Click on the photo above. It lends new meaning to the drinking term "Bottoms Up!"
Please watch this 81 minute film (Cactus 3) especially if you think the drinking age should be lowered to 18!
Click on the photo below to see the potential after-effects of binge drinking.


Show & Tell

Real Time Death Toll as of

Talk with Your Kid about Alcohol & Drugs
Talk with your kids about binge drinking
Police Chief Wants Drinking Age Lowered
What Parents Need to Know About College Binge Drinking
Study claims binge-drinking on your birthday can lead to dangerous habits
A Kid's Guide to the Effects of Alcohol
"How Many Drinks Did They Have?" Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Estimator Chart
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Affect on Motor Skills
'Drunkorexia' prevalent among college students, study finds
Youth Drinking Higher Where Alcohol Outlets Proliferate
Think it's fun getting drunk!
Movie 'Beerfest' Celebrates Binge Drinking
The Jager Bomb - Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
Fun without alcohol? Sober bars offer social connections without peer pressure to drink
Realted Issues: Drinking, More drunk girls Even more 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Affect on Motor Skills

  • At .020 light to moderate drinkers begin to feel some effects.
  • At .040 most people begin to feel relaxed.
  • At .060 judgment is somewhat impaired, people are less able to make rational decisions about their capabilities (eg. driving).
  • At .080 there is a definite impairment of muscle coordination and driving skills; this is legal level for intoxication in some states.
  • At .10 there is a clear deterioration of reaction time and control; this is legally drunk in most states.
  • At .120 vomiting usually occurs. Unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance to alcohol.
  • At .150 balance and movement are impaired. This blood-alcohol level means the equivalent of 1/2 pint of whiskey is circulating in the blood stream.
  • At .300 many people lose consciousness.
  • At .400 most people lose consciousness; some die.
  • At .450 breathing stops; this is a fatal dose for most people


'Drunkorexia' prevalent among college students, study finds

Nearly a third of college students say they engage in practices that have been dubbed "drunkorexia."

That's the name given to behaviors such as skipping meals or exercising heavily to offset calories from a heavy night of drinking, or to pump up alcohol's buzz.

Though drunkorexia has been around for a while, it wasn't clear how prevalent it was. But a recent study shows how common it's become among college kids who binge-drink at least once a month: eight out of 10 say they do it.

Earlier research showed that 40 percent of college students drink heavily — four or more drinks per bout for women and five or more for men — at least once a month, says the new report's lead author, Dipali Rinker, a research assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Houston.

It's those heavy drinkers that Dipali focused on.

A survey of 1,184 of them found that during the previous three months, 80 percent had engaged in at least one of the following drunkorexic behaviors:

Cutting back on food and increasing exercise to either speed or enhance the high from drinking

Engaging in bulimic-type behaviors: vomiting after eating, taking laxatives or using diuretics

Boosting exercise or eating less to offset calories from drinking: this could include drinking low-calorie beers or cocktails, skipping a meal or avoiding food all day, or exercising intensely

One of the big surprises for Dipali was that drunkorexic practices were just as common among men as they were in women.

"We really expected women would be engaging in these behaviors more than men," she told NBC News.

She isn't sure what's going on, but suspects there have been some major cultural shifts resulting in men being more worried about their appearance these days.

"In the eating disorders field, there's a growing sense, and supporting evidence, that men are now just as weight- and shape-conscious as women are, especially in this age of social media," Dipali said.

Another surprise: frat brothers and sorority sisters weren't any more likely than others to engage in drunkorexic behaviors.

Dr. Karen Miotto wasn't at all surprised by the new findings.

"I think we have a very appearance-conscious group of young people and many do struggle with restrictive eating disorders," said Miotto, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the addiction medicine service at UCLA's Semel Institute. "It used to be about the ideal female body, but now the male body is idealized, too, with men striving for 6-pack abs and bulging biceps, triceps and quadriceps."

Beyond that, Miotto said, "it's widely known that you absorb alcohol more quickly if there's no food [in your stomach] so you can reach peak intoxication faster."

College students are drawn to alcohol for a number of reasons, she added.

"It's a social lubricant," she said. "It provides the disinhibition, the freedom to make small talk and to be more sexual."

