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BAC's of Alcohol

Course Number: AL-241
Course Length: 1 Day (7.5 Hours)

This workshop is designed for a wide range of participants including law enforcement, probation and parole officers, DUI coordinators, alcohol treatment professionals, other drug and alcohol professionals, nurses, driver training professionals, and others. The most frequently abused drug is ethanol, but abusers may enlarge their opportunities for chemical escape by consuming other alcohols such as isopropanol or methanol. This workshop discusses the basic pharmacology and toxicology of the most common alcohols, concentrating on the effects of beverage alcohol. Beginning with the chemical composition of the alcohol family, and assessing its properties, participants will learn to appreciate the process and results of ethanol production, and how the various contents of an alcoholic beverage produce the physical and psychological effects seen in the evaluation, treatment, and interaction with persons under the influence.

Terms such as “intoxication”, “drunkenness”, “under the influence”, and “forensic testing” are discussed. Discussion covers the immediate and progressive effects of alcohol on the body and mind as blood alcohol concentration increases. Other topics include alcoholic tolerance, physical dependence, alcoholism issues and treatment alternatives, and myths relating to alcohol ingestion. This workshop discusses alcohol from the standpoint of chemically induced behavior and personality changes in criminal suspects and drug/alcohol clients, as well as various methods of interaction with them.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there are now only two court-acceptable methods to test a suspect for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. The first is a sample of blood as taken by a trained professional under specified conditions. The second method is a sample of breath as taken by a trained professional under specified conditions. The processes of absorption, distribution and elimination of alcohol explain some of the behavioral observations criminal justice and counseling personnel see on a daily basis. Topics include metabolism, excretion and evaporation of ethanol from the human body and how these processes affect chemical tests of breath and blood.

This workshop will also serve to introduce the participant to the forensic testing of breath for alcohol (EBT) and the use of preliminary breath test devices (PBT). The training of breath test operators is dictated by regulations, as is the actual testing procedure. This workshop is for the law enforcement officer who is not certified as a breath test instrument operator, the health care professional, the CRN evaluator, the treatment specialist, and others who wish to understand more about forensic alcohol testing. By better understanding the effects of alcohol abuse, the various methods of alcohol testing and the myths associated with the drug known as alcohol, participants gain an appreciation for the complex nature of alcohol’s effects and learn how to better deal with their part of the interaction with the suspect/client.

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