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Domino Strategy: When drinking responsibly matters
Carlsbad Current-Argus - 10/10/2018
Oct. 10--Drinking responsibly is as easy as counting to two.
The Centers for Disease Control developed the Domino Strategy, safe drinking guidelines that help educate the public on how much alcohol a person can consume safely.
Now Eddy County DWI Program Coordinator Cynthia Sharif and J.J. Foster, the adult and youth DWI prevention and education coordinator, are spreading the message across Eddy County.
"It's as easy as zero, one, two," Sharif said.
Zero means people who are under 21 stay away from alcohol, along with those driving or operating machinery.
Women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn't use alcohol along with those who are recovering alcoholics or drug dependent.
One and two are just as simple: "No more than one standard drink per day for women," she said, and no more than two drinks per day for men.
"Size matters," Sharif said when it comes to how much alcohol is being consumed.
She a double shot of one-and-a-half ounces of liquor is equal to two drinks.
"Even if you got it into one glass, that is still two drinks. So, size matters when it comes to the size of your drink," Sharif said.
Sharif said people shouldn't lose count of how many alcoholic drinks are consumed.
"Alcohol is a tricky drug," she said. "If you think you're OK, you're not OK. Impairment starts with the first drink."
She said most DWI offenders arrested in Eddy County have a blood alcohol rate of 0.16 or above. The legal limit is 0.08.
"Those are individuals that are not following the Domino Strategy," Sharif said.
For several years, New Mexico has been at the top or near the top for DWI deaths in the United States.
An look at DWI stops and arrests in Eddy County DWI Program reveals the effectiveness of the program and law enforcement.
"We look at how far someone has driven before an arrest and for the past 20 years anywhere in Eddy County, it's been less than one mile on average when law enforcement picks them up," Sharif said.
Sharif said law enforcement is a strong defense in fighting DWI.
"They are well trained, and the conviction rate is very high," she said.
"We have active participation from law enforcement agencies on our DWI Advisory Council. We consider them our partners and I think they consider us their partners."
Foster said all restaurants in Eddy County that serve alcohol follow the Domino Strategy.
"Because they don't want to see one of their customers leaving and causing their death, or much less some innocent driver's death," she said.
Mixing alcohol with drugs or other substances can also have strong repercussions.
Jacqueline Kakos, a health educator with the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, said people should never mix alcohol with prescribed drugs.
"Alcohol attaches itself to receptors in the brain that control breathing," Kakos said.
"It slows breathing down considerably and so do pain killers. When you take both of these in combination you're playing Russian roulette. People could just easily fall asleep and not wake up."
Kakos said heavy drinking and binge drinking is another concern.
"You can easily go into a coma and then die from alcohol poisoning."
Alcohol poisoning can also cause damage to the liver and brain.
"It's very hard on the heart as well," Kakos said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546, or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArugsMichae on Twitter.
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