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BNS 7: Alcohol & Drugs

Updated: Jun 2, 2019


Alcohol

  1. Getting pissed

  2. Breathalysers

  3. How much to drink?

  4. Rural hospitals & costs of ambulance

  5. Do you have a problem?

  6. What's the Damage?

  7. Help

© Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

1. Getting pissed

Getting pissed is synonymous with B&S’s. Your ticket covers your booze in the ball, while you need to bring your own BYO to drink in the car park for the pre-party—but no glass. Again, as I said previously, it only takes one dickhead to ruin it for everyone else—meaning someone somewhere glassed someone or smashed the bottles and left the pieces on the ground. And as I said previously, the ball areas are used for pony clubs, footy games or livestock the rest of the time, or just everyday people who don't want to be glassed up.


If that doesn't move you, consider how people running amok end up rolling around on the ground at some point, which might just be you. So leave the glass at home, or if you do sneak it in, don’t smash it. Just take the empties with you. No ones wants to end up in ED getting stitched up instead of being at the ball, or see their animals' feet slice up.


© Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

2. Breathalysers

There are often breathalysers you can use in the morning for a gold coin donation. Just don’t line up to use it if you know you are still pissed. Using them when you are still drunk means the machines take forever to reset, and holding up what is already a long and slow line of people just wanting to drive home without losing their license.



3. How much to drink

Photos © Sister Sanguinista all rights reserved

It’s the same as any night out—how much you drink is up to you. Most people will get tipsy or drunk at the ball, but they will be functional in the morning and able to drive home. Those who aren't, have to suffer the nausea and head spins until they are safe to drive home. And hope they don't blow over the limit on the cop's breathalyser waiting outside the ball to catch drunk drivers. Or slip through and kill themselves or others on the road. So don't drive if you think you are still impaired.


So how much you drink is up to you, but you (and your friends) have to deal with any hangover and vomiting if you go too far, or any blackouts, physical injuries or getting stuck in hospital. And what is the point in getting black out drunk and remembering nothing of the event you drove hours to attend and after spending $100 or more on a ticket? Also if you are needing to get completely wasted to enjoy a ball, maybe it’s not for you.



4. Rural hospitals & costs of ambulance

You also have to know that if the ball is in a real country area, the time it takes to get from the first aid workers, then for an ambulance to arrive then bus you to a hospital because of alcohol poisoning (or something dumb you do while drunk) is longer than from a a town pub or city nightclub. And country emergency departments have limited resources for severe injuries—eg aspirating your own vomit when you are black out drunk, and not being able to breath (you'll need a ventilator). You'll need to be trucked out by road ambulance or airlifted to a bigger town or city for treatment. So make sure you have ambulance cover if you often over do the drinking—or just get it anyway in case you smash your car on the way there or back—because without ambulance membership a short trip can be at least $500 or $1K, while being airlifted costs are up near $20k or $30K.


5. Do you have a problem?

Most people grow out of binge drinking. At 18, you might be out drinking every weekend. But by your mid 20s, your body doesn't cope with the hangovers so well, and the novelty wears off as other things in life take precedence. And the older you get, the harder it is to bounce back from hangovers. And so getting pissed becomes more and more occasional until it's a rarity by the time you're in your 30s. If that hasn't happened, then you have a problem and are doing a lot of damage to yourself, which you may not be aware of.


Or you might be self medicating for an underlying depression or anxiety, which will make it worse in the long run from constant fatigue and wiping out you serotonin. There are more effective ways to treat depression and anxiety, which are also less expensive than booze. And there's no shame in getting help. Tell your GP. If he/she is too judgmental, find a different GP. They shouldn't be putting their moral judgments on you. Or call one of the phone numbers below.


Really you shouldn't need to think about alcohol aside from an occasional drink. And you shouldn't need to drink more than one or two every so many weeks.