One of the big concerns with drunkorexia is that people can become vitamin-deficient, especially in thiamine, Miotto said. And that can lead to nerve and brain damage.

Concerned parents need to understand that alcohol problems in college are largely tied to the perception that heavy drinking is the norm, according to Dipali.

"The 'Animal House' style of drinking is something we see only in college," she said. "There is a perception that everyone is doing it so it's OK to do it."

One way to combat the problem is with education, Dipali said. That means telling students how much everyone else is drinking and comparing it to their own personal consumption.

"They always think that everyone else is drinking more than they are," she said. "And while 40 percent are engaging in heavy drinking, there are 60 percent who are not. In fact, there are 20 percent who are abstaining."

Talk with your kids about binge drinking

NIAAA Expert Urges Community Action to Prevent and Reduce College Binge Drinking
Public health officials have increasingly become concerned about the growing rates of binge drinking among college students, with research associating heavy drinking with a host of serious problems—everything from physical injuries and sexual assault to alcohol addiction and death. Here, Dr. Ralph Hingson, Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), discusses the risks that underage drinking poses, and urges community anti-drug coalition leaders to help curb this problem.

Q. How much of a problem is binge drinking on college campuses?

A. According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 45 percent of 18-24-year-olds who attended college said they consumed five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past month. Studies consistently indicate that about 80 percent of college students drink alcohol and about 40 percent engage in binge drinking.

Q: Why should parents, the community and other stakeholders be concerned about this?

A. This level of heavy drinking among college students is associated with a host of other problems and people other than the drinkers themselves are being affected by this behavior. Our research indicates that an estimated 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes. In traffic deaths, about half are people other than the drivers. They are passengers and people from other vehicles. In addition to death, in 2001 there were nearly 600,000 college students unintentionally injured while under influence of alcohol; approximately 700,000 students are assaulted by other students who have been drinking and some 100,000 students are victims of alcohol-related date rape. Keep in mind that these figures don’t include 18 to 24-year-olds who are not in college.

Q: Is there a particular period of time when college students are most vulnerable to engaging in heavy drinking?

A. A student’s freshmen year, especially the first six to 12 weeks of school, is a time of greatest concern. For many students, it’s their first time not being under direct parental supervision. They’re entering an environment where there is a lot more drinking going on.

Q. Are there particular risks associated with drinking at an early age?

A. We know that the earlier people start to drink, the greater the likelihood that they will develop alcohol dependence more rapidly. So if we look at people who ever in their lifetime developed alcohol dependence, 47 percent were diagnosable by the time they were 21. Those who started drinking at a young age were more likely to have chronic dependence and less likely to seek help for their problem. Each year that people delay starting to drink, they lower their chances of developing alcohol dependence; of becoming unintentionally injured under the influence; of being involved in a physical fight due to drinking and of being in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash.

Q. What can parents do to help their children make the right decisions once they get to college?

A. What parents can do begins when they’re children are in grade school and middle school. Parents can make a difference by communicating with their children, by teaching them resistance skills. Parents have a very important role to play, not just by providing one-on-one communication, but also by working collectively within their communities to address this issue.

Q. How important is the role of communities in reducing underage drinking and college drinking?

A. Colleges have a responsibility to address this problem, but they can’t do it alone because this is bigger than what happens in college. Prevention needs to begin long before they get into college.

Q. What are some steps community coalitions can take to curb underage drinking and college drinking?

A. There is a lot of evidence that comprehensive community interventions can help reduce drinking among college-aged persons, including students. One level is at the individual level, where one offers screening and counseling, particularly at trauma centers. Another level is environmental, where community coalitions can enforce the legal drinking age and a variety of other laws to reduce impaired driving. Comprehensive community interventions can intervene at all levels. Right now, there is tremendous concern among people in the community about college drinking so this is a perfect opportunity for community coalitions to bring another group of concerned citizens into their prevention efforts—that means involving the colleges and universities themselves, including faculty, college students and alumni, and parents.

Q. What are some resources that NIAAA has related to underage drinking and college drinking?

A. We have a “Back to College” Fact Sheet that can be useful for parents. Several other resources are available at

Source: Dr. Ralph Hingson is the Director of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). This article is part of CADCA's second editorial series featuring national experts from the NIAAA. -

What Parents Need to Know About College Binge Drinking

The feeling of sending a grown child off to college for the first time can be described as a strange mixture of pride, relief and severe anxiety. What do parents need to know as their adult child takes this big step? As a public health researcher, I have some good news to share, and some reminders about what to be aware of during this critical transition for both you and them.

