By Julia Cochran
Director of the Red Rock RPC in Canadian County
With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays just around the corner, it is important to remember that alcohol can be a part of the celebration for many Americans and over consumption of alcohol combined with driving can be disastrous.
During this time of the year, people tend to drink more alcohol; there are increases of drivers on the road, drivers late at night and in bad weather.
In 2018, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported there were 873 alcohol related car crashes in Oklahoma and unfortunately, 158 fatalities due to these crashes.
There are many prevention tips designed to keep you and your loved ones safe and here are some ways you can take part:
• Abstain. You do not have to have alcohol to be the life of the party.
• Pace yourself. Avoid binge-drinking. Spread out the consumption of your drinks, consider one drink an hour.
• Avoid drinks with unknown alcohol content or mixing alcohol with energy drinks. Caffeine in energy drinks or sodas can mask the effects of alcohol, causing people to drink more alcohol that than intended/are aware.
• Substitute alcoholic drinks for non-alcoholic drinks. Consider drinking water between each alcoholic beverage to slow your pace and dilute the alcohol in your bloodstream.
• Don’t forget to eat food. Starch-heavy foods soak up the alcohol and will mitigate the effects of alcohol on your system
• Secure a designated driver. Keep in mind that a designated driver stays 100 percent sober – not the person who drank the least.
The Red Rock RPC (Regional Prevention Coordinator) takes a proactive approach in reducing substance abuse among communities, specifically underage drinking and the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
Red Rock RPC identifies factors in a community that cause the risk of substance abuse and work to promote protective factors that serve to minimize the risk of substance use/abuse.
The Red Rock RPC wishes everyone safe and happy holidays this year!
Julia Cochran is director of the Red Rock RPC in Canadian County. Red Rock RPC is funded through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. For more information, call 422-8872.