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Think before you drink

Alcohol info
Alcoholic – If you are an alcoholic it means you are addicted to alcohol. Alcoholic people feel like they need alcohol despite its negative effects on the drinker’s health, relationships and work.
Alcohol abuse – unlike alcoholism, alcohol abuse may only happen on occasion, but it means that someone drinks too much and puts themselves or others in danger. Alcohol abuse can be a warning sign that someone is heading towards alcoholism.
Moderate / social drinker – Moderate drinking may be defined as drinking that does not generally cause problems, either for the drinker or for society. Social drinkers do not worry about drinking too much or too often and do not receive complaints from friends about their behaviour.
Short-term impact: Depending on the amount of alcohol in your blood, called your blood alcohol content (BAC), the short-term impact of alcohol can range from euphoria after a few drinks to serious harm or death if you drink too many. Your BAC after a certain number of drinks varies greatly depending upon your age, height, weight and tolerance. There are many sites, such as, that allow to calculate you or your friends’ approximate BAC.
Long-term impact: For moderate drinkers who consume a few drinks a week, scientific studies have shown that their risk of heart disease actually decreases. However, people who drink too much face many dangers to their health. Besides alcoholism, over-drinking can lead to disease of the blood, organ failure and severe damage to your nervous system.
1 Standard Drink Equals 1
12 oz. can/bottle of beer
4 oz. glass of wine
mixed drink with 1 shot
1 ? oz. liquor ( standard shot)
12 oz. bottle of wine cooler

It is generally recommended that, to be safe, you should consume no more than 1 alcoholic drink per hour.

Eat before you drink.

Rotate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic drinks like water or tea.

Don’t drink alcohol, advised Buddha. Along with killing, stealing, sexual misconduct and lying, drinking is one of the five acts strongly discouraged in order to facilitate proper practice of Buddhism. But you wouldn’t know it in Cambodia, where 95 percent of people are Buddhist, or at least claim to be, and beer gardens, bars, clubs and shops selling alcohol are scattered about the country.

It is almost a right of passage for a most young men to pass into adulthood by joining the group of men at parties and family gatherings to cheerfully guzzle ABC or Angkor.

Although alcohol has long been the reserve of middle-aged men, a growing number of youth have begun to embrace alcohol in their social lives.

Some Cambodians who are just getting acclimated to adulthood resist the temptation of alcohol. Some drink on rare occasions when peer pressure gets the best of them. Others are downright disappointed if they show up at a social gathering without booze.

“The absence of beer means the absence of joy at a friend’s party,” said 23-year-old Phoung Chhunleang, who hosts his friends for an evening of drinking once or twice a month. “Drinking beer is a way to release my stress and it also helps me network with new people. People use beer to make connections in business and potential investments,” explained the private sector employee, who qualified his previous statements by advising his peers not to drink so much that they cause problems.

Hun Davy, a 23-year-old graduate of the Royal University of Phnom Penh’s sociology department, disagreed with Phoung Chhunleang. “Drinking beer for building lines of communication is only the excuse those who like to drink beer,” she said, adding that people can just as easily talk over less dangerous liquids.

“We can invite people for a soft drink, tea or coffee instead of alcohol,” she said, mentioning that the question “would you like to have a cup of coffee or tea?” is a polite way of asking someone if they want to chat or go on a date.

But Hun davy did not condemn drinking alcohol altogether, explaining that alcohol can ease your mind and even contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but only if consumed in moderation. “We should control our drinking rather than allow ourselves to be controlled by drinking,” she said.

Ouch Ang Pheakkdey, a 24 year-old academic officer at the Learning for Success Center, a foreign language school in Phnom Penh, said that drinking can have negative ramifications along with the potential benefits, depending on the person. In his case, along with many other youth who are entering adulthood, drinking is occasionally an expectation rather than an option.

“For me, I can’t drink much, but when I meet with my boss at a party, I have to drink to show that I fit in,” he said.

While adult influence is occasionally to blame, most youths start drinking to follow their friends and show that they are strong and grown up, said Ing Vanni, a social worker for Social Services of Cambodia. “Cambodians usually see drinking as part of socialising,” he said.

Drinking has two sides, according to Ing Vanni: if we drink a little, it isn’t a big problem, but if people drink too much, they risk wasting time, money, endangering their life through traffic accidents or, in some cases, misbehaving and getting in trouble with the law.

“When people drink beer, they dull their senses, making it easy for them to withdraw from their stresses,” said Ing Vanni, who agreed that the idea that alcohol enhances social skills is an excuse to justify drinking in social settings.

According to psychiatrist Mony Sothara, head of the mental health section of Phnom Penh’s Preah Kosamak hospital, young people build their identity based on the things they see around them, and drinking is no exception. Because drinking is widely seen as an acceptable use of people’s free time in Cambodia, it is easy for people to feel all right about their behaviour. “Drinking beer does more damage than it does good,” he said. “It helps to reduce stress while you are drinking, but it can’t solve the root problems that cause that stress.”



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