The first piece of good news is that your voice matters. Your child might not tell you, but when researchers have asked them about your influence, they find that parent attitudes and the rules you put in place during their development are major influences on their risk-taking behavior. Preparing and protecting your child from engaging in excessive drinking during college starts way before “drop-off” day. Even in middle school, and throughout high school, sending a clear message of your disapproval for underage drinking is critical and equally important in college.

To some parents, it might be tempting to think that you can “teach” your child how to drink responsibly by allowing them to drink before going to college. Many parents also think that not allowing their children to drink turns alcohol into “forbidden fruit,” increasing the child’s interest in drinking. Instead, research has shown that having parents who communicate clear expectations against using alcohol during high school is associated with a lower chance of drinking excessively during college.

From our own study of more than 1,000 college students ages 17 to 19, we found that those who didn’t drink during high school drank an average of 1.8 drinks per occasion, compared with 5 drinks among those who did drink during high school 2.

What is Binge Drinking?

The second piece of good news is that the prevalence of binge drinking is trending downward among college students. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for females or five or more drinks for males within a few hours (where “drink” means 5 oz. of wine = 12 oz. of beer = 1.5 oz. of hard alcohol).

During the past decade, the percentage of students who report a “binge” level of drinking at least once during the past two weeks decreased from 40 percent to 32 percent 3. This amount of alcohol is associated with numerous adverse health and safety consequences. Keep in mind, though, that even at a legal drinking age, the health guidelines suggest that on the days that they do drink, females should limit their consumption to one drink and males should limit their consumption to two drinks, as alcohol use has been linked to a weakened immune system and an increased risk for injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain types of cancer, such as oral, throat, liver and breast cancers 4.

Why Do Kids Binge Drink?

Many parents ask, “Why do students continue to drink to excess when they clearly know it is risky?” There is no simple answer to that question, but here are a few things to think about. First, we know that adolescent and young adult brains are “primed” for risk-taking and exploratory behavior — some more than others. But in general, college students are likely to focus on immediate rewards and an experience that might make a “good story” later than think about the possible consequences of their behavior. Unfortunately, the consequences of this sort of behavior can change a life trajectory very quickly.

A second driving force behind excessive drinking behavior is the perception that it is normative and accepted — the idea that “everyone is doing it” — when in fact it’s a minority of students. Many schools try to send messages about the relative rarity of very heavy consumption of alcohol to correct these misperceptions by students.

Third, there are many individual-level factors that heighten one’s risk for binge drinking, like being impulsive, or having a tendency to break rules. Lastly, the availability of alcohol is key. For example, where there is widespread access and low prices, there will be a greater likelihood that students will engage in heavy drinking as compared with places where access is more limited.

A concerning trend is high-intensity drinking, an even heavier pattern of alcohol use defined as drinking twice the binge threshold (drinking eight or more drinks for females or 10 or more drinks for males within a few hours). Approximately one in 10 college students engaged in high-intensity drinking during the past two weeks, and it is more common among male students (17 percent) than female students (6 percent) 3. While high-intensity drinking is decreasing among males, it has remained stable among females.

How Do I Talk About Binge Drinking with My Son or Daughter?

When your child leaves for college, maintaining open, regular communication can help you understand what kinds of drinking opportunities exist on campus and in the surrounding community. Setting a regular time to talk, such as every Sunday afternoon, can be helpful. The communication should send a clear message that you expect them not to drink. However, not every conversation needs to be explicitly about alcohol. Check in with them about their friends, roommates and classes to get a sense of what’s going on in their lives. This is especially important during the first few weeks of college, as this is the biggest time of transition, but conversations should continue throughout their college career.

