Stories tagged alcohol problems

Sep
22
2007

A Rattlesnake: You know, I probably wouldn't put it in my mouth, but I hate to pass judgment on this sort of thing.  (photo by 4x4jeepchick on flickr.com)
A Rattlesnake: You know, I probably wouldn't put it in my mouth, but I hate to pass judgment on this sort of thing. (photo by 4x4jeepchick on flickr.com)
A Portland man recently placed a sober rattlesnake into his drunken mouth, and was bitten on the tongue. This brings the universal tally of people bitten on the tongue by rattlesnakes up to four (the other three being, of course, the man who discovered rattlesnakes; herpetologist and pioneer in ethnomedicine, Jeannette San Pierre; and Sammy Hagar).

In an effort tom impress his ex-girlfriend, reptile enthusiast Matt Wilkinson placed the head of a 20-inch rattlesnake in his mouth at a friend’s barbeque. He had found the snake beside the highway three weeks earlier, and believed at the time that it would not harm him because it was “a nice snake.” His ex apparently wouldn’t take his word for it, and so he attempted to prove her wrong.

Soon after this Wilkinson was near death, with his tongue so swollen that it completely blocked his throat. After his ex-girlfriend drove him to the hospital (that’s the kind of ex-girlfriend I want) doctors cut a hole in his neck so he could breath, and then administered an antivenin.

Where’s the science here, you ask (this is a science blog, after all)?
Well, the snake – snakes are science. And cutting a hole in Matt’s neck – that’s probably science too. And there are a few science-related lessons to be gained here:
1) Don’t put anything you find beside the highway into your mouth, especially if it’s a rattlesnake.
2) Rattlesnakes don’t like to feel like they are being eaten, and will defend themselves if the situation arises.
3) It takes six beers and “a mixture of stupid stuff” to get a 23-year-old male to reach snake-eating levels of drunkenness.
4) Ex-girlfriends can still be an asset in assuring that you pass on your genes.

The story did not say what happened to the snake.

Sep
22
2007

Label the labels: Finland will soon be requiring health warnings on all alcohol containers to try to prevent problems and accidents that come from over indulging. Do you think this will be an effective way to curb those problems? (Flickr photo by photos for fun)
Label the labels: Finland will soon be requiring health warnings on all alcohol containers to try to prevent problems and accidents that come from over indulging. Do you think this will be an effective way to curb those problems? (Flickr photo by photos for fun)
Here in the U.S., we have warning labels on all kinds of products that are hazardous to our health.

Now comes word that Finland has taken action to require warning labels on alcohol containers starting in 2009. The official message will read (translated into English): WARNING: Alcohol endangers the development of a fetus and your health.

The Nordic country took the action after statistics show that alcohol-related problems have become the No. 1 cause of death in Finland. Health officials report that over 25% of all accidents requiring medical treatment involve alcohol consumption. That number soars to 50% on weekends.

It’s a new tactic to deal with problem drinking in the country. It used to have a monopoly on hard liquor sales through its state-owned liquor stores, where prices were kept very high. But Finnish drinkers got around that by taking “booze cruises” to neighboring Russia and Estonia where alcohol prices were much cheaper.

To counter that, three years ago Finland cut its alcohol taxes by 40%, but has now seen the increase in alcohol-related incidents.

Do you think warning labels are going to help turn the tide on this? Are there more effective strategies to deal with problem drinking? Share your ideas here with other Science Buzz readers.