Lakeview Health’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Kevin Holbert, Outlines Important Next Steps for Addressing Alcohol Poisoning in Wake of CDC Report

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The recent January 2015 edition of CDC Vitalsigns dispelled many misconceptions about alcohol poisoning deaths, specifically which populations is at highest risk. Dr. Kevin Holbert of Lakeview Health outlines how to address the issue.

Lakeview Health - Florida Alcohol and Drug Rehab

Lakeview Health - Florida Alcohol and Drug Rehab

For the sake of those who are experiencing alcohol dependence, we need to continue to educate physicians about addictive behaviors and provide them with the most up-to-date tools to diagnose their patients.

The recent January 2015 edition of CDC Vitalsigns (http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/alcohol-poisoning-deaths/index.html) dispelled many misconceptions about alcohol poisoning deaths, specifically which populations is at highest risk. With 76% of alcohol poisoning deaths attributed to adults aged 35 to 64, it becomes critical to extend preventative education on the subject beyond high schools and universities. Comparatively, those aged 15 to 24 represented the lowest percentage of those affected or 5% of deaths, while adults 45 to 54 were the highest at 34%.

Additionally, alcohol dependence was identified as a factor in 30% of alcohol poisoning deaths. This indicates that while those struggling with alcoholism are proportionally at greatest risk, this extreme “binge” drinking most often occurs with those who may not show warning signs. And that group could be saved with a physician’s diagnosis or intervention. Binge drinking is described as four or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men over a compressed period of time, leading to a concentrated blood alcohol level that exceeds 0.08 g/dL.

“There are steps we must take to measurably lower the number of deaths from alcohol poisoning,” explained Dr. Kevin Holbert, Chief of Staff at Lakeview Health in Jacksonville, FL. “For the sake of those who are experiencing alcohol dependence, we need to continue to educate physicians about addictive behaviors and provide them with the most up-to-date tools to diagnose their patients. The public also needs to recognize that alcoholism is a progressive disease and that waiting for ‘rock bottom’ can be fatal.”

In their most recent estimates, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.gov) indicates that 17.7 million Americans may be alcohol dependent. Physicians seeking continued addiction education may attend monthly CEU-accredited lectures on the Lakeview Health campus or online. Information is also available to the public at lakeviewhealth.com to help families more readily recognize warning signs and understand options for treatment.

“Those that may not suffer from chemical dependency must also recognize the dangers in overindulgence,” said Dr. Holbert. “It takes time for alcohol to enter the bloodstream. When one is drinking rapidly, inebriation is delayed. Even when one is unable to consume more alcohol, the body may have consumed so much that blood alcohol level continues to increase. This is when binge drinking becomes life threatening.”

Signs of life threatening alcohol poisoning include vomiting, unresponsiveness, depressed breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute), irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths), or hypothermia. If you suspect someone may be experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. For questions regarding diagnosis or treatment for yourself or a loved one, you may call (888) 298-5372, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

About Lakeview Health

Lakeview Health is a nationally recognized addiction treatment facility located in Jacksonville, Florida. Since its founding in 2001, Lakeview has helped countless individuals and families across the country begin their journey of recovery. Our committed staff is dedicated to helping our clients and their families find their "True North."

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Gina de Peralta Thorne, MS
Lakeview Health
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