In addition to being a sounding board for them, knowing what’s going on in their life can help with identifying warning signs of an alcohol problem. Asking about how often they are going to class, whether or not their sleep schedule is disrupted, and/or whether or not they have been able to concentrate well are possible conversation starters because all of these issues can be related to drinking too much or using other drugs. If you suspect that your child might have an alcohol problem, identify the resources available on campus. Although it varies by school, some colleges have clinicians on campus who can assess your child for an alcohol problem and refer, if needed, to treatment options. Suspecting that your child has an alcohol problem can be very upsetting, but it’s best to have this conversation in person while keeping a calm and supportive tone. The main point is that as a parent, you see how much personal and professional potential they have, and you know that underage and excessive drinking and drug use during college can be very distracting and get in the way of fulfilling their potential.

Download the Intervention eBook - 12 page PDF

If you do discover that your son or daughter is drinking underage against your wishes, learn how to best confront him or her and how to productively work through the

Study claims binge-drinking on your birthday can lead to dangerous habits

Most people enjoy a couple of cocktails on their birthday. However, if you're more inclined to go all out and get wasted, a new study from Washington University in Seattle shows that binging to celebrate the milestone can set habits that last for months afterwards.

The study followed 600 soon-to-be 21-year-olds who intended on celebrating their newfound legality by drinking. The researchers followed the subjects for a year and found that those who drank a lot on their birthday drank more heavily afterwards as well.

During the study's follow-up period, people who went all out on their birthdays drank 10 percent more than the typical participant on a night out. When compared to those who never drank before their birthday, the number rose to 17 percent.

In the U.S., if you have one glass of wine a night, you are in the top 30 percent of drinkers. Having two glasses every night puts you in the top 20 percent and 10 drinks per day, according to Stephen Cook's book "Paying The Tab," puts you in the top 10 percent.

So enjoy your birthday, but try not to go overboard. It could have more consequences than that dreaded hangover the next morning.

A Kid's Guide to the Effects of Alcohol

You’ve probably heard or seen something about alcohol awareness and the effects it can have on your body. Perhaps you’ve seen adults or kids at school drinking, or have seen people drinking in movies or television shows. So what’s the real truth behind alcohol? Let’s take a look at what it is and how it affects us.

Question: What Is Alcohol?

Answer: Alcohol is a liquid made from fermented grains, like barley or hops. Fruits, like grapes, may also be included. The process of fermentation introduces yeast to help convert and break down these ingredients. We also refer to drinks as alcoholic when they are made using this process. Alcoholic drinks include beer, wine, whiskey, liqueurs and many others. We can tell when a bottled drink contains alcohol because it will have a label indicating the percentage of alcohol.

Question: What Are Some Facts About Alcohol?

Answer: Did you know that it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol? Underage drinking is a big problem and can have fatal consequences if people choose to drink and drive or drink more than their body can process. When people start drinking at a young age, they may be more likely to have alcohol-related problems as they get older, including alcohol addiction or alcoholism. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death among teens in the United States.

Question: How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Answer: Alcohol has immediate and long-term effects on our brains and bodies. It is a type of drug and impacts the nervous system. Soon after drinking, alcohol begins to impair the brain and most people tend to feel sleepy, foggy and disoriented. They cannot think properly and they have difficulty walking, talking and seeing.

Over a long period of time, alcohol can damage the liver, the nervous system, the reproductive system and the brain. It increases the risk of high blood pressure, depression and diabetes. Because alcohol contains a lot of carbohydrates, it also causes people to gain weight.

Question: Why Do People Drink?

Answer: Many kids and teens start drinking because they are curious about alcohol or because their friends pressure them to try it. Sometimes, they drink only because other people are drinking and they want to fit in. Many think that it makes them look older or cooler; this isn’t true. Others might turn to alcohol or drugs because they experience depression or cannot cope with their emotions in an alternative way. Many people feel that alcohol is “an escape.” In reality, it can make problems even bigger.

Adults who drink socially do so to help them relax or because they enjoy the taste of the drink. Finally, many people simply drink because they need to; they may have an addiction and cannot bring themselves to stop.

Question: Why Shouldn’t I Drink?

Answer: A good reason to avoid drinking is because it is illegal and there may be very serious legal consequences if you are under 21! Besides this, alcohol is bad for your health and your developing brain.

Drinking even a little can lead to an addiction, especially if there is a genetic history of alcoholism in the family. Quite often when people, especially kids, drink, they end up doing things that are extremely embarrassing or dangerous; they lose control of themselves and make poor decisions. Drinking a lot can cause people to vomit. In some cases, they might even need to be rushed to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped if they have alcohol poisoning. The morning after drinking can result in a hangover: a strong headache, nausea and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. It’s a very unpleasant experience!

