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Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center Expert Briefs President Bush on Addiction Research

HOUSTON, TX (December30, 2008)


Nearly 13,000 Americans died last year as a result of drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . During the holidays, people are more likely to drive in an impaired state.

In light of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (December) and the upcoming holiday (New Years Eve), Dr. Katie McQueen, a staff physician at Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center, just returned from Washington D.C. where she briefed President Bush about a successful program she led to advocate more careful screening of patients for substance abuse by hospitals and doctors . She offers the following advice to help prevent drunk and drugged driving this holiday season and beyond, and offers tips for confronting those with a substance abuse problem.

How to prevent drunk and drugged driving:

During the holiday season, and year-round, take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Following these tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe:

Plan ahead. Always designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins.

Take the keys. Do not let a friend drive if they are impaired.

Be a helpful host. If you're hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.

How to tell if you or someone you love has a drinking problem:

Answering the following four questions can help you find out if you or a loved one has a drinking problem:

Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

One "yes" answer suggests a possible alcohol problem. More than one "yes" answer means it is highly likely that a problem exists. If you think that you or someone you know might have an alcohol problem, it is important to see a doctor or other health care provider right away. They can help you determine if a drinking problem exists and plan the best course of action.

About Memorial Hermann

An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. Memorial Hermann serves the greater Houston community through 11 hospitals and many specialty programs and services, including three premier Heart & Vascular Institutes, TIRR|Memorial Hermann, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, a Sports Medicine Institute, the Mischer Neuroscience Institute, seven comprehensive Cancer Centers, 27 sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, a substance abuse treatment center and dozens of other specialty and outpatient centers. Memorial Hermann operates one of two level 1 trauma centers in Houston and provides the Life Flight air ambulance program as well as the city's only burn treatment center. To learn more, visit, or call 713.222.CARE.