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What is effect of .23 blood-alcohol level?

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Thursday, April 27, 2000

A .23 blood-alcohol level, which was the result of a test administered to state Rep. Rob Leighton, is a significant amount of alcohol in the system, according to Jack Wittkopp, chemical dependency services coordinator for Austin Medical Center.

"For the average male of 165 pounds, consuming five drinks in two and half hours will give them a .1 blood-alcohol level," Wittkopp said. That’s the standard for legally drunk in the state of Minnesota. He noted that it takes about one and a half hours to metabolize one drink.

A .23 blood-alcohol level would indicate something in the neighborhood of 10 drinks in a two-and-a-half-hour time period. A .2 level also changes a driving under intoxication charge to a gross misdemeanor. Wittkopp noted the anesthetic level – unconscious and unfeeling – occurs at .35, and the lethal level can occur from .35 to .5 blood alcohol.

At this blood-alcohol level, Wittkopp said a drinker can expect feel the following effects:

n Deterioration of the physical condition, drowsiness and sluggishness.

n Susceptibility to out-of-character mood swings.

n A decline in motor skills and control, from walking and talking to driving.