Most people learn how to drink to have fun and still be in control of themselves, and not tip into the brain spinning, vomit black outs and hell. People who can't find that point tend to have a problem. For those with addictive personalties, binge drinking can lead to a problem. And people who get so drunk they piss or shit themselves, also have a problem. It's not Geordie shore, it's not a badge of honour to find yourself in a piss soaked swag. Ask any backpacker hostel worker, and they won't have kind words when they find a wet mattress. No one wants to spend their night looking after your drunk arse. If this is you, you need to lay off. The permanent damage that level of alcohol is doing is not worth the short term buzz. And there is no shame in asking for help.

No one wants to spend their night looking after your drunk arse.

So ask yourself these questions, to consider if you have a problem?

  • If you drink alcohol everyday, can you stop, and enjoy life without it? It might be a habit you can go without. If you can't, you have a problem. But you need to try to do it, not just think you can, before you know.

  • If you think having a drink every time you had a hard day at work is normal or hard time with your partner etc, you should stop that and find other ways to manage stress. If you can't, you have a problem.

  • Can you go and get pissed at a BNS, without pissing yourself in your swag? If not you have a problem.

  • Can you get pissed at a BNS, and then not need to get pissed for weeks later? Or do you binge all the time? If so, you have a problem.



6. Help

There is no shame in admitting you have a problem and asking for help. You wouldn't want to see someone else struggling, so why should you struggle? Talk to your GP, or an online service.

What's a bit of embarrassment in owning it and asking for help, if it means preventing the below damage?

Links for help


7. What's the Damage?

Huge alcohol amounts do huge damage. Drinking seemingly "small" amounts constantly—even as little as 3 or 4 a day— over years does damage, as does binge drinking over years. Alcohol is toxic to the body's cells, especially the brain and liver and gut—long enough exposure will wreck your liver, brain, stomach, oesophagus. The inflammation and damage it causes to cellular DNA makes it a Class 1 carcinogen (cancer causer), which likes to grow cancers in the bowel, liver and oesophagus in particularly.

So drinking in moderation is important if you don't want organ damage or cancer.


Liver

Your liver makes clotting factors and "detoxes" your blood by filtering it, similar to the kidney which filters out other waste products. A detox from the shop is a gimmick and doesn't detox anything, only the organs can detox. If you damage your liver enough, you get cirrhosis and will living be on a scale from feeling like crap (because your liver can't filter out your blood so well) and bruising easily (because you liver can't make the stuff that makes your blood clot), to becoming encephalopathic (confused from too much "toxins" in the blood) and bleeding uncontrollably. So if you fell and hit your head, you could give yourself a stroke (bleed) and be permanently brain damaged or die. And if you are encephalopathic, you will need to be fed certain laxatives to get rid of ammonia (a certain "toxin" that the liver cannot process). Meaning you will be flailing in your own shit and finger painting in it because you are confused and incontinent, and wondering what is sticking to your arse, until the toxins are back to a normal level. But it is a cycle that will be on repeat as your liver is now in failure there are no guarantees you will get a transplant, that depends on availability and whether you will qualify for one as an alcoholic.

Brain

We know what the brain does. We need it to function, to breathe, to think, to enjoy drink, sex, fun and life. Over time, too much alcohol will put it on a scale of a bit cognitively impaired (a bit slow) to alcoholic dementia. Not fun.


Oesophagus & gut

They become irritated by constant and too much alcohol constantly washing over them, causing gastritis—they becomes inflamed and friable (easy to rip). While the blood in the blood vessels, between them and the liver, become blocked by the liver cirrhosis, the blood gets backed up in the vessels along the oesophagus and stomach, pushing the pressure up so they bulge and develop weak points. Together with the gastritis and lack of clotting, sometimes they burst and bleed. If it's small, you can be treated in hospital, if it is large, you risk dangerously low blood pressure that cannot perfuse your organs, and you can die if help doesn't come soon enough.

