Alcohol

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Drinking alcohol may SEEM to be the normal thing to do, after all there are bars and lounges on almost every street downtown, people in movies drink, and your parents may even drink.

BUT THIS FAMILIARITY DOESN'T MEAN ALCOHOL IS SAFE

It is actually a powerful drug that has many harmful side effects, including death. In fact, thousands of people die each year because of alcohol, but we generally accept it as a part of society when used LEGALLY and RESPONSIBLY.

Is Alcohol really a drug?

Alcohol is considered a drug because its main ingredient acts on the brain as a depressant, slowing down brain function, which is exactly what drugs do to your body. It can seem like a stimulant but that is only because people are loosing control of their inhibitions. As people lose their inhibitions they become more talkative and seem to have more energy.

Alcoholism

Someone who drinks alcohol in excess for long periods of time or takes it to avoid problems can become an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a disease. Someone who suffers from it is called an alcoholic. This is when a person can't get through the day without a drink and the alcohol therefore controls their lives. Some say alcoholism is partially hereditary, so a person has no control over becoming an alcoholic. Others say that it's certain environmental factors that can lead a person to alcoholism. The best way to avoid this is to not drink.

The Law

The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19 years of age. No person can legally consume, purchase, or posses alcohol under the age of 19 or you will be charged under the Liquor Licence Act. No person can legally consume alcohol to the point of intoxication.

In Ontario, drivers with a blood alcohol level of .05 to .08 mg/ml will lose their licence for 12 hours, if your over .08 you will face criminal consequences. If you are a G1/G2 driver you will face greater consequences as the law for G1/G2 drivers is to have a 0 mg/ml alcohol level. A driver charged with drinking and driving, who is operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of over .08 or refusing a breath sample, will be suspended immediately from driving for 90 days and your vehicle may be impounded.

Minimum penalties for a first offence include a criminal record and a one year driving prohibitation. That's on the Federal level. The Provincial consequences involve a one year suspension of your licence, an assessment for alcohol use and Back on Track programs at a cost to you at $475.00, an ignition interlock device for one year at a cost to you at $1,300.00, and a licence reinstatement fee at a cost for you at $150.00. Additional costs involve a cost ranging from $2,000.00 to $10,000.00 for your own legal council to represent you in court and significantly increased insurance premiums that could exceed $5,000.00 annually for at least three years.

Overall, the minimum costs for a first-time offender is about $20,000.00.