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Alcohol (drug)

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**Alcohol Overview:**
– Alcohol is found in fermented drinks like beer, wine, and hard liquor.
– Alcoholic beverages contain primary, secondary, and tertiary alcohols.
Ethanol is used to treat methanol and ethylene glycol toxicity.
– Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen and neurotoxin.
Ethanol competes with other alcohols for the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme.

**Alcohol and Crime:**
– Alcohol is used by criminals in offenses like sexual assaults and robberies.
– Alcohol-fueled crimes include thefts, robberies, and violent acts.
– Underage drinking and drunk driving are prevalent alcohol-specific offenses.
– Alcohol is involved in a significant proportion of arrests worldwide.
– Alcohol-related crimes constitute a high monetary cost in the United States.

**Alcohol and Health:**
– Alcohol has short-term and long-term adverse effects on health.
– Alcohol use leads to morbidity and mortality.
– Alcohol dependence reduces lifespan by about 12 years.
– Alcohol consumption increases the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.
– No safe level of alcohol consumption according to the World Health Organization.

**Alcohol and Society:**
– Alcohol-related crimes are associated with both violent and non-violent offenses.
– Many alcohol laws have been passed to criminalize various alcohol-related activities.
– Programs aimed at reducing alcohol consumption, including education, are seen as effective solutions.
– Policing alcohol-related street disorder and enforcing compliance checks have been successful in reducing criminal activities.
– Risky drinking patterns are particularly problematic in specific regions like Russia and Mexico.

**Alcohol and Specific Health Conditions:**
– Alcohol can cause allergic-like reactions in specific populations.
– Alcoholism refers to alcohol addiction, dependence, dipsomania, and abuse.
– Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can lead to dangerous symptoms like confusion and seizures.
– Chronic alcoholism can result in conditions like alcoholic polyneuropathy and alcohol-related dementia.
– Long-term alcohol consumption can lead to cardiovascular diseases like alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

Alcohol (drug) (Wikipedia)

Alcohol, sometimes referred to by the chemical name ethanol, is a depressant drug found in fermented drinks such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits (hard liquor). Technically, alcoholic beverages contain several types of psychoactive alcohols. The most prevalent alcohol is the primary alcohol ethanol (commonly referered to as "alcohol"). Ethanol has toxic and unpleasant actions in the body, many of which are mediated by its byproduct acetaldehyde. Less prevalent alcohols found in alcoholic beverages, but that are less toxic than primary alcohols, are secondary, and tertiary alcohols. Tertiary alcohols are least toxic, since they cannot be oxidized into aldehyde or carboxylic acid metabolites. For example, 2M2B is up to 50 times more potent than ethanol. Some tertiary alcohols, like 2M2B have been synthesized and used recreationally. Alcoholic beverages are sometimes laced with toxic alcohols, such as methanol and isopropyl alcohol. A mild, brief exposure to isopropyl alcohol (which is only moderately more toxic than ethanol) is unlikely to cause any serious harm, but many methanol poisoning incidents have occurred through history, since methanol is lethal even in small quantities, as little as 10–15 milliliters (2–3 teaspoons). Ethanol is used to treat methanol and ethylene glycol toxicity.

Skeletal formula of ethanol
Ball-and-stick model of ethanol Space-filling model of ethanol
Clinical data
Other namesAbsolute alcohol; Alcohol (USPTooltip United States Pharmacopeia); Cologne spirit; Drinking alcohol; Ethanol (JANTooltip Japanese Accepted Name); Ethylic alcohol; EtOH; Ethyl alcohol; Ethyl hydrate; Ethyl hydroxide; Ethylol; Grain alcohol; Hydroxyethane; Methylcarbinol
  • X (Contraindicated in pregnancy)
Physical: Very High Psychological: Moderate
Moderate (10–15%)
Routes of
Common: Oral
Uncommon: suppository, inhalation, ocular, insufflation, injection
Drug classAnalgesic; Depressants; Sedatives; Anxiolytics; Euphoriants; GABAA receptor positive modulators Neurotoxins;
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein bindingWeakly or not at all
MetabolismLiver (90%):
Alcohol dehydrogenase
MetabolitesAcetaldehyde; Acetic acid; Acetyl-CoA; Carbon dioxide; Water; Ethyl glucuronide; Ethyl sulfate
Onset of actionPeak concentrations:
• Range: 30–90 minutes
• Mean: 45–60 minutes
Fasting: 30 minutes
Elimination half-lifeConstant-rate elimination at typical concentrations:
• Range: 10–34 mg/dL/hour
• Mean (men): 15 mg/dL/hour
• Mean (women): 18 mg/dL/hr
At very high concentrations (t1/2): 4.0–4.5 hours
Duration of action6–16 hours (amount of time that levels are detectable)
Excretion• Major: metabolism (into carbon dioxide and water)
• Minor: urine, breath, sweat (5–10%)
  • ethanol
CAS Number
PubChem CID
PDB ligand
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass46.069 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
Density0.7893 g/cm3 (at 20 °C)
Melting point−114.14 ± 0.03 °C (−173.45 ± 0.05 °F)
Boiling point78.24 ± 0.09 °C (172.83 ± 0.16 °F)
Solubility in waterMiscible mg/mL (20 °C)
  • CCO
  • InChI=1S/C2H6O/c1-2-3/h3H,2H2,1H3

Ethanol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, neurotoxin, birth defect agent, The World Health Organization published a statement in The Lancet Public Health in April 2023 that "there is no safe amount that does not affect health". and the most harmful drug overall, and the only drug more harmful to others than to users according to a DrugScience 2010 study.

Alcohol serves various purposes, for example, it is one of the oldest and most commonly consumed recreational drugs, it is used for self-medication, and it is frequently involved in alcohol-related crimes such as drunk driving, public intoxication, underage drinking. Some esoteric religions and schools incorporate the use of alcohol for spiritual purposes. However, alcohol has a variety of short-term and long-term adverse effects on health. Short-term effects from moderate consumption include happiness and euphoria, decreased anxiety, decreased social inhibition, sedation, impairment of cognitive, memory, motor, and sensory function, while binge drinking may result in generalized impairment of neurocognitive function, dizziness, analgesia, nausea, vomiting, hangover-like symptoms, blackout, and generalized depression of central nervous system (CNS) function. In high amounts, alcohol may cause alcohol intoxication characterized by loss of consciousness or, in severe cases, death; In 2016, 3.0 million deaths was responsible for excessive alcohol use worldwide. Long-term effects are considered to be a major global public health issue and includes alcoholism, abuse, withdrawal, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), liver disease, hepatitis, cardiovascular disease such as cardiomyopathy, polyneuropathy, dementia, hallucinosis, brain damage, and cancers such as breast cancer. The adverse effects of alcohol on health are most important when it is used in excessive quantities or with heavy frequency. However, some of them, such as increased risk of certain cancers, may occur even with light or moderate alcohol consumption.

Alcohol works in the brain primarily by increasing the effects of γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain; by facilitating GABA's actions, alcohol suppresses the activity of the CNS. The substance also directly affects a number of other neurotransmitter systems including those of glutamate, glycine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. The pleasurable effects of alcohol ingestion are the result of increased levels of dopamine and endogenous opioids in the reward pathways of the brain.

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