Question: What Should I Do if Someone Asks Me to Drink?

Answer: Saying no to peer pressure or a dare is difficult. Many kids use an excuse, so that they can turn down alcohol without looking uncool. Other kids may be straightforward and tell others that they do not want to drink. If they ask why, you could say that you don’t like it, that you don’t want to or that you avoid it for health reasons.

Remember that your true friends will respect your decision. For example, would you force someone to eat live bugs if you both know that it is bad for you? People who continue to pressure you are showing that they don’t care about your health or about the dangerous consequences.

Question: What Should I Do if I Know Another Kid Who Drinks?

Answer: If you cannot safely get out of a negative situation involving alcohol, call an adult to help. You can also call the police department. Voice your opinion and talk to your friend about drinking to show them that it is not a wise decision. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent or a guidance counselor and voice any concerns.

Question: Where Can I Learn More About Alcohol?

Answer: One way to learn about alcohol is to discuss it with your parents or a teacher. There are also plenty of online resources created for kids to teach them about alcohol, addiction and related health effects. Have a look at these resources to get started.

Police Chief Wants Drinking Age Lowered

The police chief in a town where underage college kids routinely break the law by drinking alcohol believes the drinking age should be lowered because it is unenforceable and detracts from policing more serious alcohol crimes like DUI.

Boulder, Colo., Police Chief Mark Beckner's viewpoint is one of several in a Lesley Stahl 60 Minutes report that examines the drinking law debate.

If the drinking age were lowered from 21 to 18, says Beckner, "The overall advantage is we're not trying to enforce a law that’s unenforceable."

"The abuse of alcohol and the over-consumption of alcohol and DUI driving...are the areas we’ve got to focus our efforts. Not on chasing kids around trying to give them a ticket for having a cup of beer in their hand," Beckner tells Stahl.

John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, agrees and points to what he considers an even worse effect of the older drinking age. "This law has been an abysmal failure. It hasn’t reduced or eliminated drinking. It has simply driven it underground, behind closed doors, into the most risky and least manageable of settings," says McCardell, who launched a national campaign to lower the drinking age.

A tragedy in Boulder underscores McCardell's point. At a fraternity near the campus of The University of Colorado at Boulder, 18-year-old Gordie Bailey died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity initiation. His mother and stepfather feel the reason no one at the fraternity called authorities when their son passed out was fear of being caught breaking a law. "They had minors buying the alcohol, serving the alcohol to minors," says stepfather Michael Lanahan. "They had to make a decision about what they were going to do and unfortunately they made the wrong decision."

The drinking age was raised in the mid 1980s to help lower highway fatalities, but the Surgeon General estimates that 3,000 kids under 21 are dying of alcohol related deaths that do not involve driving.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has another view. "The inconvenient truth is that a drinking age at 18 would cause more funerals. Nine hundred families a year would have to bury a teenager," predicts Chuck Hurley, executive director of MADD. "When the United States reduced its drinking age in the seventies it was a public health disaster. Death rates in the states that reduced their drinking age jumped 10 to 40 percent," he tells Stahl. Hurley also says the 18-year-olds - some still in high school - would be buying for their younger schoolmates creating a trickle-down effect of more drinking at earlier ages.

McCardell realizes lowering the age is a long shot, but still thinks that doing so, with mandatory education, is the best solution. Why not make high schools teach alcohol courses like driver's education and let them dispense drinking licenses because kids will drink either way, says McCardell. "We have lived through prohibition. We know prohibition doesn't work. We know that on our college campuses. We know that in our households. We know that in our military," McCardell tells Stahl.

Youth Drinking Higher Where Alcohol Outlets Proliferate

Adolescents who live within walking distance of a liquor store or other alcohol outlet are more likely to engage in binge drinking or drive drunk, according to researchers from the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, Calif.

The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 29 that drinking rates were higher among 12- to 17-year-olds who lived within a half-mile of an alcohol outlet, and that minority neighborhoods tended to have a higher density of alcohol outlets than predominantly white communities.

How do alcohol outlets affect communities?

