Police Department

Side Effects of Alcohol

Millions of Americans use alcohol and enjoy the relaxation it brings them.

For most people, social drinking causes no direct harm. Prolonged heavy drinking, over a period of years, can result in serious ailments and shorten your life span by 12 to 15 years. About 1 in 12 drinkers develop the disease of alcoholism. It is a slow, progressive illness.

If not treated, alcoholism ends, with few exceptions, in permanent brain damage, physical incapacity, or early death. Knowing the uses and abuses is just as important as reading the instructions on a bottle of pills. You should know how your body handles alcohol, how much is safe to consume, and how your body gets rid of it.

When you drink, small amount of alcohol enters directly into your bloodstream through he lining of the mouth and throat. The remaining amount of alcohol is absorbed by the stomach or intestine. At this point the alcohol is then dispersed uniformly throughout the body. Its effects are similar to ether or chloroform, affecting all parts of the body controlled by the brain.

Your ability to make appropriate judgments and to exercise self-control is affected. Alcohol must be broken down in order to leave the system. More than 90 percent of the alcohol is oxidized in the liver and the remainder is discharged through the lungs and kidneys. It takes just as long for he experienced drinker to eliminate alcohol as it does for the inexperienced drinker.

What about drugs and alcohol?

Alcohol interferes with appropriate action of nearly every class of prescription and over-the-counter drugs used. Below are some of the possible consequences of mixing alcohol with various categories of drugs.

Drug type

Alcohol-related complications

Tranquilizers--Valium, Librium, Serax, etc. Decreases alertness, impairs judgment. Possibly fatal combination.
Over the Counter Painkillers--Bufferin, Aspirin, Excedrin, Anacin, Alka-Seltzer Possible irritation and bleeding in stomach and intestines.
Prescription Pain Medicine--Demoral, Darvon, Codeine Impaired central nervous system function. Possible fatal combination.
Time release Capsules--Contac, etc. Coating is more quickly dissolved so dose is not properly released.
Sleep Medicines--Sominex, Sleep-Ese, etc. Greatly increases drug's potency, depressing central nervous system.
Prescription Sleep Aids--Dalmane, Seconal, Nembutal, etc. Possibly fatal. Should never be combined.
Antihistamines--Dristan, Coricidin, Nyquil, etc. Drowsiness and loss of alertness.
Antibiotics--Tetracycline, Seromycin, Fulvicin, etc. Can cause nausea and vomiting. Renders drug less effective.
High Blood Pressure Medications--Aldomet, Apresoline, Capoten, etc. Increases potency, reducing blood pressure to dangerously low levels.
Anticoagulants--Panwarfin, Dicumarol, etc. Increases anti-coagulating potency of drug leading to potentially life threatening bleeding.
Anticonvulsants--Dilantin, Zarotin, Mysoline, Phenobarbital Interferes with drug effectiveness.
Antidiabetic--Insulin, Orinase, Tolinase, etc. Severe and unpredictable reactions. Should never be combined with alcohol.


Contact Information

UMKC Police Department
5005 Oak St.
Kansas City, MO 64110
Emergency Dial 9-1-1
Phone: 816-235-1515
Fax: 816-235-5501
Office hours: 24 hours per day
7 days per week
365 days per year.