Responsible party host watches over guests

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The holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, good food, celebrations and a lot of fun and laughter. Think of cozy homes with tables piled high with various meats, sweet and savory dishes, cakes, pies and cookies. Imagine friends or family gathered around laughing at the last joke just told or reminiscing over fond memories past. Good food, good fun, good times.

As we know, sometimes alcohol is present during these gatherings and celebrations. As the time for parties and gatherings approach, it is important to start planning now. Are you going to host the big bash of the year at your place? If so, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your party as a responsible host:

  • Offer a variety of nonalcoholic beverages to partygoers.
  • Don’t combine alcohol with potentially dangerous activities such as snowmobiling, ice skating, skiing or swimming.
  • Don’t make drinking the focus of your party; instead, choose a fun theme and organize activities to keep things interesting and engaging without alcohol.
  • Strongly discourage drinking games.
  • Plan ahead to get keys. Prepare a location where all your guests can leave their keys that only you have access to so you ensure no one drives under the influence.
  • Don’t let someone drive when intoxicated or don’t let someone ride with an impaired driver. Call a cab, give them a ride (if you’re sober) or let them spend the night. Perhaps even arrange to have a few designated driver volunteers present at the party.

Here are some sobering facts.

– Every day, almost 30 people in the U.S. die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes.

– The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $59 billion.

– In 2013, drunken driving deaths accounted for 31 percent of vehicle fatalities. Of those deaths, 200 were children ages 14 and younger, and more than half were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.

– During last year’s holiday months of November through January, Luke AFB had four reported Driving Under the Influence incidents and 24 more alcohol-related incidents.

When you plan ahead, you promote a safer, more relaxed party experience for all. Isn’t that what this time is all about? With a little forethought, you can relax, have a good time and celebrate those who mean the most to you. Show people you care by not allowing them to drive drunk and be part of the tragic statistics.

Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. Be responsible, have a plan and help others do the same. Throw the holiday bash of the year, and if you choose to serve alcohol, make sure you take care of your partygoers.

As we begin to celebrate the holidays, make a promise to yourself, friends and family to take care of each other and not drive under the influence of alcohol.

For more information, call the ADAPT clinic at 623-896-7579.