Event Date: December 2020
National Impaired Driving Prevention Month 2020
The time of year between Thanksgiving and New Year is supposed to be a time of celebration. However, the holidays are often a stressful time for many individuals, with concerns about obligations, financial concerns, and gift giving. Add in COVID-19 and the choices about how and where to celebrate safely and the anxiety increases.
Research has shown that cases of depression, suicide, domestic violence, and drunk driving accidents all increase during the holidays. Alcohol often plays a part and can affect people differently. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) reported that liquor sales between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 increased over 8% from the previous year. Some of the increase is certainly due to the pandemic and the increased use of alcohol to cope with worries. National Impaired Driving Prevention Month occurs annually in the month of December, as it is the height of the holiday season.
Stress is a fact of life. However, there are a number of ways to manage and relieve stress that do not involve substances. Physical activity of any kind is helpful – take a walk, dance in your living room, jump for joy! Eating well and sleeping also play an important part in self-care. Even if you cannot be physically present with others, remember to keep in contact through phone or video chats. Having a support system is essential for everyone. https://www.dubuqueaa.org/ offers a list of virtual and phone meeting options for those who are in recovery.
If you are planning to drink, here are five things you can do to help keep yourself and others safe:
1-Never drive after drinking, arrange for a designated driver instead.
2-Familiarize yourself with the definition of a ‘standard’ drink. In the United States, a ‘standard’ drink is one and one-half ounces of hard liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine or a 12 ounce can of beer - they contain the same amount of alcohol.
3-Learn how alcohol changes the brain and why staying within low-risk guidelines is so important. Following these limits helps the liver keep up with metabolizing the alcohol consumed and allows the person to stay in control of his/her thoughts and actions. For men, this amounts to no more than four drinks on any day, or 14 drinks in one week. For women, the amounts are lower – no more than three drinks on any day, or seven drinks in a week.
4-Understand how brain changes are caused by binge drinking or heavy social drinking, in addition to alcoholism (addiction). Most people who drive while impaired are NOT alcoholics. Rather, they are alcohol abusers. However, the Centers for Disease Control reports that an average ‘drunk’ driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.
5-Know the effects of any medications you are taking before you get behind the wheel and whether alcohol use is allowed with the medications.
Do your part in keeping yourself and those you care about safe and have a healthy holiday season. If you have any questions or are in need of resources, contact Substance Abuse Services for Clayton County at 563-245-1546. We are here to help.