 

Drugs

  1. Fun vs. Risk

  2. Cutting drugs

  3. Addiction

  4. Game of chance

  5. Help


1. Fun vs. Risk

Some people take them, despite the cost of the ticket including the alcohol in the ball. Chances are you'd survive most hits, and the damage to the body will be slow to show up, which is why people take drugs. But it's like playing Russian roulette with your ute's fuel tank: you've refilled your tank or have watched other people refill with pure diesel and got the engine purring, but one day it's contaminated, maybe the fuel was mislabelled or you overfilled the tank and you fucked your engine.


2. Cutting drugs

It comes down to how pure or poisonous the drugs are, after being cut with fillers—as each level from the cartel to the drug addict-dealer on the street wants to increase the number of tablets or hits they can sell. Nothing is regulated so someone could cut the drug with anything from talcum powder, to rat poison, to Draino. And there is nothing to ensure purity or accuracy of dose, and there is no accountability for killing off the customer base. And no care factor.


Addiction

It also comes down to how some drugs are extremely addictive on their own (cocaine, meth amphetamines, opioids like oxycontin and heroin), and how some people need only one hit of a certain drug for their brains to become addicted. Not every drug is the same, not everyone becomes an instant addict, some people need so many doses over time. It's flipping the coin on whether your brain is easily addicted or not. Is it worth is? The life of the addict is fraught with difficulty and manipulation to keep the drugs coming, causing a lot of damage to themselves and their families in the long run. It's not worth it.

3. Game of chance

  • You either get a dose of a drug with a benign filler and be ok.

  • You get an injectable drug with a dirty filler, and over time, every dirty injection pushes bacteria into your blood stream that likes to cling to your heart valves, infects your heart (endocarditis) and makes you septic (blood poisoning). The only hope is hardcore antibiotics and heart surgery, but if you are too damaged to survive surgery, the surgery won't be an option and you have to hope the antibiotics work. And we see these cases all the time in ICU.

  • You get the drug cut with rat poison and die.

  • You get the drug and have really bad adverse reaction that sticks you in hospital for a bit, or permanently damages your body, or kills you.

  • Or you get the pure drug that is is actually something like 10x the dose your body can process safely.

—if it is an downer (sedative) eg. GHB (particularly bad to OD on), Ketamine, opioids like heroin. At best you become unconscious, but can breath just enough to provide your brain with enough oxygen, so that it is not damaged too much. Brains don't like being starved of oxygen and they can't heal any damage done.

Or the overdose suppresses your drive to breathe so much your oxygen levels drop dangerously low, and it takes only minutes to cause permanent damage to your brain, but someone does CPR, breathes for you in time and you can get to hospital, and get out and be able to function with the assistance of a carer or in a nursing home.

Or no one reaches you, or you stop breathing all together, either way the oxygen levels drop too low for too long and profoundly damage your brain, leaving you in a vegetative state or brain dead. Meaning even if they get your heart beating again, the game's over. You will come visit us in ICU on a ventilator, you head will be scanned and when treatment is deemed futile, life support will be withdrawn. Silver lining is if you are an organ donor, you help others.


—if you OD on an upper (stimulant: Ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines like ice, meth, speed) you overstimulate the heart so it beats harder and faster than normal for too long and end up with a heart attack. The severity of which will be on a scale of breathlessness which never gets better just when walking, or just from sitting, to just being dead.

Or you end up cooking your cells because your temperature rises high enough to damage them and stop them functioning (hyperthermia), and if you are not cooled in time you are permanently damaged and probably dead. You might go into convulsions.


4. HELP

Again there is no shame in asking for help if you have a problem. Embarrassment and the ordeal of admitting you need it, is nothing compared to the problems of addiction and the damage of impure and overdosing on drugs.


Ask your GP, or check out the following links


Sites with contact numbers and links to services,

  • Positive Choices

  • Healthdirect

  • Lifeline

  • National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline: 1800 250 015. It will automatically direct you to the Alcohol and Drug Information Service in your state or territory.


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