourage women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies to drink alcohol.


Page7  What kind of drinking creates problems?

The fourth problem area is excessive drinking. Continuing excessive drinking can lead to alcoholism. Alcoholism is a psychological and physical disease that can affect anyone who drinks alcohol—not just roaring drunks or people who are weak-willed. If an individual continues to drink excessively for a long period of time, he/she develops a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol, and cannot go without drinking. An additional major problem is that an uncontrollable compulsion to drink alcohol—irrespective of time and place—can lead people to resort to violent behavior. The disease of alcoholism is characterized by the loss of a persons ability to control his drinking. If this illness becomes serious, the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, shaking of the hands and feet, and hallucinations when the alcohol works its way out of his/her system. To curb this, the individual will drink even more alcohol, so that eventually alcohol will affect his/her entire body and he/she will find it difficult to lead a normal life.


Page8  What kind of drinking creates problems?

The problem that everyone should most beware of is binge-drinking. Did you know that young people die from binge-drinking every year? Drinking a large quantity of alcohol within a short period of time is extremely dangerous. When a person binge-drinks, the level of alcohol in his/her blood will increase drastically; he/she will skip the tipsiness stage, with its feelings of elation, and the intoxication stage, and sink straight into the dead-drunk stage or lapse into a coma. At this stage, there is the danger of breathing difficulties and other problems, and in the worst case the person may die. It is extremely dangerous to engage in casual binge-drinking, and in particular to force someone who by nature cannot hold his/her liquor to binge drink. Binge-drinking is of course dangerous even for people who can hold their liquor. It is said that it takes a drinker approximately one hour to metabolize the alcohol in a single glass of beer—although this will vary according to body weight. There are some people who drink alcohol to a dangerous extent because they feel that they can hold their liquor. Please remember that forcing someone to binge drink is a violation of his/her human rights. Never do this. There are also various old wives tales going around about binge-drinking and acute alcohol poisoning, and you will probably have heard some of these: You can binge drink for ages without getting dead drunk, as long as you vomit, If you can hold your liquor, you can drink as much as you like without suffering acute alcohol poisoning, or Eating dairy products or turmeric, or drinking a health drink beforehand prevents acute alcohol poisoning and hangovers. These are total fallacies. Please be fully aware that anyone who drinks too much alcohol puts themselves at risk and may become dead drunk or suffer acute alcohol poisoning.


Page9  Some precautions that you should take at parties

So far I have been explaining the problematical aspects of alcohol; however, as university students you will probably come into contact with alcohol frequently at parties. Here are some precautions that you should take at parties. You should take great care. Consideration must be shown to people who cannot drink alcohol. The person in charge of running the party or event needs to pay particular attention to this. Livening up the party with alcohol will lead to a lot of drinking. As a consequence, the chance of someone suffering acute alcohol poisoning will increase. To take the attitude that well be all right is to invite an unexpected tragedy. You cannot assume that Even if someone gets completely smashed, everything will work out in the end. Someone will probably take care of them. You absolutely must not create an atmosphere in which people are put under pressure to follow traditional ways of drinking or pressured by hierarchical relationships, or in which there is the tacit suggestion that a younger student cannot refuse a drink from his/her seniors. Parties need a monitor present who can keep an objective eye on the drinking. If you drink alcohol when your body is tired, for example, after a work-out or at a training camp, you will get drunk more quickly than usual. You must ensure that your schedule is not too rushed. When clubs include students from other universities as well, their drinking manners must also be brought into line. In addition, you must never exercise or take a bath after drinking alcohol. It is also dangerous to swim in the sea while drinking alcohol. If you exercise after drinking, your circulation will speed up and you will immediately feel drunk. This could cause you to lose your sense of balance, and consequently, lead to an unexpected accident. In addition, you must absolutely never take a bath after drinking alcohol. Your blood pressure will rise and you will be at risk in a number of ways—for example, you may suffer a stroke or fall asleep in the bathtub and drown.




Page10  Have you ever heard " Alcohol harassment "?

Alcohol harassment is known for short as aru-hara in Japan. Have you ever heard this term? It refers to alcohol-related violation of peoples human rights, and some people have even died after being forced to drink. What kinds of behavior fall into the category aru-hara?


Page11  Alcohol harassment

One example would be forcing people to drink alcohol. This involves hounding people into situations where they are forced to drink by applying psychological pressure. This may be in the form of hierarchical relationships, club traditions, peer pressure or drinking games. A second type of behavior would be making people binge drink. This may include the use of binge-drinking, speed-drinking, or speed-drinking competitions to liven up a party. A third type of behavior would be to intentionally get someone totally inebriated. Drinking parties that are designed to get people totally inebriated may even amount to assault. It is said that in the most extreme cases special crash rooms or bags and buckets for use when vomiting are provided. A fourth example would be failure to show consideration for people who do not drink alcohol. This might involve encouraging someone to drink alcohol irrespective of his/her physical characteristics or inclination, failing to provide any non-alcoholic drinks at a party, or ridiculing or insulting someone for not being able to drink. A fifth type of behavior would include causing drunken disturbances, drunken quarreling, use of bad language, violence, sexual harassment, and other annoying behavior. Please avoid engaging in alcohol harassment at all costs. This concludes the statement on binge-drinking. Now here are some statistics provided by the Tokyo Fire Department.


