Drivk-driver shock reading

A WOMAN who drove with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.325 in Coolangatta was so drunk she could have slipped into a coma and died, a medical expert has said.

The Surfers Paradise woman is said to have been involved in a minor car crash on McLean Street before police stopped her car outside the Coolangatta Police station on Musgrave Street about 10pm (DST) on Friday. No-one was injured.

This is the second such high-range reading for the border region this month, with a woman caught by Tweed Police in a Banora Point shopping centre with a blood alcohol level of 0.275.

The legal limit is 0.05 and anything above 0.15 is considered high range.

According to one drug and alcohol service website, the likely effects of a person whose level has reached higher than 0.3 include coma and death.

Other websites estimate that an average-sized woman in her 30s would have to consume 13 heavy beers or 10 standard spirits over a three-hour session to reach this level of intoxication.

Coolangatta police would not speculate on how much the woman would have had to drink to reach such a high level, but earlier this month Tweed Heads police told the Tweed Daily News that once someone's blood alcohol level goes above 0.3, they could in fact die.

Tweed Valley Division of General Practice spokesman Dr Graeme Burger agreed that could be the case.

He was appalled to hear of the Queensland woman's reading and labelled her a "bloody idiot".

"She is a major danger on the roads. It is crazy," Dr Burger said.

"We are recommending 20 standard drinks per week and at least two days without alcohol. I'd say she would have had more than that in one day." Dr Burger said it was incredibly lucky that the woman did not kill herself or someone else.

"The brain is just not functioning at that level. Cars are killing machines and you need to be alert and unimpaired on the roads," he said.

"The whole culture of binge drinking is a major problem -- we are suffering an epidemic and it is being socially endorsed.

"Binge drinking is destructive to health, destructive to relationships and you lose the ability to make rational decisions.

"It has become far too acceptable in our society. You go to Schoolies, you binge drink. You win a grand final, you binge drink. You get married, you binge drink.

"We as a community should be looking at how to alleviate the problem and put the same sort of resources into as we have with anti-smoking campaigns."

He listed numerous health problems associated with long-term alcohol abuse, including increased risk of mouth, stomach and liver cancers, ulcers, cirrhosis and memory loss.



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