News from Sturgis that a woman was seen at a hospital there with a BAC of 708. Checks with local and state labs where blood-alcohol levels are tested suggest Engle’s reading may be the highest ever recorded in South Dakota.

LD 50 is the level at which 50% of people will die. LD50 for EtOH (alcohol) is 400.

My personal record is transporting a patient with a BAC of 568. He walked to the stretcher. Some of the homeless in my area habitually have a BAC near 300, and will begin to have withdrawals of they drop below 150 or so.

In 2008, 60 percent of all fatal car crashes were caused by intoxicated drivers– 26,000 of them. 85,000 people die each year due to alcohol, whether that be DUI crashes, or health problems caused by extreme intoxication.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I will be at work, and it is one of the busiest days of the year for EMS workers. Please get a designated driver. It is a rare New Year’s eve when I don’t work a fatal crash. I don’t want to have to tell anyone that there was nothing else I could do to save their loved one.

I would also point out that either guns (excluding suicide) or marijuana kill far fewer people than alcohol.

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