April is Alcohol Awareness Month – a time when communities should come together to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism as well as work toward preventing the disease. Alcoholism can be life-long, passed down through genetics, and fatal if left untreated. Roughly 20 million individuals in the U.S. are aiming to overcome this disease.
Restaurants can help in awareness and prevention by adhering to company policies and State laws regarding alcohol distribution. Here are some tips for serving individuals:
- Count the number of drinks you are serving to individuals, and do not overserve.
- Make sure you are using proper pour counts, and that you are only serving one drink at a time. This will help customers pace the amount of alcohol they are consuming.
- Be aware of their behavior. When a customer starts showing signs of decreased inhibition or lack of control, it is a good time to cut them off.
- Encourage customers to take their alcohol with a food pairing, and be sure they have access to plenty of water – even if they do not ask for it.
As you know, improper distribution of alcohol can lead to serious fines and even jail time if someone causes injury after leaving your establishment and is found to have overconsumed alcohol. If you have a customer who is showing signs of overdrinking and you are uncomfortable confronting the situation, ask your manager to step in.
Overdrinking can have some serious effects on the body. It can interfere with your brain chemistry and have drastic changes on your mood, behavior, basic function, and motor skills. The heart can be damaged by even a single instance of excessive overdrinking – deforming the muscle structure, creating irregular heartbeats, and causing high blood pressure or even stroke. Too much alcohol can also cause the liver and pancreas to inflame, resulting in various issues that can even lead to certain types of cancer. Moderation of alcohol use is a key to keeping yourself healthy.
We invite you to take a stand against alcoholism by promoting alcohol awareness in your restaurant!
John E. Aoki, M.D., CHCQM, FABQAURP
Chief Medical Officer
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