The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Speakers warn of binge drinking’s dangers

By Lindsey Huddleston/reporter

About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences related to binge drinking each year, a nurse from the Arlington Medical Center told SE students earlier this month.

Thomas Dombrowsky from the Medical Center joined Thomas Peoples, a former Texas Department of Public Safety officer; and Arlington police officer Stacie Brown in presenting information on the dangers and consequences of binge drinking.

Dombrowsky explained the long-term effects on the human body when consuming too much alcohol.

“Binge drinking can cause gastritis, ulcers, cirrhosis and other deadly illnesses,” he said.

Dombrowsky said alcohol leads to domestic violence, has even increased the rate of suicides and can also affect schoolwork.

He said the main reason anyone drinks heavily is because of peer pressure.

“After being pressured to drink, the first thing a person will forget is their judgment,” he said.

With more alcohol, people do not react to pain and have no sense of what or who they are. Dombrowsky said this can lead to a blackout shortly after.

A blackout is “synonymous with a pilot maneuvering a jet during a blackout but having no memory of taking off, landing or even the flight,” he said.

Peoples, now a volunteer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, explained other effects of drinking.

Peoples defined binge drinking as a male consuming five drinks in one episode or a female consuming four drinks.

“Every 40 minutes, someone loses their life to an alcohol-related accident,” he said.

Peoples also brought up another issue: driving while intoxicated. DWIs occur most often during the hours of midnight-3 a.m. He said impaired driving is the most frequently committed crime in the United States.

Not only can alcohol be addictive, but it can lead to other addictions such as tobacco or illegal drugs, Peoples said.

“If you make the decision to drive after you have been drinking, you are making an impaired decision,” he said.

Brown, an Arlington officer since 2005, lost her sister to an alcohol-related accident. She said dealing with this tragedy can be difficult.

Brown said it is bad to lose someone from an alcohol-related accident, but it is even worse to lose someone close to you.

Brown also talked about the serious consequences of DWIs. Not only can someone get in trouble for driving drunk, but they can be charged with intoxicated assault and intoxicated manslaughter.

“Anyone with a blood alcohol content level above 0.8 is considered impaired,” she said.

Minors can be charged with a DWI if they operate a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Brown pointed out that DWIs can be expensive.

People judged guilty of driving while drunk can stay in jail for up to 180 days, pay a fine of $2,000, get their license suspended and even pay a yearly surcharge of $1,000 to the state for three years.

“At the end of the day, I feel my job is complete if I have saved two lives: an intoxicated driver and an innocent victim,” she said.

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