Though often not thought of as a drug, alcohol is one of the most abused drugs in our country. The rate at which alcohol is consumed in our country is alarming. An average American of legal drinking age may consume over 25 gallons of beer, 2 gallons of wine, and 1.5 gallons of distilled spirits each year. In fact, over 15 million Americans are dependent on alcohol. 500,000 of these are between the age of 9 and 12. It is these legal aged people who show their kids that drinking is something that can be fun or social. Each year, a typical young person in the United States sees more than 1,000 commercials for beer and wine coolers and several thousand drinking incidents on prime-time television shows. These shows often portray alcohol as a way to have fun with your friends. When the children watching these shows see this, they believe they can have fun the same way. The cause of alcohol's popularity is the way in which it is portrayed in the media and on television. .
Alcohol has a major negative affect on the human body that most people who consume it don't realize. Alcohol is a depressant that can also act as an anesthetic in the nervous system. Although a depressant, alcohol has a unique affect that initially creates a pleasant feeling in the consumer. Alcohol affects the thinking, judgment and reasoning abilities with only the first few drinks. Continued drinking means that breathing and motor reflexes will also be impaired. Some of the alcohol consumed is absorbed quickly from the stomach into the bloodstream. Alcohol stimulates the stomach to secrete more stomach acid. Prolonged heavy drinking is related to ulcers and even cancer of the stomach, mouth, tongue and esophagus. Some alcohol is exhaled through the breathing process, which is why alcohol can be smelled on the breath of a person who has been drinking. Extremely high alcohol levels result in unconsciousness, coma and even death through the suppression of the cerebellum.