EDITORIALS

Be Wise and Safe

Jim Bassage

Thanksgiving Eve (the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving) is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.  It has been coined "Blackout Wednesday" by some because of the blackout that happens to certain individuals from too much alcohol consumption.

There are many reasons Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest party night of the year. Work usually lets out early on Wednesday, giving employees an even longer weekend and more time to spend at happy hour.  People are also coming home, traveling back into town for the holiday, allowing for gatherings of old childhood and college friends. Many of those reunions that take place are at a bar where large amounts of alcohol are consumed. One owner of the restaurant/bar chain, Bar Louie, says, "Our revenues typically rise anywhere from 60 to 100 percent [on Thanksgiving Eve] versus a regular Wednesday night." Anheuser-Busch, one of the largest beer distributors in the country also sees their sales to bars, restaurants, and nightclubs significantly increase the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

A recent study by The University of Alabama Center for Advance Public Safety found that alcohol/drug DUI crashes are more than 25 percent higher during Thanksgiving week than a regular week any other time of the year.

What You Can Do:

• If you are of age and choose to drink ensure that you have enlisted a designated driver. There is often an enhanced police force out on Thanksgiving Eve holding checkpoints and writing tickets to anyone caught driving while intoxicated.

• Never drink and drive, you can risk severely hurting yourself or others. Once one's blood-alcohol content reaches a .20 or higher, their risk of fatally injuring someone increases 460 times.

• If you are a parent of a college student, talk to your child about partying on "Blackout Wednesday." Drinking, especially binge drinking is big on college campuses and many students drink to extreme because that's what they think everyone else is doing. Explain to them the dangers of drinking to excess.

For more information  contact the Steuben Council on Addictions at 607-776-6441.

James M. Bassage

Prevention Director

Steuben Council on Addictions