Page12  The varying number of people with acute alcohol poisoning that were transported to hospitals (over the past five years)

The following statistics show the varying number of people with acute alcohol poisoning that were transported to hospitals over the past five years. For example, across Japan in 2007, more than 12,000 people were taken to the hospital by ambulance.


Page13  The varying number of people with acute alcohol poisoning that were transported to hospitals (a monthly basis)

How does this break down on a monthly basis? It can be seen that the highest figures are for December, with its glut of Christmas and year-end parties. Regarding university students, the most cases of acute alcohol poisoning are during the period in April when welcome parties for freshmen are held, and during vacation periods (such as Golden Week or the summer break) when club or seminar group camps are held. All university students—in particular club organizers and senior students—must take proper care not to force freshmen or junior students to drink to excess. Once again, we would like to emphasize the importance of never making freshmen drink alcohol if they are under 20 years old.


Page14  The varying number of people with acute alcohol poisoning that were transported to hospitals (age group)

When the statistics are broken down by age group, striking trends emerge, however with the figures for people under 20 being taken to hospital essentially irrelevant, the focus is on people in their twenties and thirties. In particular, there is an extremely high proportion of people in their twenties who were taken to the hospital. People in this age group have not yet reached a proper understanding of how to deal with alcohol, and may end up drinking recklessly—either of their own accord or as a result of pressure to do so from those around them. These are the Tokyo Fire Departments statistics for acute alcohol poisoning. The key thing is to avoid acute alcohol poisoning. What should you do, however, if this happens to someone you know? It is vital that you be able to recognize the symptoms of acute alcohol poisoning and that you know how to deal with it, should this occur.


Page15  Typical symptoms of acute alcohol poisoning

Typical symptoms are as follows. The person is unconscious and does not wake up, even if shaken or pinched. His/her entire body becomes freezing cold, and his/her breathing becomes unnatural—slow and halting, or fast and shallow. He/she vomits large amounts of blood and food. He/she becomes incontinent.


Page16  How to deal with acute alcohol poisoning

Here, then, is an explanation of how to deal with acute alcohol poisoning. The first and most important thing to do is to call an ambulance. Do not hesitate—call 119. In the time before the ambulance arrives, administer treatment as follows. Do not take your eyes off the person who has passed out drunk. Lay the person down with his/her face turned to one side, so that his/her vomit does not block his/her throat. Remove the persons belt and any other articles of clothing that might constrict his/her body. If the person is not vomiting of his/her own accord, do not force him/her to vomit. If he/she does vomit of his/her own accord, wipe away the vomit properly. From time to time check his./her vital signs—whether he/she is breathing and whether he/she has a pulse. Cover him/her with a blanket or a coat so that his/her body temperature does not drop. If possible, rehydrate him/her with water, tea, or a sports drink. These are the points to remember.




Page17  The conclusion

Finally, if you are going to drink alcohol, make sure you do so in an appropriate fashion. This means following the rules of appropriate drinking behavior and exercising restraint when drinking. Just as there are rules in everyday life, there are certain rules that you should abide by in terms of your drinking behavior, as follows. Do not cause trouble to those around you by engaging in alcohol harassment or similar behavior. Alcohol harassment involves indulging (or causing others to indulge) in problem drinking, such as underage drinking, drunk-driving, or binge-drinking. If you can put all this into practice, you will lead a productive life as a student.



As well as welcoming all the freshmen, many clubs and associations engage in a continuous on-campus effort to recruit them—from the moment that the matriculation ceremony is completed, or from when they arrive at the university.

However, on the university campuses and their surrounding areas, in front of nearby railway stations and on the street, underhanded solicitation by letter, telephone, and e-mail is underway. This solicitation uses persistent and ingenious methods, and prizes out and misuses peoples personal information, such as their address, name, telephone number, and e-mail address. These solicitations include urging students to join political sects and religious cults that engage in anti-social activities, sales schemes and advertisements for fraudulent pyramid schemes, and devious inducements to register as a private tutor or join a seminar group. If you give out your personal information too easily or indicate your wish to join a group, you run the risk that you will be the target of persistent long-term solicitations, which could seriously blight your future student life.

Decide firmly for yourself that you will take a resolute and unambiguous attitude to these solicitations and reject them.


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