"Our study suggests that living in close proximity to alcohol outlets is a risk factor for youth," according to the researchers. "In California, retail licenses are not typically approved within 100 feet of a residence or within 600 feet of schools, public playgrounds and nonprofit youth facilities, but proximity by itself is not sufficient to deny a license ... More attention on the proximity rule is needed and environmental interventions need to curb opportunities for youth to get alcohol from commercial sources."

The research was published online ahead of publication in the American Journal of Public Health.
Source: Let's bring it local

Movie 'Beerfest' Celebrates Binge Drinking

The new comedy 'Beerfest' revolves around contestants in a drinking contest, who habitually overimbibe with predictable results.

Fun without alcohol? Sober bars offer social connections without peer pressure to drink

Not far from the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Joshua Grigaitis fills a cooler with bottles and cans in one of the city’s oldest bars.

It’s Saturday night. The lights are low. Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice fills the air, along with the aroma of incense. The place has all the makings of a swank boozy hangout.

Except for the booze.

Pop’s Blue Moon bar, a fixture of this beer-loving city since 1908, has joined an emerging national trend: alcohol-free spaces offering social connections without peer pressure to drink, hangovers or DUIs. From boozeless bars to substance-free zones at concerts marked by yellow balloons, sober spots are popping up across the nation in reaction to America’s alcohol-soaked culture, promising a healthy alternative for people in recovery and those who simply want to drink less.

“We evolved as social creatures. This is a good trend if you want the experience of companionship and social culture but don’t want the negatives,” said William Stoops, a University of Kentucky professor who studies drug and alcohol addiction. “It can help people make better choices.”

A federal survey shows nearly 67 million Americans binge drink at least monthly, meaning women down four drinks during a single occasion, men five. Midwestern states have some of the highest binge-drinking rates in terms of both prevalence and intensity, putting millions of people at risk.

Research links excessive alcohol use to fatty liver, cirrhosis and cancers of the breast, liver, colon, mouth and throat as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, anxiety and depression. Nearly half of murders involve alcohol, according to studies. Drinking kills about 88,000 people annually, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Such diseases and social ills cost the nation an estimated $249 billion a year.

Even one drink a day is unhealthy, said Dr. Sarah Hartz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. “If you’re going to drink, know it’s not good for you.”

For Grigaitis, 41, who also goes by Joshua Loyal and is co-owner of Pop’s Blue Moon bar, tying all his fortunes to alcohol was "weighing on my soul” after 20 years in the business. He cut way back on his own drinking and began holding boozeless Saturday nights in January, offering hop water, nonalcoholic beers and cannabis-derived CBD drinks.

“I love everything about the bar business — except the alcohol,” he said. “The nonalcoholic beverage movement is a growing group. I’m making a decision to choose this and I’m proud of it.”

Chris Marshall, who founded Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, in 2015, got sober in 2007 and was working as a counselor when a client shared how difficult it was to navigate the social world without alcohol. The client’s relapse and subsequent death was his call to action.

Sans Bar held a national tour this year with pop-up events in St. Louis, Portland, Ore., and Anchorage, Alaska, and opened a permanent location in Austin. It draws a largely female crowd all along the sobriety spectrum, from those in recovery to the “sober curious.” People gather for hours to sip handmade mocktails, talk, dance and listen to speakers and sober musicians.

“If you closed your eyes on a Friday night, you’d think you were in a regular bar,” he said. “This is not about being sober forever. This is about being sober for the night.”

Alcohol as 'the wallpaper of people's lives'

Alcohol has become so ubiquitous that it’s perfectly acceptable to wear T-shirts announcing “Mama needs some wine” or “Daddy needs a beer.”

“It’s normalized,” said Boston University School of Public Health professor David Jernigan. “It’s like the wallpaper of people’s lives.”

Elsewhere, in Rock Hill, S.C., the high-end, second-hand store Clothes Mentor served margaritas at its annual clearance sale. Nearby, Liberty Tax served the tequila drink when customers went in to finish their taxes last April. A dentist’s office in the city that treats adults and children hosts after-hours drop-in events that include wine. None of those businesses responded to requests for comment.

“Culturally, we know it’s not OK to hand out opioids when you’re getting your hair or nails done, yet alcohol kills more people than opioids and businesses will hand it out,” said Alexandra Greenawalt, director of prevention at the nonprofit addiction treatment center Keystone Substance Abuse Services in Rock Hill.

