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Personal Safety

When alcohol is consumed on its own or combined with other substances, safety can become an issue because judgment and decision making are impaired. This can lead to accidents and injuries.

Impaired Driving

Alcohol and driving any vehicle do not mix. It is not safe to drink and drive any type of vehicle. This could include cars, trucks, and vans, as well as ATVs, boats, airplanes, and beyond. Alcohol and driving any vehicle do not mix.

  • Safe driving of any vehicle requires concentration and good motor skills. Drinking alcohol changes the way a person thinks, affects judgment, slows reaction, and interferes with coordination.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is against the law.
  • In Connecticut, if you are 21 +, you are considered to be legally intoxicated if you have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or higher. If you are under age 21 you are legally intoxicated at a .02 BAC or higher.
  • Be aware of combining substances. If you’ve only had little alcohol/one drink, but have also consumed another substance like marijuana/cannabis or a different drug, you are still considered under the influence and should not be operating a vehicle. It’s still impaired driving.

Learn more about impaired driving laws and the importance of driving safety.

Alcohol-related Violence

Alcohol use and violence often go hand in hand. Drinking alcohol, especially in large quantities, has been linked to violent acts in studies across the globe. According to an article from the National Library of Medicine, “individuals prone to aggressive behaviors are more likely to commit impulsive violent crimes, especially under the influence of alcohol.”

Alcohol use has also been linked to incidents of domestic violence, with upwards of two-thirds of domestic violence perpetrators having consumed alcohol at the time of the incident.

The longer someone has been a drinker, the more likely aggression could result from their alcohol use considering that long-term alcohol use changes the brain in areas that impact self-control and decision-making.

Research shows that alcohol use is more closely tied with violent behavior than any other drug or substance. This could be because:

  • Less ability to make good decisions. Because alcohol weakens areas of the brain that control impulses and urges, people who drink alcohol behave in ways they wouldn’t when sober, like with aggression or violence.
  • Thinking situations are not what they actually are. When under the influence of alcohol, a person’s focus gets smaller, which can lead to thinking situations they find themselves in are different than what they are. If another person says something without meaning to upset the person who has been drinking, the person with alcohol in their system could think it was offensive, and act aggressive or violent in response.
  • Damaged brain function. When alcohol enters the body, it interrupts the brain’s ability to process information, which makes problem-solving, anger control, and the ability to make good decisions harder.
  • Thinking about consequences. Finally, those who consume alcohol, especially in large quantities, may ignore the future consequences of their actions, which could make aggressive or violent acts more likely.

If you are in immediate danger, call or text 911. If you know someone who is prone to violence when under the influence of alcohol, or if you are in an unsafe situation, there is help available. Please visit our Resources page for more information.

Sexual Assault

While alcohol does not cause sexual assault, it can be a contributing factor. Research has found that alcohol is involved in about half of sexual assaults on college campuses with the perpetrator, the victim, or both, consuming alcohol.

  • 11% of women in the U.S. have been sexually assaulted in incidents that involved alcohol or drugs.
  • 50% of all sexual assaults involved alcohol use by one or both parties.
  • According to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, the majority of alcohol-aided sexual assaults of women were carried out by someone they knew: 43% by an intimate partner and an additional 50% by an acquaintance.

This may be because alcohol affects your decision making, and raises the chances of aggressive behavior, especially in those who are drinking heavily over long periods of time. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Sexual assaults involving alcohol more often occur among individuals who know each other casually as acquaintances, rather than among individuals in romantic relationships.”

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, there is help available. Please visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, to chat online confidentially, or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) now.

How Alcohol Impacts Families

It’s estimated two thirds of domestic violence between current or former spouses/partners involved drinking by the violent person.

Approximately 10.5% (7.5 million) of children in the U.S. ages 17 and younger live with a parent who has alcohol use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Living with a parent with AUD has negative impacts on a child, including:

  • Poor school attendance
  • Difficulty learning and paying attention
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased risk of misusing alcohol

Help for Families Dealing with AUD

It’s never too late to stop drinking. Loved ones can often have a positive impact on a family member who is drinking heavily by encouraging them to get treatment.

Living with someone with AUD can be extremely stressful; there are resources to help family members, such as Al-Anon and Alateen. Read more here.

If you know someone who is prone to violence when under the influence of alcohol, or if you are in an unsafe situation, there is help available. Please visit our Resources page for more information, or call/text the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence (888) 774-2900.