The Gurbani says:
- ਨਿਝਰ ਧਾਰ ਚੁਐ ਅਤਿ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਇਹ ਰਸ ਮਨੂਆ ਰਾਤੋ ਰੇ ॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਸਗਲੇ ਮਦ ਛੂਛੇ ਇਹੈ ਮਹਾ ਰਸੁ ਸਾਚੋ ਰੇ ॥: The pure stream (of the Naam) constantly trickles forth, and my mind is intoxicated by this sublime elixir. Says Kabeer, all other intoxicants are hollow (empty…); this is the only true elixir || 4||1|| (sggs 969).
When we hear about the dangers of drugs, most of us probably think of illicit drugs, because stories of violence and deaths related to the sale and use of illegal drugs often appear in the news. Less attention is given to the drugs that are actually responsible for the most injuries and deaths in many countries of the world – alcohol and tobacco. We will limit this blog to alcohol only. Tobacco will be dealt in a separate blog.
Here are some scientific facts about alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is the common psychoactive drug found in all alcoholic beverages. For example, one drink – a 12-ounce bear, a 1.5 ounce cocktail, or 5-ounce glass of wine – contains about 0.5-0.6 ounce of psychoactive drug “ethyl alcohol”. When a person ingests alcohol, approximately 20% gets immediately absorbed from the stomach into the bloodstream, approximately 75% is absorbed through the upper part of the small intestine, and any remaining alcohol enters the bloodstream further along the gastrointestinal. Like any other psychoactive drug, ethyl alcohol is addictive. More one drinks, more his body wants it.
Alcohol abuse and addiction (dependency) has many short term and long term effects on the user. It is a central nervous system depressant that slows down overall activity of the central nervous system. Death from alcohol poisoning can be caused either by central nervous system and respiratory depression or by inhaling fluid or vomit into the lungs. Other effects include, kidney failure, breast cancer, brain damage, liver disease, osteoporosis, damage to the digestive system (increased risk of cancers of the lip, mouth, larynx, esophagus, liver, rectum, stomach, and pancreas), impairment o the senses (less acute vision, smell, taste, and hearing, etc.), loss of life expectancy by about 15 years, damage to fetus, mental disorders, and so on. Alcohol use causes more serious social and psychological problems than all other forms of drug abuse combined. Alcohol reacts with other drugs, potentially leading to coma and death.
The combination of impaired judgment, weakened sensory perception, reduced inhibitions, impaired motor coordination, increased anger and hostility (aggressiveness), etc., that characterizes alcohol intoxication can be dengrous or even deadly (e.g., violence, automobile crashes, homicide, suicide, and so on).