Washington, D.C., has 2,055 outlets that sell alcohol — one for every 315 people, which Jernigan said is high. Some low-income, primarily African-American neighborhoods have few retail outlets other than liquor stores and convenience stores selling beer and wine.

Lothorio Ross, 38, started drinking at about 17 while on fishing trips with his father. Now homeless in D.C. and coping with alcoholism, he said, he can get alcohol on credit from some liquor stores. But he said he's trying to quit with the help of the nonprofit Father McKenna Center and reminding himself what life used to be like.

"Up until I started drinking in my teens, I was having fun," said Ross. "So, you can have fun without drinking, it is possible."

Outside major cities, entertainment often revolves around alcohol. Social worker Stephanie Logan-Rice said she grew up in Aberdeen, S.D., where her mother drank herself to death, succumbing to liver cirrhosis three years ago at 56.

Logan-Rice was in sixth grade when she realized her mother was drinking wine or vodka out of Tupperware glasses or plastic water bottles.

“I just thought it was normal,” she said.

When Logan-Rice, 39, got to high school, she drank from beer bongs in cars during lunch with friends and went to cornfields for keg parties. The drinking continued when she moved to Minnesota for college. In her 20s, she drank every day.

She finally quit five years ago. She now has two children her mother didn’t live long enough to meet.

Since giving up booze, Logan-Rice said, she has seen alcohol in unexpected places — even an assisted living facility that offered bottles of wine as door prizes when she attended an early-afternoon presentation about hospice care.

“I get it if I go into a restaurant,” she said. “But not an assisted living place.”

Declining a drink: Recovering alcoholics, the 'sober curious' and the health-conscious

America’s pervasive alcohol culture has pushed people to find creative ways to socialize soberly.

In South Carolina, the Keystone treatment center hosts events for local college students at Winthrop University featuring non-alcoholic beverages.

In Washington, D.C., members of a growing sober LGBTQ community organize dry reading groups and rafting trips and alcohol-free nights out instead of hitting gay bars. Tom Hill, a vice president at the National Council for Behavioral Health, who is gay and in recovery, said those activities create a “sense of socialization and camaraderie to replace what they had.”

Dangers of alcohol:

Nationally, sober raves such as Daybreaker morning dance parties have caught on, fueled only by dancing.

Still, Devra Gordon, a behavioral health therapist with Inova Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Services in Fairfax County, Va., said she advises people who are grappling with substance abuse to attend concerts and raves with just with their sober friends - and they should attend recovery meetings before and after. The meetings help avoid falling into a "'euphoric recall" where they romanticize past substance use, she said.

"Having fun and drinking alcohol is an illusion," said Cortez McDaniel, who is recovering from alcohol and drug abuse disorders and heads services at Father McKenna Center. "We have to stop believing the lie, and then we have to start practicing something different."

At Pop’s Blue Moon, Jaclynn Rowell, who reads tarot cards for customers, said the health benefits of no-booze nights are a big draw. And many are happy to avoid awkward questions about religion, pregnancy and sobriety that can arise at regular bars when someone asks why they’re not drinking.

Stephanie Keil, 39, spent two hours with friends there on a recent Saturday night and said she’d love to see more boozeless bars.

Though she drinks now and then, places like these help her responsibly navigate nightlife in the city where Budweiser was born.

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If you or someone close to you is struggling with issues mentioned in this story and you would like to connect with others online, join USA TODAY’s "I Survived It" Facebook support group. For help with a drinking problem, check Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's helpline at 800-662-HELP.

The Jager Bomb - Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

What's cool on high school campuses in the Pacific Northwest? Think a black licorice liqueur drink. Got it? Well, it's called the Jager Bomb. A couple of ounces of Jagermeister (usually from a chilled gallon bottle) and a cold Red Bull energy drink. The 70 proof alcohol has that Nyquil taste. It gets you drunk but down and the Red Bull keeps you up.

Winter Break saw a new mix. Bars were selling small buckets of ice, a pint of liquor and a large energy drink like a 24 ounce Monster. The students mix it all together, drink it down, and dance all night.

Booze is the answer. I can't remember the question.

 Think about it!